A unique stumbling block for CSNY’s first run was that, despite being among the world’s largest bands, they never had any top ten successes. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a significant divergence between rock and pop music, with rock performers gaining commercial success mostly through smash albums instead of chart-topping singles. This was also the period in which Young had a top one hit with ‘Heart of Gold.’ It’s not the main focus, but it wasn’t difficult for rock performers to achieve chart success.
Overall, CSNY never had a top one single in either America or the United Kingdom. ‘Southern Cross’ reached number one on Canada’s Adult Contemporary chart, while ‘Got It Made’ reached number one on what is now the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart in 1989. However, no CSNY song has ever reached the top of the pop charts.
In fact, with the aforementioned ‘Heart of Gold,’ Young is the only band member to have a top one single to his credit. Crosby and The Byrds scored two number one singles with their renditions of Bob Dylan’s ‘Mr. ‘Tambourine Man,’ and with Pete Seeger ‘Turn! Turn! Turn! ‘, although he was not completely to blame for each of them. The Hollies’ Nash achieved a UK top one with ‘I’m Alive,’ but they would not reach the top spot in the US until after Nash’s exit, with the loping swampy rock single ‘Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress’ reaching number two in 1972. Buffalo Springfield, Stills, and Young’s former band made it to number seven with ‘For What It’s Worth’ in 1967.
‘Heart of Gold’ for Young, ‘Love the One You’re With’ for Stills (number 14 in the US in 1970), ‘Hero’ for Crosby (number 44 in the US in 1993), and ‘Chicago’ for Graham (number 35 in the US in 1971) Nash are the top singles from each member’s solo projects. Now that CSNY looks to be disbanded for good, a fresh number one single does not seem to be on the cards, but a creative use in media may still generate a major increase in streaming success… should the band ultimately restore their songs to Spotify.