A Look At Neil Young And David Crosby’s Feud

When it comes to supergroups, it’s always a risk to bring in yet another established musician to make the group even more, well … super. That’s what happened when CSN — David Crosby, Stephen Stills & Graham Nash — became CSNY with the addition of Neil Young in August 1969. With the arrival of the Canadian singer-songwriter, the band now had two former Buffalo Springfield members, joining Byrds alumnus Crosby and ex-Hollies singer-guitarist Nash. That led to a fertile hitmaking period … as well as more squabbles than an old married couple, only they weren’t old (yet), they weren’t married to each other, and there were four of them. 

While it’s no secret that the members of CSNY have often been contentious with each other, the two members who have probably had the most intense interpersonal beef are Young and Crosby, and it’s quite ironic that their feud only started less than a decade ago, as opposed to way back in the 1970s. These two men remain active in the music scene after starting out about six decades ago and have enviable resumes to match their experience, but it’s hardly likely we’re going to see them ever reconcile in the foreseeable future. What caused Crosby and Young to fall out with each other not long after the most recent full reunion of CSNY? Let’s take a closer look.

Crosby called Young's future wife a 'purely poisonous predator'

Despite being known for his gentle, melodic singing voice, David Crosby has often been one to shoot from the hip. In recent years, he’s said less than desirable things about everyone from pro wrestling fans (via Sports Illustrated) to Phoebe Bridgers, and, as noted by Uproxx, he even admitted feeling “meh” about Eddie Van Halen’s legacy just days after the guitar legend’s death. Years before all that, however, he had some rather vitriolic comments about Neil Young’s new girlfriend, actress Daryl Hannah, whom he had started a relationship with after filing for divorce from his wife of nearly four decades.

As quoted by Ultimate Classic Rock, Crosby told the Idaho Statesman in 2014 that he doesn’t “feel the urge to go try something new” despite being married to his wife for so long. “And I happen to know that [Young is] hanging out with somebody that’s a purely poisonous predator now,” he added. “And that’s karma. He’s gonna get hurt. But I understand why it happened. I’m just sad about it. I’m always sad when I see love get tossed in the gutter.”

Young didn’t immediately address his CSNY bandmate’s remarks, but Far Out Magazine wrote that he announced during a concert a few weeks later that the supergroup will “never tour again.” A few days after that show, Crosby noted that Young is “very angry with me,” apparently confirming what many people had suspected — the two veteran rockers were beefing big-time.

Young remains upset with Crosby over his comments

Sensing that he had truly offended his on-and-off bandmate by insulting the new woman in his life, David Crosby appeared on “The Howard Stern Show” soon after he blasted Young and Hannah (who tied the knot in 2018) and asked the couple for forgiveness. According to Far Out Magazine, Crosby told Stern that he really wanted Young and Hannah to be happy and that he regretted his past comments about their relationship. “There are people I can criticize: politicians, pond scum,” he continued. “Not other artists that have gone through a hard life, same as me.”

Additionally, Crosby revealed to Stern that he apologized to Young multiple times but also stressed that during their time together, everyone in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young had been “horrible” to each other in one way or another. He added that his apology email to Young was “really good” because of how sincere and to-the-point he felt it was.

Although Young seemed open to the possibility of a CSNY reunion as of 2017, he told AARP Magazine in 2019 that fans shouldn’t get their hopes up. “Crosby should write an introspective book: ‘Why People Won’t Talk to Me Anymore,'” he huffed. “He made a lot of great music for a long time. I don’t know what happened with David … I love Stephen. I love Graham. If a reunion happens, it would be a surprise.”

What the rest of CSNY has said about the feud

Amid all the public bickering between David Crosby and Neil Young, you may be wondering what the rest of CSNY — Graham Nash and Stephen Stills — thinks about the feud. As it seems, they’re on Young’s side and have also fallen out with Crosby in the years since his ill-fated Idaho Statesman interview. “Stephen and Neil and I are great,” Nash told CBS This Morning‘s Anthony Mason in May 2021. “We talk often. We don’t talk to David.” For his part, Crosby told Mason in a separately filmed interview that he “[doesn’t] expect to be friends with Graham at any point,” adding for good measure that “Neil hates my guts.” He was, however, still remorseful for the things he said about Young and Daryl Hannah.  

Drummer Jim Keltner, who toured with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young back in 2000, told journalist David Gambacorta (via Longreads) earlier this year that he feels sad about Crosby and Young’s long-running feud, especially since he likes both musicians and understands where both of them are coming from. “I really like David a lot. I don’t like that he and Neil are not talking,” he lamented. “It’s not surprising. David speaks his mind. And he should’ve chosen his words more carefully. I don’t blame Neil. That’s too bad. Because I hate to see that in any situation.”

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