David Crosby, one of the most influential rock musicians of the1960s & the ’70s & who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with two different groups, has died at the age of 81 leaving the Rock world mourn at the loss.
Crosby was a founding member of two revered rock bands the country & folk- influenced Byrds for whom he co-wrote the hit “ Eight Miles High “, & Crosby, Stills & Nash, later Crosby Stills, Nash & Young ( CSN/ CSNY), who defined the smooth side of the Woodstock generation’s music.
Crosby’s wife, Jan Dance, announced the death in a statement published by Variety. It did not specify when he died, nor the cause.
Musically, Crosby stood out for his intricate vocal harmonies, unorthodox open tunings on guitar & incisive songwriting. His work with both the Byrds & CSN /CSNY blended Fock & folk in new ways, & their music became part of the soundtrack for the hippie era.Personally, Crosby was the embodiment of the credo “sex, drugs & rock roll” & a 2014 Rolling Stone Magazine article tagged him as” rock’s unlikeliest survivor”.
In addition to drug addictions that led to a transplant to replace a liver, his tumultuous life included a serious motorcycle accident, the death of a girlfriend, & battles against hepatitis C & diabetes.” I am concerned that the time I’ve pissed at myself, deeply, for the 10 years of lime that I wasted just getting smashed”, Crosby said to the Los Angeles Times in 2019. “I’m ashamed of that”.
He also managed to alienate many of his former bandmates, for which he often expressed remorse. His drug habits & abrasive personality contributed to the demise of CSNY. Crosby fathered six children- two as a sperm donor to rocker Melissa Etheridge’s partner & another who was placed for adoption at birth & did not meet Crosby until he was in his 30s. That son, James Raymond, would eventually become his musical collaborator.
Crosby beat a series of drug charges but lost in Texas after being arrested with a drug pipe & gun at a Dallas club & went to prison in 1985. After his release, he told People magazine he had beaten his addictions. He was also arrested on gun & marijuana charges in 2004.
In 2014 he released “Croz”, his first solo album since 1993. He continued recording & was an active presence on Twitter, in addition to writing an advice column for Rolling Stone. In 2021, the Guardian reported that Crosby sold the music & publishing rights to his entire music catalog to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group for an undisclosed sum.