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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

David Crosby Tributes of Note: Not A Long Time Gone ...

David Crosby
Artist Unknown?
 (Click photo to enlarge)


Last week, we lost David Crosby: 1941 - 2023.

We were staggered by the range of tributes to "Croz" here from so many great musicians, writers, fans and others remembering David Crosby’s massive influence on the music from the 1960's and onward. What becomes highly self evident is  that given all of "his issues", he loved the music and it was really an all encompassing force in his life, particularly towards the end.

"11 minutes later, as I was playing [Crosby's demo] song again, I got a text from his son James, that the great Croz was gone. This photo is what I was looking at when I heard the news." 

Here is an excerpt from a post by Steve Postell, a long time collaborator with David Crosby, who had just been speaking with Crosby about performing and recording an upcoming concert:


See full David Crosby tribute post by Steve Postell.

"Almost Cut My Hair"
 Stills, Crosby, Young & Nash - 1974


Here is an excerpt from Bob Lefsetz on the Lefsetz Letter on David Crosby passing:

David Crosby’s death was a long time coming.

He talked about his money problems. Sold his catalog to Irving. He was not a rich rock star living off his past in the hills, he needed to work, he wanted to work. You see that’s what artists do.

“Turn, turn any corner

Hear, you must hear what the people say”

Crosby was telling us to listen. To pay attention. To the people. The truth. Not the supposed leaders. That was the magic of Crosby, he was beholden to nobody, and he did not want you to be either, he was an inspiration.

“It’s been a long time comin'”

It most certainly has been. Marijuana may be legal, but not abortion. In so many ways we seem to be going backward. Sure, we have these shiny devices, conveniences, but people’s brains, what they think…

But David Crosby never gave up.

“But you know

The darkest hour

Is always, always just before the dawn”

Sure, it’s a cliché, but the dawn Crosby was talking about…we believed in the possibility of change. We had no idea that Ronald Reagan would legitimize greed and the boomers would sell out to the dollar.

And many acts sold out too.

But David Crosby maintained his internal tuning fork throughout his life. He never compromised, never did it the easy way, always kept pushing towards the goal. There are people who don’t like this, but Crosby was smart enough to know you don’t retreat because of institutional blowback, you stay the course, otherwise you can never get to the goal.

So that’s all she wrote. All he did. There will be no more story.

But there’s enough for two or three lifetimes.

David Crosby first and foremost embraced life.

He’ll be a long time gone.

See full Bob Lefsetz tribute on the Lefsetz Letter on David Crosby passing. (full reading is highly recommended)

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit + David Crosby


From  David Crosby, Remembered by Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires: ‘He Was Proud of the Person That He Had Become in His Old Age’ | Variety by Chris Willman:

Jason Isbell: It’s rare that anybody lives as many lives as David did. 

We knew so much about David because, on one hand, he was really honest and open, especially toward the end of his life. And on the other hand, he just lived a long time for somebody who made that many mistakes and had that many resurrections. He still had a really powerful voice, as far as his physical singing voice, but also his personality. 

David was always 100% in there, up until the very end.

We invited him to come be our guest, the first time that we headlined the Newport Folk Festival. And he didn’t know going into it that we were gonna be able to play the songs; because we were a bunch of young kids, he didn’t know who we were. 

He had heard, I think, my records, but he’d never seen us live and didn’t know what we could do. We started rehearsing and immediately we were really good friends, and he was confident after that, that we could pull it off. I think it wasn’t a matter of seeing that we had the technical ability to do it. I think he just wanted to know that we really did understand his music and weren’t just bullshitting him. 

And he could tell pretty instantly that we all had grown up with those songs. David was worried about “Wooden Ships.” He thought maybe we couldn’t pull it off, and then once we played it on acoustic guitars for him, he was like, “Oh, you guys are for real,” and we were all buddies until he passed.

Amanda Shires: He understood music theory more than I initially realized — with singing as much with guitars — and would be naming everything from a fifth to a 13th. 

He could do the theory and speak it, but it was so natural to him that you couldn’t tell that there was as much thought [about the mechanics of music] as there was.

Full interview at David Crosby, Remembered by Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires: ‘He Was Proud of the Person That He Had Become in His Old Age’ | Variety by Chris Willman.

Floyd Crosby w/ his son David @ home

From David Crosby Understood the Sharpness of Despair | New Yorker by Amanda Petrusich:

However cantankerous or stubborn Crosby was offstage, when performing, he was seized by a kind of silent joy. 

You could see it spreading across his face, loosening his features. Music softened him. In his later years, he wore a white mustache, long frizzy hair, and an omnipresent red beanie (knitted by his wife, Jan). He looked like someone who might sell you some garden compost. He looked salty. Performing was the one thing that seemed to reliably animate and excite him.

One of my favorite of Crosby’s vocal performances is a demo of “Everybody’s Been Burned,” a Byrds song from 1967. The tone is somewhere between Nick Drake in his Warwickshire bedroom and Frank Sinatra on a barstool, sloshing a gin Martini. It’s a generous, humane song, about how terrifying it is to go on after loss:

Everybody has been burned before
Everybody knows the pain
Anyone in this place
Can tell you to your face
Why you shouldn’t fall in love again

Crosby’s voice is steady and pure. He understands the sharpness of despair, but he also understands what it means to give in to those feelings. The work, instead, is to transcend the fear. In a way, this was always Crosby’s mission—to overpower darkness, to sing it away. 

“You die inside if you try to hide,” he cautions. “So I guess, instead / I’ll love you.” ♦

Lastly,  an incredibly moving story by Glen Close and memories of David Crosby and his "lost guitar". Definitely worth a few moments of your time.

 David & Jan Crosby 
More tributes to David Crosby:

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At 1/25/2023 07:16:00 PM, Blogger rolandthompsongunner said...

I've been pretty quiet lately, but that Glenn Close video, I found very touching. Thank you so much for posting that.

Rest in peace, Croz. You are missed.

At 1/26/2023 10:55:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

right RTG. the Glenn Close video is very touching.

we do sincerely encourage everyone to find a few minutes to watch her heartfelt tribute to Crosby.

might add this requires a tissue alert. tears will flow.

At 1/27/2023 07:55:00 AM, Blogger Ron said...

Thrasher I just wanted to say thank you for posting these tributes. The Glen Close one is indeed very touching and I also found Nils' performance of Black Sheep Boy very moving.

Despite David's age, the way he lived some of his life, and his health problems it was still a shock to wake up to the news of his passing a week ago. The extensive and varied tributes and memories from so many different people have been some consolation though. Here in the UK there were several articles on the Guardian newspaper web site, and many many touching comments from fans on their online section.

Four Way Street was a big musical influence on me, growing up as a young teenager and learning what I liked and didn't. I was already aware of Neil, but this was my first exposure to David, Stephen and Graham. As much as I enjoyed Neil's material, the electric jams, and the harmonies and group playing of all four, David's solo songs on it always stood out as well. I still enjoy listening to these live versions of The Lee Shore, Laughing, and Triad - his voice sounds great and he really seems on it. Later on I was introduced to the Byrds and David's involvement with them too. Coming right up to date I am very much enjoying listening to the Live at the Capitol album with the Lighthouse band.

RIP David Crosby and thanks for the music.

At 1/27/2023 10:19:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Ron - many thanks here for your comment on Crosby.

Also, thanks for highlighting the must watch Glen Close tribute to David Crosby.

We could have written much of what you say because Four Way Street was highly influential for us, as well. It was that album that prodded our younger self to go out and buy tickets for the 1974 CSNY stadium tour when it came to our little hometown. And what a life changing day that was, for sure.

See CotM @


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