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Baker's Dozen

Access All Areas: Barbara Charone’s Baker’s Dozen
Lucy O'Brien , June 22nd, 2022 11:06

The legendary music PR talks to Lucy O’Brien about the albums and the people who have most inspired her, from the Rolling Stones to Madonna, and why artists aren’t necessarily your friends


Crosby, Stills & Nash – Crosby, Stills & Nash

I saw any incarnation of Crosby, Stills & Nash live as much as possible. That first record is just immaculate, the musicianship and the singing – ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ in particular. It was the first American supergroup we had. There was Dylan, and The Byrds, but we didn't have those big superstar bands like the UK, so that Crosby, Stills & Nash album was just everything, even the sleeve was iconic.

The only problem is, as I say in my memoir, don’t meet your idols. Stephen Stills was magical onstage, but when I became a journalist the more I interviewed him the less I liked him, and I saw a harsh side to him. He's entitled to be the way he wants to be, but I had put him up on a pedestal, and that pedestal got shattered pretty quickly. People ask me what famous people are like, and they're like everyone else, they're in a good mood some days, and other times they're in a bad mood. And he was just an unhappy person. Mental health chat is so in vogue now, but no one talked about it then. Also, in those days when you interviewed people you had much more access than now, so you would see them in different states. I once interviewed Eric Clapton when he was drinking Special Brew at 10am. Some people would show that they had drug or drink problems and act like assholes. Stephen Stills had some really great solo albums, but he kind of put me off for a while.

Later on artists got more wary of press and didn't share things openly, but I was really lucky. When I first started out we could spend days with them on the road. At the press receptions you could eat for free, and there were so many of them - there were full bars at lunchtime, not just wine and beer, and you could go from a lunchtime reception to an early evening one and have your evening meal!