(CelebrityAccess) – David Crosby, the guitarist and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, best known as a co-founder of the supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash, has died. He was 81.
His passing was announced by his wife Jan, who said he died after a long illness.
“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,” she said in a statement provided to Variety.
Born in Los Angeles, Crosby studied briefly at Santa Barbara City College before dropping out to pursue a career in music. He formed a duo with folk singer Terry Callier, performing in New York and Chicago, but the pair failed to generate any enthusiasm from labels. He also performed with Les Baxter’s Balladeers and recorded a solo session in 1963.
Callier introduced Crosby to Jim McGuinn (who later changed his name to Roger) and Gene Clark, who at the time was performing as the Jet Set. The trio combined to form The Byrds, later adding Michael Clarke on drums and making the group a quartet.
The group quickly found success, and their debut album Mr. Tambourine Man which mostly consisted of Bob Dylan covers putting The Byrds on the map as rising international stars and helping to popularize the folk-rock sound.
Despite their success, Crosby stepped away from The Byrds in 1967, amid rising tensions and creative differences in the band.
After meeting Stephen Stills during a party at the home of Cass “Mama Cass” Elliot, the two began to play together informally and soon attracted fellow musician Graham Nash, who stepped away from The Hollies to form Crosby, Stills & Nash.
The band was an immediate success with their eponymously named 1969 album debut generating two top 40 hits and significant airplay.
They were soon joined by Neil Young, and as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the group performed at high-profile festivals such as Woodstock and its notorious counterpoint, the Altamont Free Concert.
However, the band struggled with personality and creative differences as well as substance abuse and they went on hiatus in 1970 after completing a tumultuous tour of the United States as each artist pursued solo careers.
Along with releasing solo material, and recorded music with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Art Garfunkel, David Mason, Elton John, and Carole King, among others. He also reunited with Graham Nash to form Crosby & Nash, recording 4 studio albums and 2 live releases together.
In 2014, Crosby recorded Croz his first solo album in 20 years since the release of 1994’s Thousand Roads, with the album reaching 36 on the Billboard 200.
Throughout much of his career, Crosby struggled with drugs and alcohol. In 1985, Crosby did a nine-month stint in a Texas state prison after he was convicted on drugs and weapons charges after he was arrested with cocaine and heroin. He was also arrested for drug and weapon charges in New York City in 2004 after leaving a suitcase with drugs and a firearm in a hotel room.
He also suffered from hepatitis C, which eventually led Crosby to undergo a liver transplant in 1994, and type 2 diabetes that he controlled with insulin.
In 2014, he was forced to postpone part of a solo tour while he underwent a cardiac catheterization and angiogram, following a routine cardiac stress test.
Crosby was twice inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, once for his work with The Byrds and again for his part in Crosby Stills & Nash. He was also the first recipient of the first-ever recipient of the MusiCares Person of the Year award in 1991 and shared the Best New Artist award with CSN at the 12th annual Grammy Awards in 1970.
In early 2022 CelebrityAccess senior writer Larry LeBlanc interviewed film director and music journalist Cameron Crowe and the two spoke of David Crosby.
You co-produced “David Crosby: Remember My Name,” directed by A.J. Eaton (2019).
“Crosby I have written about a lot because of CSN&Y. I have not had any bad experiences with Crosby. I had always known him as the guy who if you interviewed him, was going to be a lively conservationist.”
In the first interview, you did with Crosby for the documentary, he told you, “Time is the final currency. What do you do with the time you have left?” Okay, that’s a theme to follow, because he’s looking forward while looking back, and that was obviously the key to the film. Then there’s the ending when he has that look on his face as if he considering his entire life in a blink of an eye.
“The camera loves him, Larry. The camera loves this guy. I just told A.J., ‘Don’t do a million talking heads. Just put the camera on Crosby and let him go. He’s like the Lamborghini of quotable quotes. Let him talk really close to the lens, and make it sound as if he is telling one person these stories, and it could be a film.’ That was the beginning of the Crosby doc.”
A long line of Crosby acquaintances, including Graham Nash, Neil Young, Roger McGuinn, and Joni Mitchell, won’t have anything to do with him.
“As he tells you in the documentary, there are a lot of people that have issues with him, but that stuff just makes it sparkle and light up as he tries to tell you what his opinions are on it (the feuds).”