That’s a line from “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” a love song Stephen Stills wrote that was inspired by Judy Collins. It was recorded on the Crosby, Stills & Nash album in 1969. That was one of the first cassette tapes I every owned and I played it excessively.
As for the word “always” in the song lyrics, it can be defined as more than 50 years, based on the affection still evident between Stills and Collins. While their physical relationship may have lasted about a year, their close friendship has endured.
According to Judy, the secret to their special bond’s longevity: marrying different people.
I saw recently Stills and Collins perform together at Appalachian State University (ASU) in Boone, N.C. and for me it seemed to bring their musical and personal relationship full circle.
As young fans my friends and I knew the story behind the song and what
Collins refers to as a short love affair between the two. In fact when Stills later released the song “Love the One You’re With” on his first solo record, I asked my friend and band mate, Joel, how he would explain that tune in light of Stephen’s professed dedication to Judy.
“A moment of weakness,” Joel responded.
Change my life, make it right, be my lady.
At the ASU performance Judy mentioned that Stephen performed “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” for her soon after he wrote it. She said she was impressed by it, but not impressed enough to get back with him.
A mutual adoration, however, is still evident between the two, easily seen from my seat in the third row of The Schaefer Center of the Performing Arts. She praised him for his songwriting talents and guitar playing. They traded longing looks that appeared to denote more than a mutual respect for their melodious talents.
One thing’s for sure, their contrasting voices, his rough and hers still sweet as a “ruby-throated sparrow,” fit together seamlessly.
Remember what we’ve said and done and felt about each other
Oh, babe, have mercy
Don’t let the past remind us of what we are not now
I am not dreaming
When Stephen first met the woman he referred to as a “goddess,” they both had found success in the music business. He was a member of the folk/rock/county band Buffalo Springfield and she was a well-known recording artist.
He tells the story about how he got a friend to convince her to let him play on her next record. He joined her band for the recording session and she became his muse.
You are mine, I am yours, you are what you are. You make it hard.
Actually, they both make music and love look so easy.