Crosby & Beck; Birds (Byrds) of a Feather Rock Together
As information developed yesterday surrounding the passing of legendary singer-songwriter David Crosby, the world stood still in remembering his life's work as a musician and outspoken activist. The news came only nine days after learning about the loss of master rock/rhythm and blues guitarist Jeff Beck. Two incredible musicians from the same era who inadvertently crossed paths in their early careers, and here's how. Before their solo careers and prior to forming The Jeff Beck Group or CSN & CSNY, Crosby and Beck gained fame in the 1960s as members of two separate and very distinct groups whose band names bared similarities. In 1964, David Crosby became the singer-songwriter and rhythm guitarist for the American folk-band The Byrds. Not long after, in 1965, Jeff Beck joined the British rock band The Yardbirds. Their style and sound had many differences, but their goal was the same; to create meaningful and unique music for the masses or to challenge their creativity.
Crosby and Beck were geniuses at their craft, each bringing their charismatic talent and flare to the table. During his days as a Byrd, Crosby, with his folk-rock voice, was credited for writing the hits Eight Miles High and Lady Friend and singing lead on countless hits, including Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man. Jeff Beck, in the meantime, brought his raw style of British beat rock to the scene with such hits as Over Under Sideways Down, Shape of Things, Heart Full of Soul, and Bo Diddley's I'm a Man. Beck was on the scene with the Yardbirds around the time Eric Clapton quit the band and when Jimmy Paige (Led Zeppelin) was making his entrance.
Another similarity connecting Crosby and Beck? Their ability to get fired from the bands they helped make so famous. Oh, the life of a rock star! Due to creative differences, egos, and other cantankerous exchanges, Beck was ousted from the Yardbirds in 1966 and Crosby from The Byrds in 1967. With water under the bridge, they went on to form other successful bands, solo careers, and, eventually, new creative differences among bandmates. As a fan of both Crosby and Beck, I had the pleasure of seeing them both LIVE in concert. Never when he was a Byrd but instead when David Crosby performed as Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) minus Neil Young (bummer) in Missoula at the Adams Center (Harry Adams Field House at the time) in 1984 and during an outdoor concert at Summer Pops Bowl in San Diego in 1990. Their in-sync harmony was nothing short of excellent. Years later, in 2014, in Ogren Park at Allegiance Field, the dream of seeing Jeff Beck headline with ZZ Top became a reality. No offense to his kick-*ss co-headliners, but my attendance was premised on seeing Beck perform impeccable solos throughout the night. Crosby and Beck; two outstanding musicians who have influenced many performers and fans and will continue to do so. Their music lives on. RIP