27 David Crosby Quotes That Were Truly Inspirational

Updated: Mar. 14, 2024

In honor of David Crosby, these are some of his most inspirational words.

From the Byrds to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, there’s no doubt that David Crosby played a vital role in creating some of the most iconic music of the 1960s and ’70s. As one of the founding members of each group, Crosby worked with musicians like Neil Young and Stephen Stills amongst several others. He later went on to discover Joni Mitchell in the late 1960s.

The late folk singer and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee was known not just for hits like “Teach Your Children,” “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Southern Cross” and countless others. He was also known for some extraordinarily inspirational words and lyrics. These are some of our favorites.

1.  “I don’t like greed, I don’t like ignorance. I really don’t like anger. But I love love.”

2. “I think music is a lifting force, I think love is the lifting force in the human condition. I think you see someone loving on their child, and it moves you, and you can’t help it. It rings a bell inside of us that elevates us as human beings, and I treasure that. I think it’s one of the few great things about human beings.”

3. “My songs emerge from my life, or wherever they do, unbidden and unplanned and completely on a schedule of their own.”

4. “I’m not giving in an inch to fear.”

5. “I have a pretty clear picture of the whole weight of my life, and there are things that I’ve done that are good, and I’m proud of them. There are things that I’m really not proud of, and that they, you have to look at me with a perspective, and I try really hard to do that, to keep from thinking I’m cool and ever so smart.”

6. “I am having so much fun performing, I feel almost guilty. I think, my God, I hope no one comes and busts me for this.”

7. “I come from a school of people, folk singers, and the tradition there is troubadours, and you’re carrying a message. Now admittedly, our job is partly just to make you boogie, just make you want to dance. Part of our job is to take you on a little voyage, tell you a story.”

8. “I started singing in coffeehouses when I was still in high school, in Santa Barbara. I took a job washing dishes and busing tables in the coffeehouse, so I could be there, and would beg permission to sing harmony with the guy who was singing onstage. That was the first time I ever got on a stage in front of people.”

9. “I’m older than I’d like and I’m creaky, but I’m doing alright.”

10. “My father being in the movie business, I thought being an actor would be great. But when I started singing to people in coffeehouses, you know, singing folk music and then, later, singing songs that I started to write myself, I felt more than an affinity for it. I felt a calling.”

11. “Music isn’t something you can legislate into being.”

12. “There are a lot of people who look great but can’t sing.”

13. “Being a hippy was the most natural thing in the world to me.”David Crosby 1984Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty Images

14. “We know we’re grown-up guys, and we have families and stuff, but we’ve taken that as a positive source of art, rather than as a detriment. You know, how we feel about the stuff that we’ve learned over the lives that we’ve had, and how we feel about our families. That’s where we’re writing from, and it’s a good thing.”

15. “Sometimes the entire thing comes out in one burst. Sometimes you hack away at a thing for years before you get something that satisfies you.”

16. “Largely I write from life… I wrote from what happens to me. Mostly about love.”

17. “I think ideas are still the most powerful things on the planet, and music is a great way to transmit them.”

18. “Don’t waste the time. Time is the final currency, man. Not money, not power—it’s time.”

19. “Good music is an end in and of itself. When you’re doing it, it’s really the most fun part.”

20. “I get egotistical about things where I can do something well—for example, my singing. Most other things, I don’t have the wherewithal to back it up.”

21. “I spent a lot of time just wasting that talent, not treasuring it, not valuing it, not respecting it, just taking it for granted. That was a hard lesson to learn. It doesn’t come for free. Don’t do that. Treasure it, respect it, treat it as a responsibility that you’ve been given, and enjoy the hell out of it.”

22. “I don’t think being angry is useful or healthy, and usually when I get angry, my brain just goes right out the window. Boom, as soon as the adrenaline hits, instant stupid.”

23. “You tend to write as you get older about family love more than you write about romantic love or ooh baby… The stuff that you want to celebrate about humanity has always been there and probably always will be.”

24. “I write very sporadically. I write sometimes three things in a week and then nothing for a year. I make a space for it but I don’t push it. They just come and they come.”

25. “I love music. I love making songs. I feel like I’ve been given a path where I can contribute, where I can protest if somebody does something really obviously wrong or inhuman right in front of me, where I can make a difference. Where I can most especially elevate, make you happy, elevate the condition, elevate the thing.”

26. “Generally we don’t really consciously do it [music] as a purpose-driven thing… It’s really just a response to life.”

27. “I’ve always been a very careful sailor. I know, me and being careful—doesn’t really sound right, does it? But when I sail, I take it seriously and take along spares for everything. You have to be careful when you’re 1,500 miles from land. There’s no one you can call. You’re on your own.”