Neil Young Mourns ‘The Sound of CSNY’ David Crosby In Heartfelt Tribute: ‘His Music Lives On’

After David Crosby's death at the age of 81, tributes began pouring in -- including from estranged bandmate and collaborator Neil Young.

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Image Credit: Amy Sancetta/AP/Shutterstock

Neil Young is in mourning after the death his longtime past collaborator David Crosby, with whom he remained estranged until his death. The fellow music legend, 77, shared a statement after David’s passing on Jan. 19, 2023. “David is gone, but his music lives on,” Neil wrote on his website, the Neil Young Archives, the following day. “The soul of CSNY, David’s voice and energy were at the heart of our band. His great songs stood for what we believed in, and it was always fun and exciting when we got to play together.

“‘Almost Cut My Hair,’ “Dejavu,’ and so many other great songs he wrote were wonderful to jam on, and Still and I had a blast as he kept us going on and on. His singing with Graham was so memorable, their duo spot a highlight of so many of our shows,” wrote Young. “We had so many great times, especially in the early years. Crosby was a very supportive friend in my early life, as we bit off big pieces of our experience together. David was the catalyst of many things.

“My heart goes out to Jan and Django, his wife and son,” added Young. “Lots of love to you. Thanks David, for your spirit and songs. Love you, man. I remember the best times!”

David, who was best known for founding bands Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash (which was also Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, with Neil), in addition to his solo career, died after a “long illness” his wife Jan Dance confirmed in a statement. “It is with great sadness after a long illness, that our beloved David (Croz) Crosby has passed away,” Jan said in a statement to Variety. “He was lovingly surrounded by his wife and soulmate Jan and son Django. Although he is no longer here with us, his humanity and kind soul will continue to guide and inspire us,” she also said to the outlet about the father of six.

Neil Young is seen with the late David Crosby, as well as Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. (Amy Sancetta/AP/Shutterstock)

Neil and David’s history has been a complicated one since the Canadian-born singer began performing live with Crosby, Stills & Nash. In more recent years, David made it clear that the group as a foursome were not reuniting due to Neil’s reluctance. “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young has always been up to Neil,” David said to the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2018. “Neil is the big chicken there and he makes the decisions. If he decides to do it again, we will. I don’t think he’s going to; I don’t think he needs. But, usually, he calls when he needs us. And I’d do it, happily, if he did. I can only speak for me,” he said.

For his part, however, Neil has seemingly made it clear he would have been open to performing with David and the group again. “I think CSNY has every chance of getting together again. I’m not against it,” he said in 2017. “There’s been a lot of bad things happen[ing] among us, and a lot of things have to be settled. But that’s what brothers and families are all about. We’ll see what happens. I’m open. I don’t think I’m a major obstacle.”

In 2020, he doubled down on the statement — but did say it would be a “surprise” if the reunion ever occurred. “Crosby should write an introspective book: ‘Why People Won’t Talk to Me Anymore.’ He made a lot of great music for a long time,” he said in 2020 to AARP magazine. “I don’t know what happened with David. I got nothing to say. I love Stephen. I love Graham. If a reunion happens, it would be a surprise. I won’t close the door on anything. I can hold a grudge with the best of them, but only if there’s a reason for it.”