David Crosby is 78, and knows he’s living on borrowed time. Most of his friends expected him to die over 30 years ago.
The documentary, David Crosby: Remember My Name, is not exactly a biography. It’s more of a portrait of the man and the artist as seen through his memories. The title is a take-off of Crosby’s 1971 solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name.
In the film, we see David being interviewed recently, and quickly find out he has alienated almost all of his longtime friends. Crosby had a very unhealthy Rock Star drug-addicted lifestyle that nearly killed him many times. He’s still performing, but when he goes out on the road, both he and his wife, Jan, think he might not make it home.
The film takes us back to David Crosby’s breakthrough time with The Byrds. There are some great photos and film clips from that time, but he was eventually fired from the group because of his erratic behavior. David admits it was his fault.
The interview and the film are not chronological, but we all know Crosby, Stills, Nash and sometimes Young came next. It was a true “Super Group” made up of singer-songwriters from several excellent bands. We see how extremely popular they became, but that after 45 years of harmony (and disharmony), David Crosby is no longer on speaking terms with any of them.
Although Crosby had a musically successful career, we see how drugs and his own bad choices almost killed him, and robbed him of what should have been a much better life. He says he has had multiple heart attacks, and 25 years ago a liver transplant saved him.
The documentary is filled with fascinating stories, many interviews with other artists, and even some good humor. If you’re a fan of The Byrds, CSN, and other musicians from that era, the film is definitely worth seeing. Incredibly, David Crosby’s voice still sounds like it always has, and he’s recently put out several new albums of original songs.
Near the end, Crosby talks about maybe being able to somehow rekindle some of his old friendships, but he’s very aware time is running out.
Update July 2021: David Crosby released an excellent album, For Free. There’s a review on this site: https://ontherecords.net/2021/07/david-crosbyfor-free-album-review/