The trio's first album, Crosby, Stills, & Nash, was released in May 1969 and was an immediate hit, spawning two Top 40 hit singles and receiving key airplay on the new FM radio format. With the exception of drummer Dallas Taylor, Stills had handled the lion's share of the instrumental parts himself. It was a testament to his talent, but left the band in need of additional personnel to be able to tour, now a necessity given the debut album’s commercial impact.
CSNY's music unerringly reflected the tastes and viewpoints of the counterculture as the sixties changed into the seventies. By 1970, with protest against both the establishment and the Vietnam War gearing up, the group made no secret of their political leanings, Crosby in particular.
The release of “Ohio” following the Kent State shootings in 1970 marked the boldest musical statement made to that date regarding the Vietnam War, calling out Richard Nixon by name and voicing the counterculture's rage and despair at the events. Between "Ohio", their appearance in both the festival and movie of Woodstock, and the runaway success of their two albums, the group found themselves in the position of enjoying a level of adulation far greater than experienced with their previous bands, as evidenced by the 27 Platinum certifications they received across 7 albums.