David Crosby passed away at 81 yesterday. He was reportedly surrounded by friends and family when he passed. Crosby was a California native who initially had aspirations of becoming an actor, but his decision to pursue music took precedence.
Crosby was famously part of bands Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the Byrds. His contributions to folk rock as a singer-songwriter and guitarist were celebrated in 1991 when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his first band, and again in 1997 with his second. His talents in capturing the American experience through his lyrics and layering ethereal harmonies with his bandmates are what garnered a vast fanbase and critical acclaim. Today, the Hall of Fame shared a tribute to him.
(1/2) In Memoriam: Two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee @thedavidcrosby was a pioneer of folk-rock and country-rock as a member of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash, and as a solo artist. Crosby, one of the greatest harmony vocalists of all time, wrote and co-wrote pic.twitter.com/LMcAlCRWD3
— Rock Hall (@rockhall) January 20, 2023
His contributions to the music industry continue to influence modern folk and rock artists. Crosby’s death is the latest loss in the music community, following the recent deaths of Jeff Beck and Lisa Marie Presley. Many of his friends shared heartfelt memories with him on social media.
His former bandmate Graham Nash shared a statement through his publicist, and praised Crosby’s unwavering honesty in his music.
Statement from Graham Nash: pic.twitter.com/FRmkwNcqCr
— Rob Tannenbaum (@tannenbaumr) January 19, 2023
Neil Young, Also of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, posted a brief tribute to his official website, crediting Crosby with helping him jumpstart his music career.
Neil Young shared a tribute to David Crosby: “David is gone, but his music lives on…David’s voice and energy were at the heart of our band. His great songs stood for what we believed in and it was always fun and exciting when we got to play together" https://t.co/q5sEzx9hT7
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 20, 2023
The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson shared a photo of them on Twitter. Both are considered some of the most influential rock acts of the 1960s to come out of the California scene.
I don’t know what to say other than I’m heartbroken to hear about David Crosby. 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. Love, Brian pic.twitter.com/Hjht7LeGiv
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) January 19, 2023
Melissa Etheridge shared a deeply personal tribute to Crosby on Twitter. The pair were music collaborators and close friends, and Crosby even fathered Etheridge’s children via sperm donation.
I am grieving the loss of my friend and Bailey’s biological father, David. 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. pic.twitter.com/1e0vbvd2SN
— Melissa Etheridge (@metheridge) January 19, 2023
Fellow acclaimed folk rock artist James Taylor shared side by side images of them alongside musician Bonnie Rait, when they were younger and more recently. Taylor and Crosby frequently complimented each other’s songwriting throughout their long careers.
"Missing you already, Croz. Love to Jan…" ~ James
— James Taylor (@JamesTaylor_com) January 20, 2023
Tom Petty’s estate recounted the many fond memories Petty had collaborating with Crosby at his home studio.
Tom counted David Crosby as a friend and a hero. He visited often at his house in the valley. He was funny, provocative and electric with talent. His contribution to music will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and love to his family, bandmates and fans. pic.twitter.com/JsUOj2xT5R
— Tom Petty (@tompetty) January 19, 2023
Singer and guitarist Nils Lofgren played the song “Black Sheep Boy” by folk rock contemporary Tim Hardin in his honor. Lofgren collaborated with Crosby’s bandmate Neil Young in another group called Crazy Horse.
— Nils Lofgren (@nilslofgren) January 20, 2023
Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan shared a photo from Crosby’s early days as a musician.
RIP David Crosby pic.twitter.com/pvdGhMdOh7
— William Patrick Corgan (@Billy) January 19, 2023
Folk rock artist Ellis Paul, who was influential in the genre’s 90s revival in New England, tweeted in honor of Crosby, who he viewed as an inspiration.
RIP David Crosby. This hurts. Not only because of his impact musically, which was vast, but his ability to keep us watching, laughing, smiling. He was the living embodiment of the 1960s. He was a jester, a trouble maker, a sage. A toker, a joker, a fire poker. pic.twitter.com/LoPYRNydFZ
— Ellis Paul (@ellispaulsongs) January 20, 2023
Writers and journalists who met Crosby also shared positive stories about the musician, who was praised for his humorous honesty. NY Times pop music critic Lindsay Zoladz shared a funny anecdote about Crosby from a former interview.
A few years ago I interviewed Crosby over the phone. He called promptly ("Lindsay? David Crosby") but said with real gravitas, "Here's the situation: I really want to talk to you, but I'm at a hotel and my breakfast just arrived." I respected this immensely. RIP, honest king.
— Lindsay Zoladz (@lindsayzoladz) January 19, 2023
Author Neil Gaiman also recounted a conversation with Crosby, and how the two were planning to meet later this year.
In the early days of Twitter @thedavidcrosby reached out to me to tell me he loved my books, and we decided that when he was in Woodstock he'd come over and we'd talk science fiction. He was never in Woodstock and now he never will be. RIP David you musical genius.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 20, 2023
Despite his occasionally tumultuous personal life, Crosby always aimed to unite people in peace through his music.
“However much time I got isn’t really the significant thing — it’s what I do with that time, right? And it looks to me that the only contribution I can make, the place where I can help, is to make more music.”
RIP David Crosby pic.twitter.com/7IEPeK3xPT
— Cambridge Audio (@CambridgeAudio) January 20, 2023
Crosby is survived by his wife Jan Dance and four children, James Raymond, Django, Donovan, and Erica Keller Crosby, as well as Melissa Etheridge’s daughter, Bailey Jean Cypher, for whom he was a sperm donor.