Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash Pay Tribute to David Crosby

Young writes, "The soul of CSNY, David's voice and energy were at the heart of our band."

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BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jan 20, 2023

Formative singer-songwriter and guitarist David Crosby, who co-founded Crosby, Stills & Nash (later Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) and the Byrds, passed away yesterday at age 81, and his bandmates in the former outfit have each paid tribute to their late friend.

"David is gone, but his music lives on," Neil Young wrote on his Archives website. "The soul of CSNY, David's voice and energy were at the heart of our band. His great songs stood for what he believed in and it was always fun and exciting when we got to play together. 'Almost Cut My Hair,' 'Dejavu,' and so many other great songs he wrote were wonderful to jam on and Stills and I had a blast as he kept us going on and on. His singing with Graham was so memorable, their duo spot a highlight of so many of our shows.

"We had so many great times, especially in the early years. Crosby was a very supportive friend in my early life, as we bit off big pieces of our experience together. David was the catalyst of many things. My heart goes out to Jan and Django, his wife and son. Lots of love to you. Thanks David for your spirit and songs, Love you man. I remember the best times!"

In a respective tribute on Instagram, Graham Nash wrote, "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 was fearless in life and in music. He leaves behind a tremendous void as far as sheer personality and talent in this world. He spoke his mind, his heart, and his passion through his beautiful music and leaves an incredible legacy. These are the things that matter most. My heart is truly with his wife, Jan, his son, Django, and all of the people he has touched in this world."

Stephen Stills shared on Facebook, "I read a quote in this morning's paper attributed to composer Gustav Mahler that stopped me for a moment: 'Death has, on placid cat's paws, entered the room.' I shoulda known something was up. David and I butted heads a lot over time, but they were mostly glancing blows, yet still left us numb skulls. 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."

Crosby, Stills & Nash (known colloquially as CSN) formed in 1968 following Crosby's firing from the Byrds, and the breakup of Stills' band with Buffalo Springfield. Nash would leave his band, the Hollies, by the end of that year, and the three would deliver their self-titled debut album in May 1969. Young — also a member of Buffalo Springfield with Stills — would join the band in time to record what would go on to be their best-selling album, 1970's Déja Vu. The album would receive an expanded anniversary reissue in 2021.

Following a first split in 1970, the band would later reform several times — sometimes with Young — to release eight studio LPs and four live albums, the last of which is 1999's Looking Forward. Both the group's CSN and CSNY configurations ceased performing live after 2015. Prior to his death, Crosby was open about his tumultuous relationships with Young and Nash.

CSNY stand as the first band to have every member inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. Apart from CSN's 1997 induction, Crosby was also inducted as a member of the Byrds, while Stills made it in with Buffalo Springfield, and Nash with the Hollies. Young, meanwhile, was inducted for his work as a solo artist, in addition to being a member of Buffalo Springfield.

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