David Crosby died at age 81 after a long illness, his wife, Jan Dance, Office has partnered. The singer-songwriter is one of the co-founders of the iconic folk rock band the Byrds. He went on to achieve great success as one third of the Crosby, Stills and Nash and as part of the on-again, off-again quartet Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. His influential solo debut, If I Could Only Remember My Namearrived in 1971.
Born in California in 1941, David Crosby developed an interest in music when his older brother gave him a guitar as a teenager. In the mid-1960s, after spending time in Chicago and New York, Crosby formed the Byrds in Los Angeles with Gene Clark and Roger McGuinn. The Byrds made a splash with their versions of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and Pete Seeger’s “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” before shifting their folk-rock sound to something which is more psychedelic on albums like Fifth Dimension, Younger Than Yesterdayand The Notorious Byrd Brothers. Crosby was fired from the band midway through the recording of the latter album.
After leaving the Byrds, Crosby began singing with Graham Nash and Stephen Stills. Crosby, Stills & Nash released their self-titled debut in 1969, and, the following year, they hit it big. the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Neil Young joined the group in the 1970’s Déjà vu, released under the expanded moniker Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Artists continued to move from CSN to CSNY over the next two decades. In 1999, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released their final album as a quartet, Looking ahead.
For most of his career, Crosby released his own music sporadically. He released his debut, If I Could Only Remember My Namein 1971, but it was another 18 years before his next album, Oh Yes I Can. His third record, Thousand Roadsfollowed in 1993, but Crosby went another 19 years before sharing Cross in 2014. He went on, however, to release several more albums, including last year’s For Free.
In the mid-1980s, Crosby spent time in a Texas prison on drug and weapons charges. He reflected on the incarceration in a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone. “Prison is a very effective tool to get your attention,” he said. “When I came in, I was a junkie and a freebaser – as low on the drug totem pole as you could go. And I was psychotic. But what happens is, it’s no longer a matter of choice: You’re there and you can’t get any drugs. Eventually, you wake up from the dream you put yourself in and remember who you are. I don’t regret going to jail a little bit, man. Later I wrote to the judge saying, ‘ I understand how the system is failing, but I want you to know that this time, it’s working. Thank you.'”