Music Friday: Supergroup CSNY Has ‘Fiery Gems for You’ in 1970's 'Our House'

April 23, 2021

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you classic hits with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we take a deep dive into the origin story behind “Our House,” a song written by Graham Nash and inspired by his then-girlfriend, singer Joni Mitchell, as they shared a home (with two cats) in Laurel Canyon, CA, in 1970.

Featuring the intricate vocal harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the song recounts a simple day in the life of two rock and roll icons. After having breakfast at a deli in LA, Nash and Mitchell stopped at an antique store where they purchased a beautiful vase that had been displayed in the window. Then they headed back home on a cool, drizzly L.A. morning.

As they entered the front door, Nash told Mitchell, “You know what? I’ll light a fire. Why don’t you put some flowers in that vase that you just bought?"

Nash continued the story of this aha moment for Howard Stern's listeners in 2016: "Well, she was in the garden getting flowers. That meant she was not at her piano, but I was. ‘Our House’ was born about an hour and a half later.”

"I defy any musician out there to tell me when the muse of music is going to come visit. I don't think any of us know," Nash continued. "And songs come from the strangest places."

Lead vocalist Nash compares the rays of light streaming through the windows to brilliant gemstones. He sings, “Such a cozy room, the windows are illuminated by the evening sunshine through them, fiery gems for you, only for you.”

One of three Top-40 songs from the group’s 1970 Déjà Vu album, “Our House” reached #30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and has since stood the test of time.”Our House” has been covered by numerous artists and continues to be a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fan favorite 51 years later.

In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Déjà Vu #147 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In addition to “Our House,” the album also charted two other iconic songs of the era, “Woodstock” and “Teach Your Children.”

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was one of the greatest supergroups of all time. David Crosby had been with The Byrds. Nash was with The Hollies. Steven Stills and Neil Young were members of Buffalo Springfield. By virtue of their stellar collaborations and solo careers, the members of CSNY have each earned two inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

We hope you enjoy the video of CSNY’s performance of “Our House.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Our House”
Written by Graham Nash. Performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

I’ll light the fire, you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today.
Staring at the fire for hours and hours while I listen to you
play your love songs all night long for me, only for me.

Come to me now and rest your head for just five minutes, everything is good.
Such a cozy room, the windows are illuminated by the evening
sunshine through them, fiery gems for you, only for you.

Our house is a very, very, very fine house with two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard,
now everything is easy cause of you and our la, la, la…

Our house is a very, very, very fine house with two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard,
now everything is easy cause of you and our

I’ll light the fire, while you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today.

Credit: Image by CMA-Creative Management Associates/Atlantic Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.