Legendary singer-songwriter David Crosby dies aged 81

US singer and guitarist David Crosby, one of the most influential rock figures of the sixties and seventies, has passed away at the age of 81.

David Crosby

As a founding member of two significant rock bands, the impact he had was considerable. Crosby was inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – once each as part of his time with The Byrds, and with Crosby, Stills And Nash. 

In a statement given to Variety, Crosby’s wife Jan said: “It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away. 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.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

L-R Neil Young, David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

“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.”

Born in L.A. in 1941, Crosby dropped out of college to pursue a career as a musician. His early musical endeavours with Terry Callier didn’t lead to a record deal (even if Callier would later go on to have his own successful artistic career), but did lead to him spending time in New York, where he met his future The Byrds bandmates: Gene Clark, Michael Clarke, Roger McGinn and Chris Hillman.

The Byrds would prove especially influential as one of the pioneers of folk rock and psychedelic rock, and had success with their cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Mr Tambourine Man’, ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’ and ‘Eight Miles High’, among others – the latter of which Crosby co-wrote.

After leaving The Byrds in 1967, Crosby went on to form folk-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills And Nash alongside Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.

After the success of their eponymous debut in 1969, which went multi-platinum, the group would subsequently enlist the services of Neil Young after needing a keyboardist. 

Nash has paid tribute to his former bandmate on social media, writing: “It is with a deep and profound sadness that I learned that my friend David Crosby has passed.”

“I know people tend to focus on how volatile our relationship has been at times, but what has always mattered to David and me more than anything was the pure joy of the music we created together, the sound we discovered with one another, and the deep friendship we shared over all these many long years.”

Crosby, who remained fairly active on his own Twitter, wrote in his final tweet about heaven the day before he died, “I heard the place is overrated….cloudy.”

Other tributes have been coming in from notable figures in response to Crosby’s passing. Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson, for instance, has written: “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”

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