Celebrating David Crosby’s legacy following death

Written By Steph Weiland, Staff Writer

David Crosby died on Wednesday, January 18th at the age of 81. It is estimated he died earlier, but his death was only first reported by Variety on Wednesday. Crosby had been born on August 14, 1941, in Los Angeles, California. He was the son of an Academy Award winner and well-known cinematographer, Floyd Crosby who was originally from West Philadelphia. David had a brief stint at Santa Barbara City College but soon left to further pursue music Crosby had been the founding member of the Byrds along with Gene Clark and Roger McQuinn back in 1964.

  In 1964 he joined the Jet Set, a band that was made up of McQuinn and Clark. They later modified the name to the Beefeaters and finally The Byrds. Crosby was known for his beautiful harmonizing and working with Neil Young later on in his career. Their first hits released were a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Tambourine Man” and a cover of Pete Seeger’s “Turn Turn Turn (To Everything There Is A Season)”; both songs had been released in 1965 and soon after became top Billboard Hot 100 hits, during December. 

These covers made The Byrds popular as did their original song “Eight Miles High,” which I think is definitely worth listening to. Crosby’s former bandmate from The Byrds, Gene Clark had left a year prior in 1966 since he had been struggling with the pressures of becoming famous. Chris Hillman had taken over for Clark after he left in ‘66. Crosby had been kicked out of The Byrds in 1967 after he had given the crowd at the Monterey Pop Festival some politically driven comments which made McQuinn and Hillman infuriated, wanting him gone from the band. 

In 1968, Crosby met Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash formerly of The Hollies. Crosby, Stills, and Nash (CSN) had formed back in 1968, playing at Woodstock in 1969 for their second official live performance. CSN released their first album on May 29, 1969, out of Atlantic Records, titled “Crosby, Stills & Nash”. CSN had landed two top forty hits with their single releases of “Marrakesh Express” listed at no. 28 and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” hitting the top forty at no. 21. 

Neil Young joined CSN back on July 24th of 1969. Just shortly before the band was set to perform at Woodstock in 1969. The band then was renamed Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) and played on stage in front of an enormous audience. Then, there was CSNY’s second album, Déjà Vu, which includes CSNY’s hit song “Teach Your Children”. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young later issued the single, “Long Time Gone” which had been written by David Crosby on the night of former Attorney General, Robert Francis Kennedy’s assassination. 

Crosby performed in Pittsburgh on numerous occasions. His first performance was in 1965 with The Byrds at the Civic Arena, during a bill shared with the Rolling Stones. He would perform in the city a multitude of times over the next 50 years. CSNY performed a series of reunion shows here in 2000, and 2002, and a 2006 show in protest of the Iraq War. His last performance in the city was in 2019 at the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall.