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David Crosby

January 20, 2023

If feels like it’s happening more and more… icons of my own generation dying. Yesterday, David Crosby passed away at the age of 81, after a long illness, and truly, after all the abuse he inflicted on himself, it’s amazing he lived as long as he did. But the sad point is, the people who influenced and shaped us are dropping off in not insignificant numbers and I’m feeling very bummed about it. It’s a knife to the heart every time and I feel a bit unprepared (emotionally) for the losses. I understand the march of time and the stages of life and understand we’re all going there. Still, a guy who wrote and sang the songs that I listened to during too many key moments in life to ever imagine, is gone.. and that’s a bit of a jolt.

Yesterday afternoon, I’d had my phone in my hand and laid it on the table to do something else, and, somehow, the bump on the table triggered my music app — don’t even know which one — and suddenly a Coldplay song I love spontaneously started to play (Viva la Vida). It was such a random, unexpected surprise that I cranked it up (put earbuds in, since Jim was taking a nap) and started dancing all over the kitchen. I mean really dancing — bouncing up and down, spinning, flinging my arms all over the place. It was so joyful (ok, silly) and fun, I replayed the song two more times and danced until I was just totally out of breath. And that put me in mind of the times I had done that in junior high, and high school, and forever, though it’d been a while. And, sitting there all pooped, I started to think of the songs that used to get me out of my chair, and get me to dancing — in my room, or if nobody was around, in the living room, and remembered Give me Shelter, Jessica, Have You Ever Seen the Rain, This Old Heart of Mine, Suite Judy Blue Eyes… I have such memories funny/great of this.

Dancing in my kitchen yesterday made me laugh (inside)… must have been a sight. The memory of all of that, and the (startling) distance of that past, also made me sorta cry. Just a little. Reminded of Joni’s lyric, “laughing and crying is the same release.” Got profoundly nostalgic. It’s cause for a deep, steadying breath.. not the exhaustion of the dancing part, but the realization that those moments are way, way back there. It was such a long time ago. And how funny those songs are so deep inside.

And this was all before hearing of David Crosby’s death, news of which came just a couple hours later. Another cause for a deep, steadying breath.

This morning I went down a Youtube rabbit hole of CSNY songs and got all weak in the heart. Again… it was all so long ago. The music so incredibly defining, so incredibly deep inside, and so immediately reminiscent of the times. Those songs of the late 60s and early 70s, particularly — junior high and high school — were, of course, our sound track.

No doubt in my mind, no shred of doubt: our generation grew up with the best music ever. I’ve loved a ton of music outside that era too, but I feel like my generation was touched by some kind of miracle of musical grace to be coming of age in the 60s and 70s. Deeply grateful for that carnival of crazy characters, geniuses among them, who wrote the music that defined our times.

RIP David Crosby. Thank you for your music.

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The painting of Crosby is by Joan Baez. He used it as cover art on his last album. So fitting. She’s a great talent.