Few figures from the music world personified the drug-fuelled excesses of the Sixties more than David Crosby, who has died at the age of 81.
In his first band The Byrds he wrote the iconic song Eight Miles High (among many others). He seemed intent on getting higher for most of a 60-year career – at least when he wasn’t waving guns around, ranting about politics or falling out with bandmates
A staunch advocate of hard (and soft) drugs and the right to bear arms, he regularly landed himself in hot water, rehab and jail.
When he and The Byrds became incompatible he formed the folk-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash (and, in time, Young)… until he fell out with them too.
It’s a miracle Crosby survived as long as he did, considering his lifestyle and the fact he had a liver transplant as far back as 1994.
“I have no idea how I’m alive and Jimi [Hendrix] isn’t and Janis [Joplin] isn’t and all my other friends,” he agreed in a Rolling Stone interview. “I have no idea why me, but I got lucky.”
A decade after that he managed to get himself arrested in a New York hotel room with a handgun and a stash of marijuana. Another decade later, after a 20-year hiatus, he embarked on a run of five acclaimed solo albums in his dotage.
With his tubby physique, flyaway white hair and walrus moustache, Crosby was an instantly recognisable figure – and the ultimate rock’n’roll survivor.
“I’m fuckin’ lucky,” he said as recently as 2021. “I don’t know if I have two weeks left of life or 10 years, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is what you do with the time.
“If you sit there on your butt and worry about dying, then you fucking wasted it. I haven’t been wasting it. I’m having a really good time, and feeling wonderfully about it. Sooner or later, something is going to break. Right now, my life is pretty great.”
What a legend!