David Crosby, R.I.P.
The Woodstock generation slowly comes to rest.
I suppose it is fitting that I first heard that David Crosby died on good old FM radio—a long outmoded medium that is still kicking around and dominating large segments of popular culture. (Billboard still uses airplay as a major component of its Hot 100 chart calculation, and started using streaming data only in 2013.)
Born at Los Angeles in 1941 to parents of aristocratic extraction—his father was a Van Rensselaer descendent and his mother was a Van Cortlandt—he flunked out of schools and bummed around New York until he fell into music-scene success with the Byrds and then the various iterations of Crosby Stills and Nash. His songwriting catalog is the soundtrack of the 60s.
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His non-musical pursuits included the use and sale of cannabis, collecting firearms, and—a WASP upbringing is hard to kick—sailing. He leaves four known children by as many women and was the sperm donor for a fifth. He was a lifelong booster of the Democratic party and professed admiration for Peter Buttigieg, now the Secretary of Transportation.
Jann Wenner, the former editor of Rolling Stone whose recent memoir will be a monument for all time of the counterculture’s collapse into Clintonite politics and the rock and roll generation’s godlike self-absorption, describes only two of Crosby’s performances in that work. One was at a fundraiser for Al Gore’s presidential campaign; the other was at a self-congratulatory event for an institution devoted to self-congratulation, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th anniversary.
On the other hand, “Almost Cut My Hair” is a 100% certified prime banger. Requiescat in pace.