Folk-rock icon David Crosby dies aged 81

David Crosby
(Image credit: Press)

Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash co-founder, vocalist and guitarist David Crosby has passed away at the age of 81, his wife has confirmed.

His wife Jan Dance has released the following statement:

“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. 

"His legacy will continue to live on through his legendary music. Peace, love, and harmony to all who knew David and those he touched. We will miss him dearly. At this time, we respectfully and kindly ask for privacy as we grieve and try to deal with our profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers.”

An iconic figure in the US folk-rock scene of the '60s and '70s, Crosby formed the Byrds with bandmates Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke before joining with ex-Hollies member Graham Nash and Buffalo Springfield's Stephen Stills in the seminal Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1968. Key figures in music scene of LA's Laurel Canyon with songs that would propel the trio's harmonies and celebrated musicianship to the world's stages.

In 1969 the trio expanded to include Stills' former Buffalo Springfield bandmate Neil Young and the quartet performed their second gig at the Woodstock Festival that year. 

Crosby penned Guinnevere and Long Time Gone for the eponymous 1969 Crosby, Stills & Nash debut, co-writing Wooden Ships with Stephen Stills and Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kantner. When the trio recorded the album Déjà Vu with Young the following year, Crosby wrote the title track and Almost Cut My Hair. 

He would go on to record eight solo albums, most recently the acclaimed For Free in 2021. The last few years had seen a creative resurgence for Crosby with recording and tour, documented on the 2019 Cameron Crowe-produced documentary, Remember My Name.

“Most people… don’t want to think about the fact that dying is part of life,” Crosby told us that year. “I’m at the end of my life, so I have to look at it. At least to the degree where I say, ‘Well, I have a limited amount of time. How am I going to spend it?’ What you’ve got to do is figure out what really matters to you and do that - and only that - and do that to the best of your ability, as much as you can, in the time that you have.”

“I’d say look for real value in things,” Crosby added as advice to budding musicians. “There are things that look pretty good on the surface but they really have no substantive value. Look for the value in family. Look for the value in music. In real, actual music. Don’t look for value in fame, because there isn’t any. Don’t look for money, stardom, glory, all of that bullshit. Look for love in your family and love in your music.”

• David Crosby interview, 2019


MusicRadar is the number one website for music-makers of all kinds, be they guitarists, drummers, keyboard players, DJs or producers...

  • GEAR: We help musicians find the best gear with top-ranking gear round-ups and high-quality, authoritative reviews by a wide team of highly experienced experts.
  • TIPS: We also provide tuition, from bite-sized tips to advanced work-outs and guidance from recognised musicians and stars.
  • STARS: We talk to musicians and stars about their creative processes, and the nuts and bolts of their gear and technique. We give fans an insight into the craft of music-making that no other music website can.