Stephen Stills and Judy Collins reunite 50 years later
The man who wrote “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” is reunited with its subject, at least on stage.
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, who dated 50 years ago, are touring in support of their new album, “Everybody Knows,” and they’ll perform Sunday at Powers Auditorium.
When they met in 1967, Stills was near the end with Buffalo Springfield — his band with Neil Young, Jim Messina, Richie Furay, Dewey Martin and Bruce Palmer — and before he joined David Crosby and Graham Nash to form CSN.
Collins was a successful folk singer who had just recorded what would become her signature song, “Both Sides Now.”
The relationship already was over when Stills penned his “Suite” tribute.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Collins talked about Stills playing her the song for the first time in her hotel room.
“Afterwards, we both cried — and then I said: ‘Oh, Stephen, it’s such a beautiful song. But it’s not winning me back.'”
Collins also wrote about their relationship in the song “Houses,” which was on her 1975 album “Judith.”
“Houses” is one of the songs included on “Everybody Knows,” along with “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” which Stills recorded with Collins when they were together for her 1968 album of the same name.
“Judy,” another song Stills wrote about Collins in the late ’60s, is on the new record. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” isn’t, but it has been the final encore for their live shows.
The album includes covers of songs by the Traveling Wilburys (“Handle with Care”), Bob Dylan (“Girl from the North Country”) and Leonard Cohen (the title track) as well as a new song by Collins called “River of Gold.”
The two remained friendly as their careers took different paths. Stills is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and ranked No. 28 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
Collins is a Grammy Award-winning artist whose music mixes folk, rock, classical and jazz influences. She also is the author of several books and has been discovered by a new generation of listeners, appearing on the HBO series “Girls.”
In a New Yorker interview, Stills and Collins said idea of working together came about a few years ago when they both were booked to perform at an AARP convention in Florida.
“We laughed so hard about that,” Stills said. “But then there was this thought: Maybe it’s time we finished things off (by working together).”
Released last month, “Everybody Knows” debuted at number one on Amazon’s folk chart, number six on Billboard’s Americana / folk chart and number 26 on Billboard’s physical album sales chart. Paste magazine called the pairing, “Long overdue,” and PopMatters wrote, “Stills & Collins transcend wistfulness and melancholy into something deeper.”
So far, the musical pairing has been less rocky than the relationship.
Collins told The Guardian, “When we started rehearsing for the tour, Stephen said to me, ‘My God, we should have done this instead of the romance.’ And I said, ‘But then you wouldn’t have written ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,’ so that wouldn’t have worked.”