Singer-songwriter David Crosby, an icon of 60s counterculture music, has died. He was 81.
“It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away. He was lovingly surrounded by his wife and soulmate Jan and son Django. Although he is no longer here with us, his humanity and kind soul will continue to guide and inspire us,” the family said in a statement.
Mr. Crosby was a key member of two of the most important folk-pop groups of the 60s, the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Both groups burned bright and short — breaking up after a few years and a string of hits and then sporadically reuniting, or, in the case of CSN, adding Neil Young, also off-and-on.
Crosby, Stills and Nash was founded in 1968 as one of pop music’s first supergroups — in addition to Mr. Crosby with the Byrds, Stephen Stills had been a member of the Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash with the Hollies.
CSN’s biggest hits in their 60s heyday included “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Marrakech,” “Teach Your Children” and “Ohio,” the last of which was a protest song about the fatal Kent State shootings at an anti-war protest.
Later reunion albums yielded the such hits as “Southern Cross” and the Top 10 smashes “Just a Song Before I Go” and “Wasted on the Way.”
Though Mr. Crosby wasn’t always the three-man group’s lead singer, he was an integral part of its signature tight vocal harmonies.
Such harmonic sounds were also a key part of the Byrds’ success on two No. 1 hits, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” adapted from the Old Testament book Ecclesiastes, and “Mr. Tambourine Man,” penned and first recorded by Bob Dylan.
Mr. Crosy grappled with addiction for decades after having been one of the faces of the sex-drugs-and-rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of California in the 1960s.
His alcohol and cocaine habits led him to require a liver transplant in 1994. He also served five months in prison in Texas in 1986 on drugs and weapons charges.
He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on two counts — as a member of the Byrds and of Crosby, Stills & Nash, who were inducted in, respectively, 1991 and 1997.