Teach Your Children (2:49)

Cover of Box Set

From Box Set and 21 other releases

“Teach Your Children” is a song by Graham Nash. Although it was written when Nash was a member of The Hollies, it was never recorded by that group, and first appeared on the album Deja Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released in 1970. It quickly became a counterculture anthem, one of the first public performances of the song having taken place on November 15, 1969, at a San Francisco rally against the Vietnam war, shortly after the album was recorded but before its release. The recording features Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar, probably the first time that Garcia recorded with that instrument.

Although the song was probably based in part on Nash’s difficult relationship with his father, Nash, who is also a photographer and collector of photographs, has stated in an interview that the immediate inspiration for the song came from a famous photograph by Diane Arbus, “Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park.” The image, which depicts a child with an angry expression holding the toy weapon, prompted Nash to reflect on the societal implications of messages given to children about war and other issues.

“Teach Your Children” was used in a 1970s public service message on television highlighting the negative aspect of nuclear testing and proliferation. The clip portrayed multiple nuclear explosions carried out by the United States.

It was later used in several ads for the Mondale/Ferraro ticket in the 1984 United States presidential election
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It was also performed in the Six Feet Under episode “Falling Into Place”.

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