David Crosby was born August 14, 1941 in Los Angeles, California, second son of Wall Street banker turned Academy Award-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby and Aliph Van Cortlandt Whitehead, a salesperson at Macy’s department store. His father was related to the famous Van Rensselaer family, a fiercely prominent family of Dutch descent during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries in the greater New York area. Members of this family played a critical role in the formation of the United States and served as leaders in business, politics and society. His mother—granddaughter of Bishop of Pittsburgh Cortlandt Whitehead—descended from the equally prominent Dutch descent New York Van Cortlandt family. For those of you interested in his ancestry, David Crosby could never have been anything else than what he became in life: freak, outspoken asshole and forever musical icon.
In all of Rock and Roll, this man was probably my very personal hero.
David Crosby lived one of the wildest lives in rock and roll, flying the freak flag high through decades of global fame and several fortunes won and lost, a white knuckle outlaw ride crammed with drugs, sex, death and a stint in prison. But that’s not why I celebrate him or mourn his passing. Because he also participated in some of the most beautiful music heard in our times, writing gorgeous, complex songs of cosmic folk jazz, gilding the air with blissful harmonies and playing impossibly complex chords he seemed to pluck out of the ether. With his walrus moustache and a perpetual twinkle in his eye, he was a fantastic musician and a richly complex human being whose spirit became infused in the rock culture of the 1960s, seventies and beyond. Crosby always yearned for greater musical adventures. He was one of the great hippies, one of the great band members in a couple of the greatest bands, and just really one of the few absolute greats of rock and roll..
He was the younger brother of musician, environmentalist Ethan Crosby, who committed suicide in the northern California woods in 1997. Growing up in California, he attended several schools, including the University Elementary School in Los Angeles, the Crane Country Day School in Montecito, and Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara for the rest of his elementary school and junior high years. At Crane, he starred in HMS Pinafore and other musicals but he ultimately flunked out and did not graduate from the Cate School in Carpinteria. His parents divorced in 1960, and his father re-married.
David Crosby dropped out of a college in Santa Barbara to chase a career as a musician. First stop was New York City where Dylan and others had set the early 60s on fire. However, David’s family history in the area was not a good fit for this young, outspoken musician. He performed with Chicago’s African American singer Terry Callier in Chicago and Greenwich Village, but the duo failed to obtain a recording contract. However when he arrived in Chicago to hang out with Terry Callier, he met South African singer Miriam Makeba (Mama Africa) and her band, who in turn knew multi-instrumentalist Jim McGuinn. Callier introduced McGuinn to Crosby.
Back in LA he performed with Les Baxter’s Balladeers around 1962 and then he began working the L.A. folk clubs as a solo act. L.A.’s nascent singer-songwriter scene was then coalescing around the Folk Den, the front room at the Santa Monica Boulevard club the Troubadour. One evening in 1964, Crosby inserted himself into a jam session involving two young folksingers, Jim McGuinn and Gene Clark. His crisp tenor voice not only attracted the attention of Jim Dickson, the house engineer at Richard Bock’s L.A. label World Pacific Records, but also re-established his connection with Jim McGuinn. Dickson began demoing Crosby as a solo artist and recorded his first solo session in 1963. Those sessions ultimately culminated in the formation of the band that became the Byrds, as Crosby had the free studio time available whenever he wanted it.
So Crosby joined Jim McGuinn (who later changed his name to Roger, per advice of Indonesian guru Bapak) and Gene Clark (from the New Cristy Minstrels), and they became the Jet Set.
Though McGuinn was wary of Crosby’s outsized, opinionated personality, he was under the sway of the Beatles and envisioned the formation of a new group; Crosby’s access to free studio time at World Pacific led to first sessions by McGuinn, Crosby and Clark under the collective handle the Jet Set. Under the name the Beefeaters, the trio issued a flop single on Elektra Records, but soon reformulated themselves as a full-blown rock quintet that reflected the influence of the Beatles 1964 debut feature “A Hard Day’s Night.” The lineup was filled out with the addition of neophyte bassist Chris Hillmen, formerly mandolinist with the bluegrass-oriented World Pacific group the Hillmen, and the unskilled but photogenic drummer Michael Clarke. It is now a well known fact that early Byrds’ recordings were often embellished by members of Los Angeles’ famous studio musicians the “Wrecking Crew”.
Late in 1964, when Chris Hillman joined as bassist, Crosby relieved Gene Clark of rhythm guitar duties. Through connections that Jim Dickson (the Byrds’ manager) had with Bob Dylan’s publisher, the band obtained a demo acetate disc of Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and recorded a version of the song, featuring McGuinn’s 12-string guitar as well as McGuinn, Crosby, and Clark’s vocal harmonizing. The song turned into a massive hit, reaching number one in the charts in the United States, the United Kingdom and many other European countries during 1965. While McGuinn originated the Byrds’ trademark 12-string Rickenbacker guitar sound, Crosby was responsible for the soaring harmonies and often unusual phrasing of their songs, and whilst he did not sing lead vocals on either of the first two albums, he sang lead on the bridge in their second single “All I Really Want to Do”.
David Crosby was the most vital Byrd – by all accounts, trouble to himself and those around him; but the most vivid and creative of that original musical tribe. Like many great partnerships, he and Jim McGuinn chafed against each other but generated an exquisite noise between them: Crosby had a voice like honey that draped over McGuinn’s more ant-like tones. Those guitars that seemed to floss your brain between the ears, coated with the warmth of Crosby’s dominant harmonies: their records alone made me want to levitate.
In 1966, Gene Clark, who had been the band’s primary songwriter, left the group because of stress.
Clark wrote or co-wrote many of the Byrds’ best-known originals from their first three albums, including “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”, “Set You Free This Time”, “Here Without You”, “You Won’t Have to Cry”, “If You’re Gone”, “The World Turns All Around Her”, “She Don’t Care About Time” and “Eight Miles High”. He initially played rhythm guitar in the band, but relinquished that position to David Crosby and became the tambourine and harmonica player. Bassist Chris Hillman noted years later in an interview remembering Clark, “At one time, he was the power in the Byrds, not McGuinn, not Crosby—it was Gene who would burst through the stage curtain banging on a tambourine, coming on like a young Prince Valiant. A hero, our savior.
Clark’s departure placed all the group’s songwriting responsibilities in the hands of McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman. Crosby took the opportunity to hone his craft and soon became a relatively prolific songwriter, collaborating with McGuinn on the up-tempo “I See You” (covered by Yes on their 1969 debut) and penning the ruminative “What’s Happening”. His early Byrds efforts also included the 1966 hit “Eight Miles High” (to which he contributed one line, while Clark and McGuinn wrote the rest), and its flip side “Why”, co-written with McGuinn.
Because Crosby felt responsible for and was widely credited with popularizing the song “Hey Joe”, he persuaded the other members of the Byrds to record it on Fifth Dimension.
By Younger Than Yesterday, the Byrds’ 1967 album, Crosby began to find his trademark style on songs such as “Renaissance Fair” (co-written with McGuinn), “Mind Gardens”, and “It Happens Each Day”; however, the latter song was omitted from the final album and ultimately restored as a bonus track on the 1996 remastered edition. The album also contained a re-recording of “Why” and “Everybody’s Been Burned”, a jazzy torch song from Crosby’s pre-Byrds repertoire that was initially demoed in 1963.
Friction between Crosby and the other Byrds came to a head in mid-1967 after the Monterey Pop Festival in June, when Crosby’s onstage political diatribes and support of various Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories between songs, elicited rancor from McGuinn and Hillman. He further annoyed his bandmates when, at the invitation of Stephen Stills, he substituted for an absent Neil Young during Buffalo Springfield’s set the following night. The final internal conflict had boiled over during the initial recording sessions for The Notorious Byrd Brothers that summer of love, where differences over song selections led to intra-band arguments. In particular, Crosby was adamant that the band should record only original material despite the recent commercial failure of “Lady Friend”, a Crosby-penned single that stalled at No. 82 on the American charts following its release in July. McGuinn and Hillman dismissed Crosby in October after he refused to countenance the recording of a cover of Goffin and King’s “Goin’ Back”. Another approach may have been that tensions kept mounting to a breaking point and by October 1967 Crosby left.
“Roger and Chris Hillman drove up in a pair of Porsches and said that I was crazy, impossible to work with, an egomaniac. All of which is partly true, I’m sure, sometimes — that I sang shitty, wrote terrible songs, made horrible sounds, and that they would do much better without me. Now, I’m sure that in the heat of the moment they probably exaggerated what they thought. But that’s what they said. I took it rather much to heart. I just say, ‘OK. Kinda wasteful, but OK.’ But it was a drag.” I took a sabbatical to Southern Florida and discovered Joni Mitchell in Coconut Grove and life went on.”
While Crosby had contributed to three compositions and five recordings on his final album with the Byrds, his controversial menage-a-trois ode “Triad” was omitted; Jefferson Airplane released a Grace Slick-sung cover on Crown of Creation (1968); three years later, Crosby released a solo acoustic version on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s double live album 4 Way Street (1971); the Byrds’ version appeared decades later on the 1988 Never Before release and later on the CD re-release of The Notorious Byrd Brothers.
In 1972, a reunion of the original Byrds lineup of Crosby, McGuinn, Clark, Hillman and Clarke was engineered by David Geffen for his Asylum label, and McGuinn, who had led the act following Crosby’s exit, disbanded the then-current edition of the group. However, while the 1973 release “Byrds” managed to reach No. 20 on the U.S. album chart, the set was largely dismissed by critics, and the members went their separate ways. No other new material was ever released under the Byrds’ name, inspite of Crosby’s efforts in later years.
Just before Crosby’s departure from the Byrds in late 1967, he had met a recently “unemployed” Stephen Stills, whose L.A.-based band Buffalo Springfield had just imploded amid internecine strife. At a party in March 1968 at the Laurel Canyon home of Cass Elliot (of the Mamas and the Papas), the newly cashiered Crosby started fulltime jamming with Stephen Stills. At another Laurel Canyon house party at Joni Mitchell’s house , Graham Nash, who had met the other two during a 1966 U.S. tour by his Manchester, England-bred group the Hollies, joined in with harmonies and a new sound was born.
Croz met up with Stills and Nash at Joni Mitchell’s house and discovered their incredible vocal blend. The first song the trio sang together was “You Don’t Have to Cry.” “They got to the end of it,” Nash recalled in 2020. “And I looked at Stephen and I said, ‘That’s an incredible song, Stephen. That’s really a beautiful song. Do me a favor and sing it one more time.’ And they looked at each other and shrugged, and they sang it one more time. They got to the end of it. And I said, ‘OK, all right, I’m English. Forget it. Do it one more time, please. One more time.’ In those three playings of that song, I had learned my harmony. I’d learned the words. I learned how Crosby was breathing. I learned Stephen’s body language about when he was going to start a line or end a line or put emphasis on particular words. When we sang that third time, my life changed.”
Laurel Canyon, just a short distance from Santa Monica Boulevard and the folk rock scene of the Troubadour Club, hosted most of the music royalty in Los Angeles area of the day and Crosby for awhile was the go to man in LA if you needed anything in the music sphere. He also had one of the most consequential relationships with Joni Mitchell during those psychedelic years, just before she embarked on a relationship with Nash.
“I walked into a coffeehouse in Coconut Grove, Florida and she was standing there singing those songs, and I just was gobsmacked,” Crosby recalled. “I fell for her. Immediately. It’s a little like falling into a cement mixer. She’s kind of a turbulent girl.”- David Crosby
Mind you, when CSN got together, they did not want to have contracts; they did not want a band with record company contracts. They wanted to be free to work with any and all musicians they wanted to work with, without contractual stipulations or limitations. After a deal brokered by David Geffen freed the three musicians from their outstanding contractual obligations, Crosby, Stills & Nash was signed to Atlantic Records.
But when their first album Crosby Stills Nash became an instant mega hit in spite of themselves in the same year the Beatles hung up their hats, they went on a scramble to put an electric band together to go on the road with and support the album. They were looking for a singer/songwriter, preferably with an acoustic, lightly electric sound.
The songs Crosby wrote for the first CSN album include “Guinevere”, “Long Time Gone”, and “Delta”. He also co-wrote “Wooden Ships” with Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane and Stills. The last three definitely leaning towards electric, just as most of Stephen Stills’ contributions. Consequently the problem arose that live shows would require more top notch musicians such as a bass player, percussion, some keyboards and additional guitar work as well.
So while Crosby and Nash went off sailing on Crosby’s newly acquired sailboat, a 59ft John Alden designed schooner called Mayan, Stills with drummer Dallas Taylor in tow, went to London to approach young Steve Winwood as the perceived ideal addition. Winwood got scared and refused. Eric Clapton simply refused and in the end, after much deliberation, on July 17, 1969, it became Neil Young who joined the group.
The album was an enormous success and Neil Young was added into the mix when they took it on tour in the summer of 1969. As a quartet they played their second gig at Woodstock, in front of nearly 500,000 fans. “It’s significant to remember that amazing feeling that prevailed, a very encouraging thing about human beings,” Crosby wrote in his revealing 1990 memoir, Long Time Gone. “We haven’t managed to do it before or since, but for that one moment we did something that tells you what’s possible with human beings. For three days there was a very good feeling among half a million people.… Woodstock was a time where there was a prevailing feeling of harmony.” Crosby later said, “I think when the Beatles bomb blew apart, we were the best band in the world for awhile.”
Tragedy struck Crosby 6 weeks later on September 30, 1969, when Crosby’s on/off again girlfriend Christine Hinton, taking her cats to the vet in Crosby’s VW bus, was killed in a small car accident with a school bus, only days after Hinton, Crosby, and Debbie Donovan moved from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay Area. Crosby never was the same again said Graham Nash. Devastated he began abusing drugs more severely than he had before. Nevertheless, he still managed to contribute “Almost Cut My Hair” and the album’s title track “Déja Vu”to CSNY’s second album Déjà Vu, which peaked at number 1 on the Billboard 200 and the ARIA Charts and for awhile CSNY became the top band in the world. As music was taking a central spot in society, CSN’s second album also received key airplay on the new FM radio format. In its early days this radio format was populated by unfettered disc jockeys who then had the option of playing entire albums at once.
Yet here is another Zeitgeist detail from those days:
Christine Hinton was the beautiful, bohemian 21 year old girlfriend of David Crosby, the guitarist for folk-rock sensations The Byrds, one of the leading lights of Los Angeles’s so-called 1967 Laurel Canyon scene. According to most accounts. Hinton was a bona-vied hippie. Quick to go on naked beach strolls and roll up doobies at a moment’s notice.
When Crosby got kicked out of the Byrds in 1967, he took a sabbatical to Florida, where he happened upon the relatively unknown Joni Mitchell performing in a local club. Enamored with her beauty and her talent, Crosby promptly broke up with Hinton to become Mitchell’s boyfriend and de-facto manager, eventually getting her a record deal and launching her to superstardom.
While dating Mitchell, Crosby helped form Crosby, Stills, & Nash and started writing the song “Guinnevere” about Mitchell. But their relationship was tempestuous, and the couple broke up before he finished it. Crosby reunited with Christine Hinton and finished the last two verses of “Guinnevere” about her.
On September 30th, 1969, Crosby, Stills, & Nash’s debut album, which included Guinnevere, went gold. On the same day, Christine Hinton borrowed David Crosby’s VW bus to take her two cats to the vet. En route, one of the cats jumped into Christine’s lap, startling her and causing her to lose control of the car, which drifted into the next lane and collided head on with a school bus, killing her.
After the release of the double live album 4 Way Street, the group went on a temporary hiatus to focus on their respective solo careers.
In December 1969, Crosby appeared with CSNY at the Altamont Free Concert. At the beginning of 1970, he briefly joined with Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and Mickey Hart from Grateful Dead, billed as “David and the Dorks”, and made a live recording at the Matrix on December 15, 1970. By the summer of 1970 CSNY then called an indefinite hiatus , having had enough of the bickering and scrabbling for power that defined their behind-the-scenes interactions. (yet CSNY only officially broke up in 2016.)
Going solo, Crosby put out his debut, If I Could Only Remember My Name, in 1971, featuring contributions by Nash, Young, Joni Mitchell, members of Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and Santana. The album reached No. 12 on the Billboard 200. After that it took another 18 years before Crosby’s next album, Oh Yes I Can, was published, a witness to the fact that his life was a mess.His third record, Thousand Roads, followed in 1993, and then Crosby went another 19 years before sharing Croz in 2014. He went on, however, to release several more albums, including his last one, For Free.
Continuing after CSNY’s first hiatus, Crosby renewed his ties to the San Francisco milieu that had abetted so well on his solo album, Crosby sang backup vocals on several Paul Kantner and Grace Slick albums from 1971 through 1974 and the Hot Tuna album Burgers in 1972. He also participated in composer Ned Lagin’s proto-ambient project Seastones along with members of the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Starship. As a duo, Crosby & Nash (C&N) then released four studio albums and two live albums, including Another Stoney Evening, which features the duo in a 1971 acoustic performance with no supporting band. During the mid-1970s, Crosby and Nash enjoyed lucrative careers as session musicians, with both performers (as a duo and individually) contributing harmonies and background vocals to albums by Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne (whom Crosby had initially championed as an emerging songwriter), Dave Mason, Rick Roberts, James Taylor (most notably “Lighthouse” and “Mexico”), Art Garfunkel, J.D. Souther, Carole King, Elton John, and Gary Wright.
CSNY reunited in the summer of 1973 for unsuccessful recording sessions in Maui and Los Angeles. Despite lingering acrimony, they reconvened at a Stills concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco in October. This served as a prelude to their highly successful stadium tour in the summer of 1974. Following the tour, the foursome attempted once again to record a new album, provisionally entitled Human Highway. The recording sessions, which took place at The Record Plant in Sausalito, were very unpleasant, marked by constant bickering. The bickering eventually became too much, and the album was canceled.
In rehearsals for the 1974 tour, CSNY had recorded a then-unreleased Crosby song, “Little Blind Fish”. A different version of the song would appear on the second CPR album more than two decades later. The 1974 tour was also affected by bickering, though they managed to finish it without a blow up. A greatest hits compilation entitled So Far was released in 1974 to capitalize on the foursome’s reunion tour.
In 1976, now as separate duos, Crosby & Nash and Stills & Young were both working on respective albums and contemplated retooling their work to produce a CSNY album. This attempt ended bitterly as Stills and Young deleted Crosby and Nash’s vocals from their album Long May You Run.
CSN with Young did not perform together again as a foursome until Live Aid in Philadelphia in 1985. Without Young, however, Crosby, Stills & Nash performed much more consistently after its reformation in 1977. The trio toured in support of their 1977 and 1982 albums CSN and Daylight Again, the latter one featuring hits such as Wasted on the Way and Southern Cross. Then, starting in the late 1980s, CSN toured regularly year after year. The group continued to perform live, and since 1982 released four albums of new material: American Dream (1988, with Young), Live It Up (1990), After the Storm (1994), and Looking Forward (1999, with Young). In addition, Crosby & Nash released a self-titled album Crosby & Nash in 2004.
In 1985 Crosby went to jail in Texas on a 1982 drug and weapons charges. The previous decade had taken a serious toll on David Crosby’s mental and physical health. In April 1982, he was arrested in a Dallas nightclub and charged with possessing a .45-caliber handgun and a pipe he used to freebase cocaine. Convicted in 1983, he finally served five months of a five-year sentence in 1985.
“Prison is a very effective tool for getting your attention,” he said later. “When I went in, I was a junkie and a freebaser—as far down the drug totem pole as you can go. And I was psychotic. But what happens is, it’s no longer a matter of choice: You’re there and you can’t get any drugs. Eventually, you wake up from that nightmare you put yourself in and remember who you are. I don’t regret going to prison a bit, man. Later I wrote a letter to the judge saying, ‘I understand how much the system fails, but I wanted you to know that this time, it worked. Thank you.’”
After leaving the drug rehabilitation program he was allowed to enter instead of serving a five-year prison sentence for possessing cocaine and carrying a gun. He appeared with Stills, Nash, and Young at Live Aid while out on appeal bond. Crosby emerged from prison in 1986 newly clean, and married his longtime girlfriend, Jan Dance, in 1987, who is credited for his sobriety since.
Crosby worked with Phil Collins occasionally from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. He sang backup to Collins in “That’s Just the Way It Is” and “Another Day in Paradise”, and, on his own 1993 song, “Hero”, from his album Thousand Roads, Collins sang backup. In 1992, Crosby sang backup on the album Rites of Passage with the Indigo Girls on tracks 2 and 12. In 1999, he appeared on Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons, singing a duet of the title track with Lucinda Williams.
Years of alcohol and drug abuse leading to Hepatitis C and in mortal need, he received a liver transplant in 1994, paid for by his friend Phil Collins and not much later he recorded another album with CSN, the commercially unsuccessful After the Storm. During the Nineties, Crosby gained more attention for a unique act of celebrity generosity when he became the sperm donor for Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher’s two sons.
Speaking of sons. In 1996, Crosby formed CPR or Crosby, Pevar & Raymond with session guitarist Jeff Pevar, and pianist James Raymond, Crosby’s son with Celia Crawford Ferguson; who had been given up for adoption in 1962. When Raymond and Crosby reunited, they formed the trio CPR, releasing two studio albums and two live albums.
“I feel very fortunate that we found each other and that he so graciously invited me to experience that rarified air of creativity that surrounded him.” – James Raymond
The first song that Crosby and Raymond co-wrote, “Morrison”, was performed live for the first time in January 1997. The song recalled Crosby’s feelings about the portrayal of Jim Morrison in the movie The Doors. The success of the 1997 tour spawned a record project, Live at Cuesta College, released in March 1998. There is a second CPR studio record, Just Like Gravity, and another live recording, Live at the Wiltern, recorded at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, which also features Phil Collins and Graham Nash. After the group split, Raymond continued to perform with Crosby as part of the touring bands for C&N and CSN, as well as on solo Crosby projects, including 2014’s Croz and the subsequent tour, for which he served as musical director.
Full-scale, financially highly successful CSNY tours, mostly initiated by Neil Young, took place in 2000, 2002, and 2006. In 2006, Crosby and Nash also worked with David Gilmour as backing vocalists on the latter’s third solo album, On an Island. The album was released in March 2006 and reached number 1 on the UK charts. They also performed live with Gilmour in his concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London in May 2006 and toured together in the United States, as can be seen on Gilmour’s 2007 DVD Remember That Night. They also sang backup on the title track of John Mayer‘s 2012 album Born and Raised.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash appeared together on a 2008 episode of The Colbert Report, and “Neil Young” joined them during the musical performance at the end of the episode. However, eventually, it became clear that it was only Stephen Colbert impersonating Young as the group sang “Teach Your Children”.
Following a November 2015 interview in which he stated he still hoped the band had a future, however Nash announced on March 6, 2016, that Crosby, Stills & Nash would never perform again because of his poor relations with Crosby.
In 2014, at 72, after a many years break from recording, he restarted what turned out to be a prolific solo career with “Croz” the first of five studio albums he released in the next seven years. He told Rolling Stone, “It’ll probably sell nineteen copies. I don’t think kids are gonna dig it, but I’m not making it for them. I’m making it for me. I have this stuff that I need to get off my chest.” He also told the Magazine: From there, his output picked up steam, and he released the albums Lighthouse in 2016; Sky Trails in 2017; Here If You Listen in 2019; and For Free in 2021. There were live recordings, too. His voice, amazingly enough, held up for his final creative surge. It sounded gentle and selfless, humbled and purified by time.
Crosby’s personal life had been calamitous enough in the 1970s and 1980s — cocaine and heroin addiction, prison time, medical crises, financial ruin — for him to chronicle it in two older-but-wiser autobiographies: “Long Time Gone” and “Since Then: How I Survived Everything and Lived to Tell About It.” Throughout his career, close musical collaborations gave way to harsh acrimony. But Crosby’s music incorporated different stories, unusual guitar tunings and syncopated rhythms. Shaped by the upheavals of the 1960s, his songs held cross currents of freedom and disorientation, of seeking and disillusionment, of yearning and alienation and, in later years, of seasoned reflection. Crosby was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: once for his work in the Byrds and again for his work with CSN. Five albums to which he contributed are included in Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”, three with the Byrds and two with CSN(Y). He was outspoken politically and was sometimes depicted as emblematic of the counterculture of the 1960s.
On Wednesday January 18, 2023, the day of his death, he quoted-tweeted a user joking about tattooed people being barred from heaven. “I heard the place is overrated… .cloudy,” he wrote.
I hope there is a warm wind blowing over your shoulder David. You definitely set my life’s course to go.
Graham Nash – “I know people tend to focus on how volatile our relationship has been at times,” he continued, “but what has always mattered to David and me more than anything was the pure joy of the music we created together, the sound we discovered with one another, and the deep friendship we shared over all these many long years.”
Stephen Stills – “He was without question a giant of a musician, and his harmonic sensibilities were nothing short of genius. The glue that held us together as our vocals soared, like Icarus, towards the sun. I am deeply saddened at his passing and shall miss him beyond measure.”
Neil Young – “David is gone, but his music lives on. The soul of CSNY, David’s voice and energy were at the heart of our band. His great songs stood for what we believed in and it was always fun and exciting when we got to play together.”