10 Essential David Crosby Songs

David Crosby Songs

Photo: SolarScott [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

We pondered how to approach the idea of writing a list of top 10 David Crosby songs. David Crosby was one of the founding members of the iconic band The Byrds. David Crosby was also a founding member of Crosby Stills and Nash, which also morphed into Crosby Stills Nash & Young on occasion. Over the years, David Crosby also recorded five albums with Graham Nash as Crosby & Nash. One cannot forget the great band CPR, of which David Crosby was also a founding member. Along with all those magnificent bands David Crosby has also released many brilliant solo albums. David Crosby’s musical career also included producing some of the most legendary rock artists of the classic rock era, including Joni Mitchell.

Usually, when we cover a solo artist who was in a famous band, we focus mainly on the solo material. However, David Crosby’s material is so impressive across the board we decided to do an essential David Crosby songs list that covers all aspects of his career. Of course, with a body of work so huge, we are going to leave out many, many essential songs. In the end, our Top 10 song lists are always designed to introduce an artist to those unfamiliar with so many rock and roll legends. We hope you enjoy this list of 10 Essential David Crosby songs.

This list is loosely in chronological order

# 10 – Eight Miles High

This incredible song by The Byrds was released in 1966 on the album Fifth Dimension. The song’s writing credits on this beautiful song were credited to Gene Clark, Jim McGuinn, and  David Crosby. The song opened up side two of the album. For many Byrds fans, “Eight Miles High” is their favorite. The bass line that opens the song is soon met by a surf guitar singing along with a dramatic 60s organ sound that all flowers into those mesmerizing vocals that sweep you away.

# 9 – Long Time Gone

This great moody song was released on the Crosby Stills and Nash album issued in 1969. It was the trio of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash’s first album together. It would start many years of collaborations between the three artists. The album served as a catalyst for a sound that would inspire countless artists in the early 1970s. “Long Time Gone” was written by David Crosby. It appeared as the next to last song on the album. This one is just so iconic. When you hear David Crosby’s opening vocal line of the song, it just gives you chills. Once those harmonies begin, it’s almost too beautiful to take. We need a group like this again. Musicians who can actually play their instruments and sing well without all that auto-tune nonsense.

# 8 – Guinevere

David Crosby’s song “Guinevere” also appeared on the Crosby Stills & Nash album released in 1969. The song appeared as the third track on the album. The song featured only David Crosby’s guitar work. Both David Crosby and Graham Nash sang the lead vocals. What may not have been understood at the time by Crosby but eventually became apparent was the ultimate form of musical respect given to David Crosby by Miles Davis. The legendary jazz musician recorded a version of “Guinevere” in 1970 and eventually released it on the Circle In The Round compilation in 1979.

The song was said to have been written about multiple women, including Joni Mitchell whom David Crosby had a former relationship with from both a personal and musical point.

# 7 – “Déjà Vu”

The excellent track “Déjà Vu” was released on the album of the same name in 1970. It was the first studio album to feature David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young together. David Crosby received solo songwriting credit on the song “Déjà Vu.” Every song on the album was credited to single songwriters except for the last track, credited to Stephen Stills and Neil Young. The album also contained the classic version of Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock.

# 6 – Almost Cut My Hair

For many Crosby Stills Nash & Young fans, David Crosby’s “Almost Cut My Hair” defined the band’s ode to the counterculture in the most personal way. Long hair symbolized everything the 1960s counterculture stood for. As the 1970s arrived and everyone was getting older, the personal battles between staying true to one’s beliefs again and moving on raged in many. David Crosby’s “Almost Cut My Hair” poetically defined that issue.

# 5 – Music Is Love

David Crosby’s “Music Is Love” was the opening song on his first solo album. The song was released as a single in 1971. The soulfulness of this song is to die for. It is a brilliant piece of music driven by a lovin guitar lick, finger snaps, and a beautiful angelic vocal. It may not be as well known as his collaborations with Graham Nash, Steven Stills, Neil Young, and The Byrds, but it’s as beautifully written, sung, and performed. This one cut right through you.

# 4 – Carry Me

David Crosby and Graham Nash released four albums together under the name Crosby & Nash. Their second album, entitled Wind on the Water, was released in 1976. David Crosby’s song “Carry Me” was the album’s opening cut. The song was also released as the record’s first single. These two worked so well together. Their harmonies leave you breathless. This may be my favorite David Crosby recording. If this list was not put together in chronological order, I would have put this at number one. When he sings about his mother, it brings me to tears every time.

# 3 – Drive My Car

David Crosby’s “Drive My Car” was released on his second solo album entitled Yes I Can. The album was released in 1989. It was eighteen years between his first two solo album. David Crosby was a pretty busy man in between solo albums. It’s interesting to hear that passionate David Crosby voice juxtaposed against that overblown 1980s drum sound. Still a great song.

# 2 – Morrison

David Crosby’s song “Morrison” was co-written with his son, pianist James Raymond. Along with guitarist Jeff Pevar, the three had formed the band CPR. The track “Morrison” was released on the band’s debut album CPR. The album was released in 1998. The harmonies, the playing, and the songs are all top-notch. This is excellent stuff that sadly went unnoticed by all but hardcore David Crosby fans. The song “Morrison” was written about Jim Morrison and The Doors and comments on Oliver Stone’s Doors movie.

# 1 – Things We Do For Love

We close out our 10 Essential David Crosby songs with an incredible heartfelt song released on his 2016 album entitled Lighthouse. A song written by a man who has lived life, a man who speaks for so many, an adult song that hurts and resonates with all of us. It’s sheer beauty defines how wonderful it has been to live in a world with the pen and voice of David Crosby by our side. Rest in peace, David.


Top 10 David Crosby Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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