Celebrities Pay Tribute to Rock Icon David Crosby, Dead at 81

The two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honoree is remembered fondly by his peers.
By Madison E. Goldberg
Photo by Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tom Petty’s estate recounted the many fond memories Petty had collaborating with Crosby at his home studio.

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.

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan shared a photo from Crosby’s early days as a musician.

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.

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.

Author Neil Gaiman also recounted a conversation with Crosby, and how the two were planning to meet later this year.

Despite his occasionally tumultuous personal life, Crosby always aimed to unite people in peace through his music.

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.