David Crosby, Founding Member of the Byrds and CSN, Dead at 81
David Crosby, a founding member of both the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, has died at age 81.
A statement from Crosby's wife confirmed the news.
"It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away," read the statement. "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."
Longtime friend Melissa Etheridge also tweeted on Crosby's death.
Crosby, who was born in Los Angeles in 1941, dropped out of college to pursue a career in music. After gigging in Chicago and New York City's Greenwich Village, Crosby returned to L.A. and joined the Byrds in 1964, which also included Gene Clark, Jim McGuinn (who later changed his name to Roger) and Chris Hillman. The following year, they scored their first No. 1 hit with a cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr Tambourine Man." Tensions within the band led to their breakup in 1967.
In 1968, Crosby formed Crosby, Stills & Nash with Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash of the Hollies. The next year, their debut self-titled album earned them a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Neil Young joined the group soon after, expanding the band to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Their second gig together took place at the Woodstock festival on Aug. 18, 1969. The band parted ways and reunited multiple times over the years, and Crosby released his first solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name, in 1971. Crosby has also appeared on albums by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Art Garfunkel, Carole King, Elton John and others. In 1997, CSN was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, making them the first band to have all its members inducted into the hall twice.
In 2022, Crosby told UCR that he would be stepping down from regular touring, citing health issues that made it difficult to play guitar. "I've got tendonitis in both hands," he said. "I can't play well enough for my standards on stage. I could probably get away with it and you'd probably like it, but it’s not good enough for me. It's possible I might do a residency someplace. We'll see."
Crosby released eight solo albums in total, the most recent of which, For Free, arrived in 2021, and featured collaborations with Michael McDonald, Donald Fagen and a variety of younger musicians from Crosby's backing group, the Lighthouse Band.
"The real thing that drives me is the partnerships that I've got with these other people now," he told UCR last year. "It's allowing me to extend my working life as a writer by probably 10 years. I can write with other people and successfully generate good stuff. That's a rare thing. I don't know why people get so hung up [with] 'it has to be all me. Me, me.' Us is a lot of fun, too!"