David Crosby Gone at 81

Friends and family take to social media to process the news

Young David Crosby (Image: Facebook)

The music world is once again bereft with grief over the loss of American rock icon David Crosby, who has passed away at the age of 81.

“It is with great sadness after a long illness that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away,” Crosby’s family said in a 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.”

Crosby, whose cantankerous and hilarious Twitter feed kept him relevant till the end, was active on social media as recently as yesterday (Jan. 18). He was cracking wise on Twitter about a post listing people who will not make it to Heaven with the reply, “I heard the place is overrated …. cloudy.”

Friends and colleagues were quick to profess their sorrow online.

“It is with profound sadness that I learned that my friend David Crosby has passed,” bandmate Graham Nash said in a statement. “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. 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.”

“I don’t know what to say other than I’m heartbroken to hear about David Crosby,” tweeted Brian Wilson. “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 am grieving the loss of my friend and Bailey’s biological father, David,” wrote Melissa Etheridge on Twitter. “He gave me the gift of family. I will forever be grateful to him, Django, and Jan. His music and legacy will inspire many generations to come. A true treasure.”

“In 1966 my mother was engaged to marry sweet David, when my father swept in and stole her from him at a party one night,” Gram Parsons’ daughter Polly wrote on her Facebook page. “David would later write Guinevere about her and Gram would write 1000 Dollar Wedding among others. 

“Loving, magic and muses. This was the base air altitude of Laurel Canyon in the 60’s. Surrounded by the smells of frankincense and myrrh and sounds of harmonies and acoustic guitars. We were constantly barefoot, joyful and oh so full of life. This is how I will remember you.

“Here’s to our lions among men. The unapologetic forces of nature we are so blessed to have had in this world at all. 

“We love you.”


VIDEO: David Crosby and the Lighthouse Band on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert

Robyn Hitchcock also took to Facebook to share his thoughts on Croz with expert insight.

“David Crosby was the most vital Byrd – by all accounts, trouble to himself and those around him; but the most vivid and creative of that musical tribe,” he wrote. “Like many great partnerships, he and Jim McGuinn chafed against each other but generated an exquisite noise between them: Crosby had a voice like honey that draped over McGuinn’s more ant-like tones. I wish I’d seen them in action – those guitars that seemed to floss your brain between the ears, coated with the warmth of Crosby’s dominant harmonies: their records alone made me want to levitate.

“David was also – to me – the most interesting element of CSN&Y, musically, even if drugs could get the better of him and bonsai his contributions. He let jazz, folk and rock’n’roll flow into each other, like a child playing with cups of water by a sink. There was a liquid quality to his songs and music. 

“As a person he was wonderful yet could on occasion be ghastly, apparently – like John Lennon himself. Overbearing at times, he nonetheless was very supportive of other artists, from Joni Mitchell up to Snarky Puppy. 

“Because David did such a great job in pulling himself out of the narcotic vortex in the late 1980s he seemed like he’d be around forever. It’s disturbing that he’s gone, almost as much as it’s sad: people like Crosby were built to endure, the way their love of music does. So even 81 seems too soon for him to be called away. Rave on, David…”

A deeper dive into Crosby’s career will be following this story in short order. But for now, we will always remember this man for his unsung guitar work and heavenly vocal harmonies. 

So put on your favorite Byrds / CSN / CSNY / Crosby solo record on the turntable and remember the legend we just lost.

Here’s the one we are turning to, 1982’s underrated CSN LP Daylight Again.

Rest easy, Croz.






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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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