David Crosby, the legendary singer/songwriter and founding member of both The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, was a hero of the anti-war and counterculture movements in the 60s and 70s. With Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman and other members, the Byrds pioneered folk rock in the mid-60s with hits like “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “Eight Miles High”. He also produced Joni Mitchell’s first folk album and had a romantic relationship with her before she went on to become a superstar in her own right.
After leaving The Byrds, Crosby met Stephen Stills and Neil Young, formerly of Buffalo Springfield, and Graham Nash, formerly of the British rock group The Hollies, and formed the mega-groups Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, considered by some to be America’s answer to The Beatles.
According to Crosby, the late 70s and early 80s were lost as he and some of his fellow music icons bought expensive homes and cars and descended into long binges of drugs and sex. He claims to have lost $25 million during this period which only came to an end after he was arrested in Texas in 1984 for free-basing cocaine in a club bathroom while carrying a concealed .45 caliber handgun. He was convicted and sent to jail. He filed bankruptcy in 1985 claiming to be broke and owing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
He emerged from prison and bankruptcy sober and ready to go back to work and was able to restore his sanity, career and financial stability over the next several decades, during which he produced a number of solo albums and toured with CS&N and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge and her long-term partner Julie Cypher had two children with Crosby via artificial insemination. Actress Drew Barrymore, who was emancipated from her parents in her teens lived with Crosby and his wife after leaving a drug rehab facility. Crosby died January 18, 2023 at 81 survived by his wife and four other children. He sold over 35 million albums during his career, won a Grammy, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – once as a member of The Byrds, and once for CS&N.