David Crosby, a founding member of two wildly influential bands — The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash (later Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) — has died at the age of 81, Variety reported. A cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Stephen Stills, Graham Nash pay tribute to David Crosby
Crosby’s death comes four years after the release of the documentary “David Crosby: Remember My Name,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In the film, the frayed relationship between Crosby and his former bandmates was evident — aside from archival footage, Stills was absent from the documentary, and Crosby and Nash hadn’t spoken in more than two years. But seeing some of that footage at the world premiere reminded Crosby things weren’t always that way.
“I’d like to still be their friends … (but) I don’t really have a lot of hope for it,” he said during an audience Q&A following the screening on Jan. 26, 2019, per the Deseret News. “We were pretty horrible to each other. It wasn’t just me — we all did bad stuff. But I’d like it. … I love all three of those guys, and I would make music with them in a minute if I could.”
Following the news of Crosby’s death, Stills and Nash were among the many musicians to pay tribute to the singer-songwriter on social media.
“It is with a deep and profound sadness that I learned that my friend David Crosby has passed,” Graham Nash wrote, per Variety. “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.”
“David and I butted heads a lot over time, but they were mostly glancing blows, yet still left us numb skulls,” Stills said in his own statement. “I was happy to be at peace with him. He was without question a giant of a musician, and his harmonic sensibilities were nothing short of genius. The glue that held us together as our vocals soared, like Icarus, towards the sun. I am deeply saddened at his passing and shall miss him beyond measure.”
Remembering David Crosby’s appearance at the Sundance Film Festival
Crosby was 78 when the documentary about his life premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
“I had to look at stuff that I’ve done and it was real hard,” Crosby told reporters just minutes before the premiere. “I think you get to see the whole guy, warts and all. I’m a highly imperfect being and I’m OK with that, but I don’t know if the audience is going to be OK with that, but we’ll see.”
Based on crowd reactions following that premiere, audience members were moved by the honesty — one person in attendance even expressed hope that Crosby would eventually be able to reconcile with his former bandmates and friends.
Crosby saw a musical resurgence in recent years — what “David Crosby: Remember My Name” referred to as a “curious renaissance.” In his 70s, Crosby released four albums in five years.
“It’s the only thing I’ve got to offer,” he said in the documentary.
At Sundance, Crosby — who was in attendance with his wife, Jan, and one of his daughters — was open with his audience, addressing his imperfections but also sharing his personal triumphs.
“I’m really glad that I’m here and I am the way I am now,” he said. “I’m trying really hard to be a decent human being, and it’s not easy and I do need more time to get to there. … I just wish I could’ve done it when I was 40 — that would’ve been smarter!”