David Van Cortlandt Crosby (August 14, 1941 – January 18, 2023) was an American singer, guitarist, and songwriter. In addition to his solo career, he was a founding member of both the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Crosby joined the Byrds in 1964. They had their first number-one hit in April 1965 with a cover of “Mr. Tambourine Man” by Bob Dylan. Crosby appeared on the Byrds’ first five albums and produced the original lineup’s 1973 reunion album. He subsequently formed Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1968 with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.
After the release of their debut album, CSN won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist of 1969. Neil Young joined the group for live appearances, their second concert being Woodstock, before recording their second album Déjà Vu. Meant to be a group that could collaborate freely, Crosby and Nash recorded three gold albums in the 1970s, while the core trio of CSN remained active from 1976 until 2016. CSNY reunions took place in each decade from the 1970s through the 2000s.
Songs Crosby wrote or co-wrote include “Lady Friend”, “Everybody’s Been Burned”, “Why”, and “Eight Miles High” with the Byrds and “Guinnevere”, “Wooden Ships”, “Shadow Captain”, and “In My Dreams” with Crosby, Stills & Nash. He wrote “Almost Cut My Hair” and the title track “Déjà Vu” for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s 1970 album of the same name. He is known for having employed alternative guitar tunings and jazz influences. He released six solo albums, five of which charted. Additionally, he formed a jazz-influenced trio with his son James Raymond and guitarist Jeff Pevar in CPR. Crosby’s work with the Byrds and CSNY has sold over 35 million albums.
Crosby was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: once for his work in the Byrds and again for his work with CSN. Five albums to which he contributed are included in Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”, three with the Byrds and two with CSN(Y). He was outspoken politically and was sometimes depicted as emblematic of the counterculture of the 1960s.
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