How Bob Dylan almost forced David Crosby to quit music


Like Bob Dylan, David Crosby was a product of the Greenwich Village folk scene. However, unlike Dylan, Crosby had to wait a long time to find success after returning to Los Angeles to form The Byrds, when everything fell into place.

Before forming The Byrds, Crosby had replaced the California sun with the bright lights of New York. It was home to Greenwich Village, which was the only place to be for musicians in the early 1960s, and Crosby was confident he would become the central star of the scene. He regularly performed in folk clubs alongside Chicago native Terry Callier in a duet, but success eluded them.

Crosby believed that no one at Greenwich was as talented as him, and he was on a one-man mission to prove himself. Naturally, Crosby started hearing whispers about a young starlet named Bob Dylan, whom he was intrigued to see live. However, it was a decision he soon regretted, and it nearly caused him to abandon his aspirations to succeed in the music industry.

Talk to rock cave in 2017, Crosby reflected on his lifestyle at the time: “I was a not-quite-starved young folk in Greenwich Village, working in the baskets. This is where you sing a set and then you pass a basket. If you have done a very good job, you strength to be able to get that piece of pizza for dinner. Maybe. And you have to be really good to get it.

He continued: “OK, so I heard about this guy Bob Dylan, who is going to play Gerdes Folk City. And everyone was talking about him. I didn’t know why. So I snuck in, I approached, and the first reaction I had was very selfish: Well, shit, I can sing better than that! And then I started listening to the words. And I almost stopped at that point. .

Crosby also opened up about how watching Dylan forced him to improve his artistry if he were ever to compete. The CSNY member added, “This guy is such a good poet. He’s such a good poet, damn it, is he such a good poet. And I was quite stunned. I came out of there very confused, because I knew I could sing better and I knew I just had to improve my word game a thousand percent. He was a tremendous inspiration to me in the sense that I knew I had to become a a lot best poet. And so I did my best to do it.

A few years later, Crosby and The Byrds were to thank Dylan for their first number one single, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’, which was a cover of his song. Consequently, their careers will forever be linked, and Crosby remains grateful for the humbling lesson he received from seeing Bob Dylan perform in Greenwich Village.


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