by Robert Wilkinson
Today is David Crosby’s 72nd birthday!
There are few people who have not heard David Crosby’s work, whether with the Byrds, with Crosby, Stills, Nash, (and occasionally) Young, or CPR, his band with his son James Raymond. David Crosby (August 14, 1941) was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice for his work with the Byrds and CSN&Y. According to wiki, David was mainly responsible for the soaring harmonies and often unusual phrasing on the Byrds’ songs. Here I’ll note that when Roger McGuinn disinvited our birthday boy from further participation in the Byrds, the world was blessed with the birth of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young!
I had the pleasure of seeing CSN in Albuquerque in August 2012, and they were awesome! Though they are now old men compared to how young they were at Woodstock, they still put on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen, and the thousands there with us roared over and over and over. The 60s may have left the building a long time ago, but the flame still burns in the hearts of millions, if that night was any indication.
All three have been playing professionally for over 50 years. They’ve been a team for the last 44, and though Stills and Crosby have had their share of medical problems, they still rock!
We start with some great live footage of the Byrds and their unique harmonies courtesy of our birthday boy! He seems to be the one that pulls it all together when he comes into the harmonies.
Here’s an obviously live 11 minute video performance by the original 5 Byrds in 1965. This is classic footage! The Byrds Live – “Turn Turn Turn,” “The Bells of Rhymney,” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
From Oct 1965, David and the original Byrds in a great live performance on Hullabaloo with THOSE harmonies of the iconic Bob Dylan tune “The Times They Are A-Changin’”
From the same era, here are the Byrds in some great live harmonies performing the Bob Dylan classic, “Chimes of Freedom”
Live on Hullabaloo in 1965, the Byrds performing “Feel A Whole Lot Better”
The Byrds live in 1967 lip synching the very psychedelic “Eight Miles High”
The Byrds audio-only live at Monterrey performing “Have You Seen Her Face”
From Shivaree, the Byrds’ first tv appearance lip synching their first gi-normous mega hit, “Mr. Tambourine Man”
Here’s the original Byrds’ studio version of the great Pete Seeger tune, taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes, ”Turn, Turn, Turn”
At the 1990 Showtime special tribute to Roy the Boy, here is a rare clip! It’s David, Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, and Bob Dylan doing a spectacular live performance of Bob’s “Mr. Tambourine Man”
Back to the legendary performance that launched CSN&Y! Here’s the entire audio only set they played at Woodstock in 1969!!
“Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young at Woodstock pt 1 (“Blackbird,” “Helplessly Hoping,” “Mr. Soul,” and “Long Time Gone” – 24 min.)
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young at Woodstock pt 2 (“Suite Judy Blue Eyes,” “Guinnevere,” “Marrakesh Express.” “4 + 20,” and “Find the Cost of Freedom” – 23 min)
From the Forum in LA and the Fillmore East over 3 concerts in the Summer of 1970, a great 2 hour live show from back in the day! “Another Four Way Street”
Here’s David in a live solo acoustic video done in Milan in 1992 in 6 minutes of “Almost Cut My Hair”
Now to CSN and occasionally Y. This first batch of tunes were all written by David Crosby during his CS&N tenure, so enjoy these great live performances!
From the first Crosby, Stills, and Nash album, “Guinevere”
From 2011 in Long Beach, David and Graham Nash in a live performance of “Long Time Gone”
From Vancouver Island in 2011, David with James Raymond, Steve Postell, Vonda Shepard, Leland Sklar & Steve Holley performing "Long Time Gone."
From 1974, the legendary tune he wrote with Stills and the great Paul Kantner, “Wooden Ships”
A live acoustic performance in 1991 gives us a great version of “Déjà Vu”
Here’s a performance bootlegged from Rome 2010 with a very electric almost jazzed out version of “Déjà Vu.” This is similar to the arrangement they did last night.
In this clip, they look almost exactly as they did last night. From Madison Square Gardens in 2009, “Almost Cut My Hair”
Here are more fantastic CS&N live performances. While these tunes weren’t written by David, they’re still Crosby, Stills, and Nash at their best!
The song that blew the doors down and let the world know a new style of music had arrived! “Suite Judy Blue Eyes”
From very early in their career, a live acoustic performance of one of their most loved tunes, the immortal “Teach Your Children”
From Graham's mid-60s trip to Morocco where he states he went in search of the big one and found (and smoked) it! “Marrakesh Express”
Another early clip of some incredible harmonies! “Helplessly Hoping”
From the 2009 Madison Square Garden concert, the iconic Joni Mitchell song from their second album, “Woodstock”
From 1974, with Neil Young, “Our House”
The amazing Stephen Stills' tune, "Find The Cost of Freedom"
They did this when I saw them, and it's just as powerful as it was years ago! Written by Graham Nash in response to an Amerikan gross miscarriage of justice, the rallying cry of "Chicago."
The very beautiful "Wasted On The Way"
Here’s the original studio version of Graham Nash and David Crosby performing “Immigration Man”
For your enjoyment, 30 minutes of television featuring “Graham Nash and David Crosby in concert”
I’ll digress a little with this these next two gems. First, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young live at the Fillmore East in the Summer of 1970 doing a fabulous acoustic version of Neil’s Buffalo Springfield classic “On The Way Home.”
Then from Toronto in 2000, we have the 4 together doing an extremely electric version of “Ohio”
(If you don’t know the importance of this song, please reference A Day of Infamy 43 Years Ago Today)
We’ll close this celebration of joyous music with a long set from “Unplugged” in 1990. I saw them in Austin on this tour, and they really were fantastic! For your enjoyment, the joyous harmonies of one of the best groups ever to sing a note. And if you find yourselves smiling or tapping your foot, you’re in the company of millions!!
From Wembley 1974, David’s signature tune from back in the day! It’s CSN&Y in a live performance of “Almost Cut My Hair”
And since they sound so great, for our encore, here’s the entire THREE HOUR CONCERT featuring Crosby, Stills, Nash, and yes, Neil Young at Wembley! They’re all very live and very rocking! Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young Live at Wembley Stadium Sept 1974
Spreading a huge vibe of peace and love 44 years after the end of the 60s is a great way to live, and an awesome legacy to leave the world. As your occasional bandmate is known to sing, “Long May You Run.” You are loved by millions!
Copyright © 2013 Robert Wilkinson