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David Crosby is a singer/songwriter who was a founding member of the 1960s Grammy-winning folk rock group Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
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Singer, songwriter, guitarist. Born David Van Cortlandt Crosby, on August 14, 1941, in Los Angeles, California. David and his brother Ethan were raised by their parents, Aliph Van Cortlandt and Floyd Crosby (an Academy Award-winning cinematographer), in Santa Barbara. While still in their teens, the two brothers started singing and playing guitar in beatnik coffeehouses and local clubs.
In the early 1960s, David Crosby chose to go out on his own. He spent the next few years drifting from city to city in search of work until he met fellow folk singer Roger McGuinn. The two experimented with different musical styles, developing an exclusive sound that blended folk music with electronic amplification.
In 1964, Crosby and McGuinn (guitar and vocals) started their first band, the Byrds, with fellow musicians Gene Clark (vocals, guitar, and tambourine), Chris Hillman (bass and vocals), and Michael Clarke (drums). In May 1965, the Byrds released their first single, a remake of "Mr. Tambourine Man" (originally released by Bob Dylan earlier that same year), which skyrocketed to the top of the charts and held a place as one of the Top 10 songs for 13 weeks. The band followed their initial success with two more hit singles, "All I Really Want to Do" and a modern version of Pete Seeger's "Turn! Turn! Turn!" As their popularity grew to a phenomenal level, the unique synthesis developed by the group was coined "folk rock" by those in the music industry.
The Byrds performed together for four years, continuing to reinvent themselves with a succession of widely popular albums, including Fifth Dimension (1966) and Younger than Yesterday (1967). Serving as the band's singer, rhythm guitar player, and songwriter, the headstrong Crosby often assumed creative control over the group. In 1968, he was ousted from the group. Crosby walked away with a significant cash settlement, and the freedom to pursue other opportunities.
Crosby spent a short time in Florida, where he befriended aspiring musician Joni Mitchell. As Crosby helped Mitchell record her first album, Mitchell returned the favor by introducing him to Neil Young and Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield (a band that was on the verge of breaking up). Stills contemplated going out on his own, but instead began a professional partnership with Crosby. The addition of former Hollies member Graham Nash turned the duo into the trio of Crosby, Stills and Nash. The release of their first, self-titled album in 1969 proved to be a success, earning the band a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
Shortly after their well-received debut, guitarist Neil Young joined the group.
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