Friday, January 27, 2023

Folk-rock pioneer David Crosby dies at age 81

David Crosby, one of the architects of the 1960s’ folk-, psych-, and country-rock scenes as a founding member of both the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, and one of the most influential singer-songwriters of all time, has died. The two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee was 81 years old.
“It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away,” read a statement released Thursday by Crosby’s wife of 36 years, Jan Dance. “He was lovingly surrounded by his wife and soulmate Jan and son Django.
Although he is no longer here with us, his humanity and kind soul will continue to guide and inspire us. His legacy will continue to live on through his legendary music. Peace, love, and harmony to all who knew David and those he touched. We will miss him dearly. At this time, we respectfully and kindly ask for privacy as we grieve and try to deal with our profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers.”
David Van Cortlandt Crosby was born Aug. 14, 1941, in Los Angeles, into a privileged family that included his father, Oscar-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby. In 1964, he formed seminal folk-rock band the Byrds with Gene Clark, Michael Clarke, Chris Hillman, and Roger McGuinn; while his tumultuous time in the group only lasted three years, his alternative guitar tunings, angelic harmonies, and unique phrasings established the template for a classic California sound that influenced countless musicians for decades, including Tom Petty, Robyn Hitchcock, Big Star, and R.E.M. Among the Byrds songs Crosby co-wrote were “Eight Miles High,” “Renaissance Fair,” “Mind Gardens,” “Lady Friend,” “Everybody’s Been Burned,” “Dolphin’s Smile,” “Why,” “I See You,” and “It Happens Each Day.”
Ironically, Crosby’s firing from the Byrds partially stemmed from an incident when he joined Buffalo Springfield onstage at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, filling in for an absent Neil Young, yet that opened the door to his next project, formed in 1968: the supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash (sometimes Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) with Buffalo Springfield’s Stephen Stills and the Hollies’ Graham Nash. Among the songs Crosby co-wrote while in CS&N(Y) were “Guinnevere,” “Almost Cut My Hair,” “Long Time Gone,” “Delta,” “Wooden Ships,” and “Déjà Vu.”
Crosby, Stills & Nash’s self-titled debut went to No. 6 on the U.S. album chart and sold quadruple-platinum, and CS&N won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1969. That same year, they joined forces with new on/off member Neil Young and played their second-ever gig in front of 500,000 revelers at the Woodstock festival. The subsequent CSN&Y albums Déjà Vu and live LP 4-Way Street both went to No. 1 and sold a combined 11 million copies, but Crosby’s personal issues, including a heroin habit formed after his girlfriend Christine Hinton was killed in an automobile accident, led to Crosby parting with this group as well.
Over the years, Crosby participated in various reunions with both the Byrds (in 1972-73) and with CSN&Y, most notably with latter at Live Aid in 1985, various Bridge School Benefits, and full tours in 2000, 2002, and 2006. The final Crosby, Stills & Nash performance took place in 2015 at an ill-fated National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Washington, D.C., after which Nash announced that CSN&Y would never perform together again because of a falling-out with Crosby. However, in recent years, Crosby expressed a willingness to consider another reunion.
(Yahoo Entertainment)
Throughout his career, Crosby recorded eight acclaimed solo LPs, as well as two studio albums with CPR, a jazz-rock band he formed with session guitarist Jeff Pevar and keyboardist James Raymond, the latter being his son who’d been placed for adoption in 1962 and with whom Crosby reunited in the ‘90s. In 2014, Crosby released his first solo album in 20 years, Croz, recorded at Raymond’s home studio, and that project unexpectedly reignited his creativity. Between 2014 and 2021, Crosby released four albums, the most recent being 2021’s For Free.
Crosby is survived by his wife, Jan Dance; James Raymond, his son with Celia Crawford Ferguson; his two daughters from respective relationships with Jackie Guthrie and Debbie Donovan, Erika and Donovan Crosby; and his son with Dance, Django Crosby.

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