Authored by Dale Nickey;
“If I Could Only Remember My Name” (David Crosby)
Crosby was a high flying Byrd. Higher than most. After securing his spot in rock and roll history with The Byrds, he was fired for behavior detrimental to the band. He landed firmly on his feet and formed Crosby, Stills and Nash. They went stratospheric and were described by many rock scribes as “The American Beatles”. When it looked like Crosby’s luck couldn’t get any better, it didn’t. In 1969 his soul-mate Christine Hinton decided to take the VW van down to the store for munchies and smokes. She never returned. Her cat lodged itself under the brake pedal and she died in a horrific crash. Crosby was no stranger to drug and alcohol abuse, however after this tragic turn of events Crosby began his free fall into drug abuse in earnest. Insiders say he has never fully recovered from the loss. He eventually ended up in Texas state prison for drugs and and other related charges.
However before the fall, Crosby’s solid Irish constitution somehow allowed him to function well enough to participate in some of CSN’s best work and also craft his first (and best) solo album, “If I Could Only Remember My Name”. Released in 1971, an all-star cast from both the San Francisco and Laurel Canyon music scenes turned up to aid Crosby in his era of need. Crosby is simultaneously out of his head and in the zone on this psychotropic yet tightly focused collection of head tunes. On this album Crosby was blessed/cursed with the perfect mixture of genius and madness that is the hallmark of timeless art. Additionally, this album boasts one of the greatest cover photos ever. Crosby is the only artist on this list to navigate a complete turnaround courtesy of a life saving liver transplant. He remains sober and prolific to this day. However, he has yet to release a work to match “If I Could Only Remember My Name”.
The lingering spirit of Hinton hung over the sessions. Specifically, the tune “I Could Swear There Was Somebody Here”.