Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician David Crosby has died at the age of 81. The musician was a founding member of The Byrds, but is best known for his work as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash, with the group occasionally expanding to include Neil Young as well.
“It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away,” reads a statement issued. “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 was born on Aug. 14, 1941 in Los Angeles and came to fame as a singer, guitarist and songwriter. He briefly studied drama at Santa Barbara City College before dropping out to pursue a career in music. After an introduction to Roger McGuinn, the pair teamed up with Gene Clark in a band called The Jet Set. The group, eventually becoming The Byrds, would make some lineup changes and additions before recording a version of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” which became their first big hit. Though achieving success, tensions between Crosby and the band’s other members led him to exit the group in 1967, but he would eventually return in 1972, and again for reunions in the late ’80s and in 2000. During his time with The Byrds, Crosby appeared on the hit songs “Turn!, Turn!, Turn!” and “Eight Miles High” as well.
Upon his exit from the band, he eventually met Stephen Stills and the pair started jamming together, soon joined by Graham Nash who would leave The Hollies to join the newly formed trio of Crosby, Stills and Nash. The three-piece became a four-piece in 1969 with the addition of Neil Young, but Young’s participation with the trio waned over the years, with the group often recording under the Crosby, Stills & Nash moniker.
While under the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young moniker, the group scored hits with “Woodstock,” “Teach Your Children,” “Ohio” and “Our House.” Minus Young, top tracks included “Marrakesh Express,” “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Just a Song Before I Go,” “Wasted on the Way” and “Southern Cross.”
Crosby’s music career also included eight solo albums as well as time spent over four records with the jazz-rock outfit CPR in the ’90s and 2000s.
Crosby married his wife, Jan Dance, in 1987. The musician had two daughters and two sons, with one of the sons, James Raymond, joining him in the band CPR. He also was revealed to be the sperm donor for Melissa Etheridge’s son with partner Julie Cypher.
See a sampling of tributes and commentary from fellow musicians concerning Crosby’s passing here and revisit some of the biggest songs that included Crosby below.
The Byrds, “Mr. Tambourine Man”
The Byrds, “Turn!, Turn!, Turn”
Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Marrakesh Express”
Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Teach Your Children”
Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”
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