David Crosby | Credit: David Bazemore (file)

To read Joe Woodard’s David Crosby remembrance, click here.

David Crosby, the iconically outspoken rock ‘n’ roll singer who infused bands like The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young with an unmistakable and soaring harmonic element while his relations with his bandmates were anything but harmonious, died at age 81.

Crosby has long been a resident of Santa Barbara County; he and his wife lived in the Santa Ynez Valley. Crosby cut his teeth in Santa Barbara, where he briefly attended Cate School and Santa Barbara City College, playing gigs as a teenager at the Noctambulist, then a bohemian coffee shop and music venue located next to the Lobero Theatre. From there he immersed himself in Los Angeles’ burgeoning folk-rock scene, teaming up to form The Byrds in 1964. Although the band realized astonishing success reimagining many of Bob Dylan’s hits with a 12-string twang and richly harmonic textures, Crosby could not get along with his bandmates, who asked him to leave in 1967. He went on to play a pivotal role with one of the first officially dubbed supergroups, Crosby, Stills, and Nash — and later Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

For years, Crosby lived a lifestyle in which he lit the candle brightly from both ends. As a Santa Barbara resident, Crosby generally maintained a lower profile than he did as a national media personality. He remained musically active and engaged pretty much his entire life despite vowing at times that he would no longer perform. Crosby was scheduled to appear at the Lobero Theatre this coming February. 

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