David Crosby Tribute

It’s now a few hours since the awful, horrible news of David Crosby’s passing surfaced and, of course, the playlist here has been, and will be for the next few days, exclusively devoted to a simply awe-inspiring body of work.

It had never really struck me before, but I realised tonight that, for many, many years now, rare has been the day without some David Crosby music in it of one kind or another. For so long, it has been the natural thing to seek salvation and derive joy from his output.

He was absolutely one of the most important musical creators for well over six decades, starting with The Byrds and some of the definitive recordings of the 60s. As if that weren’t a significant enough contribution, he was also blessed with the most beautiful male voice I, for one, have ever heard.
The harmonies he created with Graham Nash and Stephen Stills are immortal and, to this day, of unprecedented beauty. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young produced some of the most significant musical statements of their time(s) together.

His first solo album If I Could Only Remember Name is, in many folks’ view, mine included, one of the greatest albums ever recorded. The end result of seemingly limitless studio time at Wally Heider, with all the great and good of the Laurel Canyon scene gathered to support Croz in the aftermath of the tragic death of the then love of his life Christine Gail Hinton. What emerged was an essentially cathartic and ultimately life affirming set of incredible music that has been a constant companion for me, and countless others, through good times and bad.

The excellent biopic “David Crosby Remember My Name” told the whole story of his difficult years and how he rose out of them so triumphantly, culminating in six albums since 2014 that are easily as important as anything he previously recorded. An incredibly prolific period so late in the game.

Of course this latest huge loss follows so quickly from the passing of Jeff Beck. A common thread between both these legends was their championing of young musicians. Croz recorded stellar studio albums, and a very recent live album, with the amazing Lighthouse Band, consisting of the beyond talented Becca Stevens, Michelle Willis and Michael League. And let’s not also forget the earlier, excellent CPR recordings with his son James Raymond and 2021’s remarkable For Free album, produced by James, who also collaborated on the Croz and Sky Trails albums.

But nurturing new talent was nothing new for Croz. After all it was David who introduced Joni Mitchell to the world, producing her stunning debut album Song To A Seagull. For a brief period they were lovers too.
What a further punch to the spirit this dreadful news is. What survives, however, is an essential body of work that will only grow in significance.

Thank you Croz.

”I think music is a lifting force, I think love is the lifting force in the human condition. I think you see someone loving their child, and it moves you, and you can’t help it. It rings a bell inside of us that elevates us as human beings, and I treasure that. I think it’s one of the few great things about human beings.” David Crosby.

Chris Wright | Now Spinning Magazine

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