Rock legend David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young dies ...
American rock legend David Crosby has died aged 81 following a long illness, according to multiple media reports on Friday.
Crosby, one of the most influential rock singers of the 1960s and ’70s, was a founding member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash (later becoming Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young). He was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.
Industry news publication Variety first reported Crosby’s death and cited a statement from the musician’s wife Jan Dance. However, the outlet later attributed information about Crosby’s death to a representative after being unable to independently verify Dance’s statement with other sources in Crosby’s camp. The BBC cited a representative in reporting his death, while AP and Reuters both reported Crosby’s passing based on other media reports. The New York Times reported Crosby’s death based on a text message from Patricia Dance, Crosby’s wife’s sister.
Born in Los Angeles, Crosby joined The Byrds in 1964 and scored his first number-one hit with the group when it covered Bob Dylan’s Mr Tambourine Man. Other hits included Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season) and Eight Miles High.
After acrimoniously departing The Byrds, Crosby formed supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash, achieving immediate success with their first album. The group later added Neil Young to become Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The group’s 1970 album Deja Vu included hits Our House and Teach Your Children.
Musically, Crosby stood out for his intricate vocal harmonies, unorthodox open tunings on guitar and incisive songwriting. His work blended rock and folk in new ways and their music became a part of the soundtrack for the hippie era.
Personally, his voracious drug habit also landed him in prison during the 1980s and ultimately led to a liver transplant after decades of excess. His tumultuous life included a serious motorcycle crash, the death of a girlfriend and battles against hepatitis C and diabetes. He also managed to alienate many of his famous former bandmates, for which he later expressed remorse.
Crosby’s former bandmate Graham Nash expressed his “profound sadness” to hear his friend had died on Instagram.
“I know people tend to focus on how volatile our relationship has been at times, 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,” Nash’s statement read.
Looking back at the turbulent 1960s and his life, Crosby, an outspoken political progressive whose conspiracy theories about US President John F. Kennedy’s assassination contributed to tensions among The Byrds, told Time magazine in 2006: “We were right about civil rights; we were right about human rights; we were right about peace being better than war ... But I think we didn’t know our butt from a hole in the ground about drugs and that bit us pretty hard.”
Crosby released his last album, For Free, as a solo artist in 2021.
Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “I don’t know what to say other than I’m heartbroken to hear about David Crosby. David was an unbelievable talent – such a great singer and songwriter. And a wonderful person. I just am at a loss for words.”
With Reuters, AP
Our Breaking News Alert will notify you of significant breaking news when it happens. Get it here.