I love David Crosby. There. I’ve said it. Unequivocally, without reservations, no holds barred, despite the drug addiction, the alcohol dependency, the weapons charges, the drunk driving charges, the jail time. His effortlessly pure vocals, ethereal harmonies, organic approach to songwriting, forward-thinking views on the music industry, and cool style have held my interest for decades. David turns 70 years old on August 14 and while it may not seem like a big deal to many, I think back to all the challenges he’s had in his life and I’m amazed- and grateful- he’s still out there entertaining the masses.
Born in southern California in 1941, David Crosby had his first real success when he joined a band that eventually became known as The Byrds in 1964. The Byrds are considered by many to be very influential in developing the folk-rock sound, with layered harmonies, and the dulcet tones from Roger McGuinn’s 12 string guitar.
The Byrds- Triad. This song didn't get enough recognition. David's voice is silky smooth on this track.While Crosby left the group in 1967 their songs left an indelible mark on popular music. Mr. Tambourine Man (a cover of a Bob Dylan tune) and Turn!Turn!Turn! (another cover, this time from Pete Seeger) along with originals such as Eight Miles High and So You Want to be a Rock n Roll Star are classics. In-fighting surfaced shortly after the group played at the famous Monterey Pop Festival and when Steven Stills asked Crosby to fill in for Neil Young during their Buffalo Springfield set, it was the beginning of the end of his involvement with The Byrds.
By 1968 David was regularly jamming with Stills and soon Graham Nash joined them. Their stellar performance at Woodstock is made even more impressive by the utterance of the words now famous from Stills: “This is our second gig. This is the second time we’ve played in front of people, man. We’re scared shitless.” You'd never know it by watching them in front of the crowd of 500,000.
In 1969 Neil Young joined in the fun and they recorded Déjà vu, which quickly jumped to number 1 on the charts. Crosby moved from L.A. to the Bay Area and shortly after the move his girlfriend Christine Hinton was killed in an automobile accident which caused a sudden acceleration in his drug use that continued with a vengeance until 1985 when he served some time in prison for a previous drug related charge. He used the time in jail to begin a detox program and began the day a time process to sobriety.
Crosby & Nash- Guinnevere. Nothing says rocker better than a suede fringed jacket. My hubby has a similar one from back in the day.Life is never easy, or fair, and just about the time Crosby had a good handle on sober living there was an onslaught of personal challenges: a serious motorcycle accident that left permanent damage to his shoulder and ankle due to a faulty part on his bike, financial problems due to criminal mishandling of his business affairs, and severe earthquake damage in 1994 to his heavily mortgaged home resulted in its loss through foreclosure.
By 1995 a devastating blow came in the form of an undiagnosed case of Hepatitis C in conjunction with years of abuse to his liver. Crosby was hospitalized, his liver rapidly deteriorating, facing certain death in a very short time unless he received a liver transplant. Luckily, he received a transplant and was on his way to a full recovery. During this time he connected with a son given up for adoption, James Raymond, and they discovered a common interest in music and formed the group CPR with guitarist Jeff Pavar. James also tours with CSN.
In a full circle moment while James was meeting his birth father for the first time, his own wife Stacia, was down the street in the hospital in labor with their first child. David's granddaughter, Grace Raymond, was born that night.
In recent years David Crosby seems content with his life. It was revealed he’d fathered the children of singer Melissa Etheridge through sperm donation, thus adding to his legendary status. He continues to tour with CSN, and is in fact, playing today on the bill with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in Washington, D.C.
Crosby, Stills, & Nash- Almost Cut My Hair. Let your freak flag fly, David!So here’s to you, David Crosby, singer, songwriter, and survivor on your 70th birthday. Thanks for the years of music that calms me, invigorates me, gets my toes tapping, inspires me in my own vocal harmonies, and has a place in my heart and soul. Thank you for all the concerts I attended over the years that will stay with me forever. I hope you will be with us for many years to come.