It might seem like yesterday, but Déjà Vu was released 40 years ago this week. It topped the US Billboard pop album chart for one week and generated three Top 40 singles: “Teach Your Children,” “Our House,” and “Woodstock. This was the first album by CSN (David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash) that included Neil Young. Stills estimates that the album took six months and 800 hours of studio time to record with multi-layered tracks and lots of overdubs in the mix. Wally Heider’s Studios in San Francisco and Los Angeles were both employed.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 148 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The same year, the TV network VH1 named Déjà Vu the 61st greatest album of all time. The album also ranked at #14 for the Top 100 Albums of 1970 by Rate Your Music. The popularity of the album contributed to the success of the four high-profile albums released by each of the members shortly after Déjà Vu: David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name, Stephen Stills’ self-titled solo debut, Graham Nash’s Songs for Beginners and Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush.
It can be difficult to find a really good sounding vinyl pressing of this album because of the way it was densely recorded, but a later US Specialty reissue w/ “sfatl” or “AT/GP” in the dead wax can sound superb (with the best lacquer numbers). The MFSL and Classic Records reissues are somewhat problematic in comparison. On CD, the original Japanese, Euro US and HDCD mastering sounds best to me. I hope you enjoy this album as much as I do.
(Photographer: Tom Gundelfinger)