Memory Lane

16 March 2023

Do you have a Carleton Song?

Do you have a “Carleton song?”  By that I mean a song that instantly transports you back to the early 1970’s in Northfield. Just listening to a few bars of the song takes you back to that special time as if it were yesterday.  I have just such a song….

It’s called “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills & Nash.  Before coming to Carleton, I had never heard the song.  I grew up listening to the music of my parents’ generation.  Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett were my favorite singers.  (Still are!) You could fit what I knew about the music of the 60’s and 70’s into a thimble.  (Still can!)

But Max Carlson (’71) who was the R.A. on Fourth Meyers our freshman year had put together a little band, and they were rehearsing their version of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” I must’ve heard “doo-doo-doo-da-doo” a million times during our orientation week. But far from finding it annoying, I rather liked it.

It was my roommate Marc Cohen who explained to me it was not “Sweet Judy” but rather “Suite: Judy,” because the song was arranged into four distinct movements like classical music. He told me it was inspired by the singer Judy Collins, with whom Steven Stills had recently broken up. Legend has it that when Collins first heard Stills play the song for her, she said, “It’s a beautiful song, Stephen, but I’m not coming back to you.”

I came to love the song.  And when I hear it nowadays I’m instantly transported to 4th Meyers in September of 1970. I can hear, see, even smell everything exactly like it was back then. (It smelled a lot like marijuana.) 

Do you have a “Carleton song” like that?  If so, we’d love to hear about it and put in on our 50th reunion playlist.  Just enter it into the Playlist in the next section of this Newsletter.  If you have a story to go along with your song, please send it to us for a future newsletter at

Meanwhile, consider this possibility: Did Stephen Stills steal “doo-doo-doo-da-doo” from Frank Sinatra’s “scoobie-doobie-doo?” I wouldn’t put it past him.

-R. Armstrong

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