They were the 4 West Coast Musketeers: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The guitars like swords, the vocal harmonies the foil work. Like all supergroups, they had a short life: a studio album, Déjà Vu of 1970 and 4 Way Street of the following year were enough to enter the legend (there is also, So Far, anthology published in 1974: American Dream joint 14 years after their debut album, Looking Forward 29 years later, and Déjà Vu Live released in the new millennium, are the product of another band albeit with the same musicians).
Stephen Stills came from Buffalo Springfield, and the same goes for Neil Young who would be added last to the already formed Crosby Stills & Nash, Graham Nash – English – came from the Hollies, while David Crosby had played in the Byrds: and that’s why supergroup.
Crosby is the first to fold; the cause has not yet been disclosed. But it doesn’t matter why, what matters is what he leaves: a great void but at the same time a great legacy made of unforgettable music.
Who is David?
David was the son of art: his father Floyd the director of photography who won the Oscar in 1931 for Taboo, but above all the winner of a Golden Globe for High Noon with Gary Cooper, one of the most important westerns in the history of cinema . I like to think that the most evocative image that remains of David, the one that sees him wearing the fringed jacket of a trapper, or a bison hunter of the old West, long hair and mustache even in old age, is due to the influence of the sets kicked by the father. After all, in addition to offering his music to Hollywood for some soundtracks, the singer-songwriter has frequented the world of cinema as an actor: for Killer Fire and for Hook – Captain Hook, on the set of which he made friends with Phil Collins, a bond that two years later, in 1993, he produced the single Hero written and recorded together.
But Crosby was also a blood man and an example of civil integrity, above all considering the watertightness, compared to reality, which the golden world of rock tends to have: in 1967, again with the Byrds, on stage at the Monterey Festival he did not hesitate to publicly express his doubts about the work of the commission that had investigated the death of President John F. Kennedy, provoking the wrath of Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman who did not want to mix music and politics, up to the point of total rupture.
However, the real, purest pearl generated by David Crosby is without a shadow of a doubt If I Could Only Remember My Name, a solo debut from 1971 that brings together the creme of the American, West Coast, music scene of that period. Always difficult if not impossible to decree “the best” of all, above all encroaching between eras, but if I can hardly refrain from saying that it is the best album born from the creativity of all CSN&Y members, in all configurations, I certainly feel to say that it is a single disc and the only disc to which the adjective “celestial”, in all the nuances that the word assumes, fits in the most credible way.
It is no coincidence that to have a sequel you will have to wait 18 years and Oh Yes I Can: as if to say that the effort and the product of the debut had been so enormous that there would have been no need for another album. If I Could Only Remember My Name was enough to have a place in the Olympus of music, and so it is. Whose opening piece, in the title and in the text – a mantra – briefly describes, aiming straight to the heart, like no one else has ever been able to do, the essence of music. Music is Love.
Born on August 14, 1941, David crosby passed away on January 18, 2023 in Santa Ynez, California, USA.
This article is originally published on sentireascoltare.com