David Crosby, legend of the fifth dimension – jenesaispop.com
In an interview broadcast in 1969, David Crosby, Joni Mitchell and the members of Jefferson Airplane (is Grace Slick the distant sister of Katy Perry?) discuss, sitting in a circle, the recently celebrated Woodstock festival, in which they have just played , and talk about politics or criticism. When host Dick Cavett asks them to say something they’ve always wanted to say on television, Crosby takes the opportunity to denounce that “the air we breathe is not clean” and urges the major automobile companies in the United States to go out of business.
In the past few days, nothing had changed that much for Crosby. The Californian musician had shared his support for the activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter. At the same time, he reveled in his admiration for the Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’. Crosby has passed away this Thursday, January 19, after a long illness, his wife, Jan Dance, has confirmed. She was 81 years old.
Cavett’s interview print is iconic because it captures a moment in time, the hippie wave of the 60s, of which Crosby was one of its great protagonists. In 1965 he founded the Byrds with Gene Clark and Roger McGuinn, which would become one of the most influential rock bands in history. Known for their crystalline harmonies and the thumping sound of McGuinn’s 12-string guitar, the Byrds laid the foundation for folk-rock by blending the Beatles’ pop melodies with traditional instruments and sounds. Later, on albums like ‘Fifth Dimension’, they added a psychedelic touch to their sound. And, in 1968, the Byrds released one of country-rock’s key albums, “Sweetheart of the Rodeo,” widely considered the best of their otherwise brief career.
Although Crosby wrote some of the Byrds’ most beloved songs, such as ‘Lady Friend’, ‘Everybody’s Been Burned’ or ‘Eight Miles High’ (not their biggest hits, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ and ‘Turn Turn Turn’, which were versions), the musician was fired from the group due to personal disagreements. In the Netflix documentary ‘Echo of the Canyon’, Crosby recalled that fame had gone to his head and that his colleagues fired him “for assholes”. Which did not stop him from continuing to make history.
In 1968, the son of Oscar winner Floyd Crosby formed the supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash with other musicians who had recently left their original bands, Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash of the Hollies. Together, in 1969 they released a first album that continued to influence the development of folk-rock and produced the hits ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ and ‘Marrakesh Express’. With the addition of Neil Young to the line-up, the now quartet sold 8 million copies of their album ‘Dèja vu’, leaving behind one of the most beloved albums of the 70s, despite the initial hesitation from critics, and the historic single ‘ Our House’, an “ode to the domestic bliss of the counterculture.”
While Crosby, Stills & Nash (with or without Young) continued to release records and perform, Crosby also developed his own solo career, releasing five studio albums decades apart. The first, ‘If I Could Only Remember My Name’, didn’t receive much praise upon its 1971 release, but the ‘freak folk’ revival of the 2000s put it in a better place. Crosby released records until very recently: ‘For Free’, his final album, was released in 2021.
It was that same year when Crosby announced that he had decided to sell his music catalog to an investment fund in order to protect his assets and the future of his family, in the context of a music industry greatly affected by the pandemic, especially the music sector. of the direct “I can’t work, streaming has taken away the money I get from recording, and I have a family to take care of and a mortgage to pay, so it’s my only option,” were her words then.