Neil Young has honoured David Crosby, who has died aged 81.
Writing on his Archives website Young said, “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. ‘Almost Cut My Hair’ ‘Dejavu’, and so many other great songs he wrote were wonderful to jam on and Stills and I had a blast as he kept us going on and on. His singing with Graham was so memorable, their duo spot a highlight of so many of our shows.
“We had so many great times, especially in the early years. Crosby was a very supportive friend in my early life, as we bit off big pieces of our experience together. David was the catalyst of many things.
“My heart goes out to Jan and Django, his wife and son. Lots of love to you. Thanks David for your spirit and songs, Love you man. I remember the best times!”
Earlier, Crosby’s other former CSNY bandmates Graham Nash and Stephen Stills paid tribute to Crosby
Sharing a black and white photo on Instagram of his and Crosby’s guitar cases next to one another, Nash wrote that it was with “a deep and profound sadness” that he learned about Crosby’s death.
“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,” he continued.
“David was fearless in life and in music. He leaves behind a tremendous void as far as sheer personality and talent in this world. He spoke his mind, his heart, and his passion through his beautiful music and leaves an incredible legacy. These are the things that matter most. My heart is truly with his wife, Jan, his son, Django, and all of the people he has touched in this world.”
Meanwhile, Stills wrote, “He was without question a giant of a musician, and his harmonic sensibilities were nothing short of genius. The glue that held us together [in CSN and CSNY] as our vocals soared, like Icarus, towards the sun. I am deeply saddened at his passing and shall miss him beyond measure.”
"I read a quote in this morning’s paper attributed to composer Gustav Mahler that stopped me for a moment:
'Death has, on placid cat’s paws, entered the room.'
I shoulda known something was up. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/eikZ47Kmso
— Stephen Stills Official (@Stephen__Stills) January 20, 2023
Crosby co-founded The Byrds alongside Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke in 1964, after performing on the acoustic coffeehouse circuit and in other bands, including Les Baxter’s Balladeers.
He was critical to their creative evolution from Beatles-inspired folkies to electric 12-string revolutionaries taking trad arr to a new dimension, bringing John Coltrane into psychedelic pop and beyond. His work with them culminated in 1967’s Younger Than Yesterday. He also appeared on their fifth record, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, before he was fired from the band in 1967.
Crosby later produced their 1973 reunion album, Byrds.
IN 1967, Crosby discovered Joni Mitchell playing in a Florida club. He went on to produce her debut album, Song To A Seagull.
A year after leaving The Byrds, Crosby formed Crosby, Stills & Nash with Nash and Buffalo Springfield’s Stephen Stills. The supergroup won Best New Artist at the 1969 Grammys following the release of their self-titled debut album and played their second ever gig at Woodstock. their self-titled debut in 1969. Joined by Neil Young, they released Déjà Vu the following year.
Together, Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young) released eight studio albums; their last was 1999’s Looking Forward.
Outside of CSN/Y, Crosby often collaborate with Nash, releasing four studio albums together.
Aside from their own records, Crosby and Nash quickly became the go-to harmony vocalists for other acts of the ‘70s, including their bandmates Stills and Young. Elsewhere, they appeared on Mitchell’s “Free Man In Paris”, James Taylor’s “Mexico” and Jackson Browne’s “The Pretender”.
Crosby‘s solo career began with 1971’s If I Could Only Remember My Name. He released a few more solo albums through the ’80s and ’90s, before a 20-year break. He enjoyed a successful late creative surge, however, releasing five albums since 2014. His latest solo release was 2021’s For Free, named after a Mitchell song he recorded for the album.
In 2019, he became the focus of his own documentary, David Crosby: Remember My Name. The film was produced by Cameron Crowe and was nominated for Best Music Film at the 2020 Grammys.
Crosby was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame twice – first, with The Byrds in 1991 and again with Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1997.
Aside from Nash and Stills, tributes have been paid across the board to Crosby. Brian Wilson wrote: “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. Love & Mercy to David’s family and friends.”
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. Love & Mercy to David’s family and friends. Love, Brian pic.twitter.com/Hjht7LeGiv
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) January 19, 2023
Elsewhere, David Gilmour shared a photo of the pair together. “We sang together, we played together and had great times together,” he wrote. “I’ll miss The Croz more than words can say. Sail on.”
We sang together, we played together and had great times together.
I'll miss The Croz more than words can say.
Sail on. pic.twitter.com/Lc6pui2rCX
— David Gilmour (@davidgilmour) January 20, 2023
“Grateful for the time we had with David Crosby. We’ll miss him a lot,” Jason Isbell tweeted.
Grateful for the time we had with David Crosby. We’ll miss him a lot.
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) January 19, 2023