folk rock




August 14, 1941


Los Angeles, California

Recording History:

  • Ethan & David: 1959-60
  • Les Baxter’s Balladeers: 1963
  • The Jet Set: 1964
  • Byrds: 1964-67, 1973, 1990
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash: 1968-69, 1977, 1982-83, 1990, 1994
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: 1970, 1988, 1999
  • solo: 1971, 1989, 1993
  • Crosby/Nash: 1972, 1975-76, 2004
  • CPR: 1997-2001

The Studio Albums:


(Organized by dates of recording, not release)

Live Albums:

(Organized by dates of recording, not release)

Key Tracks:

  • Eight Miles High *
  • Triad *
  • Wooden Ships **
  • Guinnevere **
  • Long Time Gone **
  • Déjà Vu ***
  • Almost Cut My Hair ***
  • Laughing
  • Carry Me ^
  • Shadow Captain **
  • Compass ***
  • Hero

* Byrds
** Crosby, Stills & Nash
*** Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
^ Crosby/Nash





“The singular odyssey of David Crosby remains one of the more remarkable tales in the annals of music history.” JA “Crosby is a two-time inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” BA “as a founding member of the pioneering American groups the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash.” JA “He helped create and popularize the highly influential folk-rock sound, forging the richly harmonic, radiantly acoustic approach which defined the West Coast music scene for years to follow; he also sold millions of records and enjoyed a cultural impact equaled by few of his contemporaries. Yet despite his often overwhelming success, Crosby is recognized far less for his artistic achievements than for his larger-than-life off-stage exploits, specifically a long and fantastically excessive battle with drug abuse which seemingly kept him teetering on the brink of death for over a decade; that he not only survived but remained as colorful and newsworthy a character as before is a testament to his continued creativity and unpredictability.” JA


“Crosby was born in Los Angeles on August 14, 1941; the son of Academy Award-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby” JA “(High Noon, Tabu, among others), the performer grew up in Santa Barbara.” BA “He dropped out of drama school to pursue a career in music” JA and “migrated south to Los Angeles during the folk music revival of the early ‘60s. During this period he also traveled extensively throughout the United States as a solo singer/songwriter, honing his craft alongside such luminaries as Fred Neil, Cass Elliot, Bob Dylan and many others, performing dates at college hootenannies and smoke-filled coffeehouses. After a brief stint (with his late brother, Chip) in Les Baxter’s Balladeers, Crosby returned to L.A. in 1963” BA and “under the auspices of producer Jim Dickson, Crosby cut his first solo session in late 1963.” JA

The Byrds:

“Early the following year he formed the Jet Set with Jim McGuinn and Gene Clark, and with the additions of bassist Chris Hillman and drummer Michael Clarke, the group was rechristened the Byrds,” JA “a ground-breaking band that virtually gave birth to the Folk/Rock genre, possibly the most important wave in pop music during the mid-‘60s.” BA “Although McGuinn chiefly pioneered the Byrds' trademark 12-string guitar sound, Crosby was the architect of their shimmering harmonies; his interests in jazz and Indian music also influenced their subsequent excursions into psychedelic.” JA

“Beginning with a effulgent interpretation of Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man – an international Top-ten it which combined the best elements of The Beatles and Dylan – continuing with classic material such as…a re-working of Pete Seeger’s Turn, Turn, Turn and…the progressive psychedelic classic Eight Miles High, (co-written by Crosby) the Byrds perfectly conveyed the mix of social irony, youthful optimism and free expression that characterized the still-dawning “youth counterculture.” BA

“Creative differences plagued the group throughout its career, and in 1967 Crosby — reportedly rankled by his bandmates' refusal to release his menage a trois opus Triad — left the Byrds in the wake of their appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival.” JA

Crosby, Stills & Nash:

“Immediately after this, on a trip to Florida, he purchased a sixty-foot wooden schooner, ‘The Mayan,’ that the sea-loving artist still sails today. On this trip he also met Joni Mitchell, and wasting neither time nor talent, Crosby went to work producing the debut album that introduced the world to this extraordinary genius singer and songwriter. In fact, Mitchell was just one in a long line of talented artists – including Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Jackson Browne, and Phil Collins – whose careers have been graced through the years by Crosby’s support, participation and encouragement.” BA

“After producing Joni Mitchell's 1968 debut LP, Crosby cut a handful of solo recordings and began jamming with ex-Buffalo Springfield singer/guitarist Stephen Stills.” BA “The pair knew they had struck musical gold when they invited singer-songwriter Graham Nash, from the British band the Hollies, to add his voice to theirs on two songs, Helplessly Hoping and You Don't Have to Cry. In Crosby’s words, ‘When we heard Nash put on that third harmony, I thought I was gonna die.... It was about the rightist thing I ever heard.’” BA

“With its exquisitely beautiful three-part harmonies, strong individual songwriting contributions, and graceful folk-rock sound, Crosby, Stills & Nash's 1969 debut LP proved a pop landmark, launching all three members to greater fame than they’d experienced in any of their previous projects.” JA “The group’s…collection of enduring original songs, including Crosby’s near-Elizabethan Guinevere, and the Aquarian anthem, Wooden Ships (co-authored by Crosby, Stills and the Airplane’s Paul Kantner) sent the album straight to number one on the charts.” BA

“The addition of Stills’ former Buffalo Springfield bandmate Neil Young expanded the group to a four-piece, and in August of 1969 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) made just their second live appearance to date at the Woodstock Festival; 1970’s Déjà Vu arrived in stores with advance orders numbering over two million, and through the thought-provoking social and political messages of songs like Woodstock and Ohio, they emerged as generational torchbearers of enormous musical and cultural influence.” JA

Solo, Crosby-Nash, Byrds:

“Following a sellout CSNY tour, the group went on hiatus, and Crosby resumed work on his long-delayed solo debut, releasing If I Could Only Remember My Name in 1971,” JA “a record that is still considered one of the greatest albums of the 1970’s. Although overflowing with sterling guest performances by Neil Young, Graham Nash as well as members of Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and Santana, the innovative album clearly illustrated how much Crosby had grown as a truly original and imaginative musician.” BA

In 1972, Crosby “and Nash issued the first of several duo efforts, and [in 1973, Crosby] also took part in a short-lived Byrds reunion.” JA

Back with Nash and sometimes Stills and Young:

“Despite continued creative differences, CSNY reformed for a 1974 tour; Crosby and Nash issued Wind on the Water a year later, and in 1977 Stills returned to the fold for the multi-platinum CSN. However, as Crosby's longstanding drug problem continued to worsen, he eventually fell out with both Stills and Nash, and a planned second solo album, Might as Well Have a Good Time, was rejected by Capitol in 1980. A series of arrests for cocaine possession and illegal weapons charges hampered him throughout the years to follow, even as he reunited with Stills and Nash in 1982 for the Top Ten hit Daylight Again. After completing the follow-up, 1983's Allies, the trio did not record together for another seven years.” JA

“In late 1985 Crosby was sentenced to prison after fleeing the drug rehabilitation clinic he'd entered in lieu of serving out a previous jail term; upon his release the following August, he'd finally conquered his demons, later chronicling the ugly details of his addiction in the fine autobiography Long Time Gone. In 1988 — a full 18 years after the release of Déjà Vu — Crosby reunited with Stills, Nash, and also Young for American Dream; his second solo effort, Oh Yes I Can, finally appeared the following year as well.” JA CSN's Live It Up followed in 1990.

His Life Saved & CPR:

“Crosby continued to suffer personal misfortunes — first he was severely injured in a motorcycle accident,” JA then he suffered “financial woes due to criminal mishandling of his business affairs,” BA “and then in 1994 he lost his L.A. home as a result of massive earthquake damage. Months later, he returned to the headlines when it was announced he was diagnosed with hepatitis C and dying of liver failure.” JA “In a series of events worthy of Charles Dickens, an organ donor miraculously became available and the musician’s life was saved by a successful transplant.” BA

“Almost simultaneously, 30 year-old professional composer and keyboardist James Raymond discovered through a birth record search that Crosby was his biological father; the two met, and not only got along, but formed a personal and musical connection that eventually led to their teaming with guitarist Jeff Pevar in the new band, christened CPR. Crosby told BAM magazine at the time, ‘The kind of telepathic interchange that takes place between these guys is the kind of thing that I have with Nash. It’s astounding.’ In this same short season of miracles, Crosby and his wife gave birth to a son, Django, and James and Stacia Raymond presented Crosby with a new granddaughter, Grace.” BA


“In early 1997, Crosby, Stills & Nash were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Hame; six years earlier, Crosby had first entered the Hall as a member of the Byrds. Young returned to the fold for 1999’s Looking Forward, with the resulting millennial tour — dubbed ‘CSNY2K’ — heralding the foursome's first joint road venture in a quarter century.” JA

Life in the New Millenium:

“Crosby was again the subject of tabloid headlines when in early 2000 it was revealed that he fathered the children of singer Melissa Etheridge and her life partner, Julie Cypher; that same year, he also published a second book, Stand and Be Counted, which assembled interviews with actors and musicians to explore the intersection of celebrity and social activism.” JA

“In addition, a lifetime of blissfully dedicated and committed work for the environment, free speech, human rights and other causes inspired the artist to write a book documenting the activism and social awareness of contemporary musical artists. Titled Stand and Be Counted, the book was being made into a series of television documentaries, with Crosby selecting the subjects from among his friends and doing many of the interviews.” BA

In 2006, Crosby released a career-spanning box set and a third book, an autobiography entitled Since Then. “With a new family, a successful new band and quite literally a new lease on life, David Crosby is a genuinely happy man whose passion and artistry continues to touch and inspire us all.” BA

Biography Source(s):

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Last updated August 6, 2011.