The legendary American David Crosby has died, aged 81. No cause of death has been announced. David was active on Twitter as recently as Wednesday, 18 January, saying of Greta Thunberg, “She is brave ….nothing less.”
Crosby joined the Byrds in 1964, and in April 1965, they had their first number-one with a cover of Bob Dylan’s Mr Tambourine Man. Crosby appeared on the Byrds’ first five albums and produced the original lineup’s 1973 reunion album. He subsequently formed Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1968 with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.
Crosby, Stills & Nash won the Best New Artist Grammy Award of 1969. Neil Young joined the group for live appearances, their second concert being Woodstock, before recording their second album Déjà Vu.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunions took place in each decade from the 1970s through the 2000s.
Graham Nash wrote of his “profound sadness” on Instagram. “I know people tend to focus on how volatile our relationship has been at times,” Nash said, “but what has always mattered to David and me more than anything was the pure joy of the music we created together. He leaves behind a tremendous void.”
In a statement to Billboard, Stephen Still said, “David and I butted heads a lot over time, but they were mostly glancing blows, yet still left us numb skulls. I was happy to be at peace with him. He was without question a giant of a musician, and his harmonic sensibilities were nothing short of genius. I am deeply saddened at his passing and shall miss him beyond measure.”
Crosby discovered Joni Mitchell playing in a Florida club in 1967 and helped her secure a record deal. He was convicted of possession of cocaine and a loaded pistol in 1983, eventually serving five months of a five-year sentence before being released on parole.
The time in jail was when he got clean. “I haven’t had a hard drug near me in 35 to 40 years,” he said in 2021. “I’m very glad I got past it.”
His first solo album came out in 1971, and he would release more solo records through the ’80s and ’90s. A 20-year break followed, and then five projects were released since 2014. 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.
“We sang together, we played together and had great times together,” David Golmour said. “I’ll miss The Croz more than words can say. Sail on.”