Happy Birthday: David Crosby
Given that David Van Cortlandt Crosby is turning 74 today, it seems like the perfect time to take a look back at one of the most important solo albums of his career: the first one.
Released on February 22, 1971, If I Could Only Remember My Name emerged in the wake of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Déjà Vu, which had proven so successful that all four members of the folk-rock group were in a position to release solo albums. Crosby’s wasn’t the most successful of the bunch (that honor went to Stephen Stills’ self-titled album), and the closest it got to scoring a hit single was “Music is Love,” which topped out at #95 on the Billboard Hot 100, but over the years it has come to be viewed as a classic album of the early 1970s.
Part of that classic status could easily come from the cast of characters who were involved in the creation of the album: the list of performers includes – among others – Nash and Young, Jack Casady, David Freiberg, Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Joni Mitchell, Greg Rollie, Michael Shrieve, and Grace Slick. Beyond that, though, it’s also worth noting that, even though it had already begun to be reevaluated by then, it got a big boost in profile when it was unexpectedly named #2 on the Vatican’s Top 10 Pop Albums of All Time. Go figure.
Crosby has continued to find time here and there to release solo albums, the most recent being 2014’s Croz, but for as strong as some of them have been, it’s hard to argue with anyone who’d call If I Could Only Remember My Name his best solo work. It’s just that good.