×

Cameron Crowe Picks Five Favorite Underrated David Crosby Tracks

“Music is love,” as David Crosby once sang, and nothing breeds deeper love than a sense that something is overlooked. So that’s why Variety asked Cameron Crowe to dig deep into the Crosby canon and pick not just a triad but five favorites from among the CSN singer’s most underrated tracks.

Crowe, of course, has had a lot of time to consider the catalog in the last few years, having signed on as an interviewer and producer for “David Crosby: Remember My Name,” the newly released documentary directed by A.J. Eaton. Several of these less heralded tracks appear in the film, so if you want to know what earworms were going through the journalist-turned-director’s mind on the way to his Q&As with Crosby, here’s his mini-playlist of slightly lost classics and oddities.

“Music is Love”

“Underrated: Totally number one is ‘Music Is Love’ from [Crosby’s 1971 solo debut] ‘If I Could Only Remember My Name.’ It was a riff that he had that got built into a song by (Graham) Nash and Neil Young. I think Neil took a rough practice track, and Crosby said, ‘You can’t take it, this song is not finished yet.’ And Neil is like, [he breaks into an imitation of Young’s Canadian patois] ‘Oh, I’ll bring it back to you.’ And he comes back, I believe the next day, with a finished, re-edited version of ‘Music is Love’ that’s just perfection.” (Crowe puts two fingers to his lips in the universal kissed-by-the-gods gesture.)

“Kids and Dogs”

“’Kids and Dogs’ is an outtake from ‘If I Could Only Remember My Name’ [first officially issued as a bonus track on a 2006 reissue]. We used it in the ‘Aloha’ movie. It’s a jam with Jerry Garcia where they’re trying to play a game, to play a chord at the same time and see if they’ll mesh, and this game that they’re playing turns into the song ‘Kids and Dogs,’ which is great. It’s so Crosby.”

“Lady Friend”

“‘Lady Friend’ is an early Byrds song that is kind of the genesis or beginning of … It’s kind of toward the end of Act 1 Crosby. He’s in his ‘Triad’ kind of ‘I’m stretching the boundaries of the Byrds’ mode. ‘They’re not loving me, but I’m kind of loving me myself, so I’m gonna write “Lady Friend’.”‘

“Why”

“It’s McGuinn/Crosby, a Byrds song. It’s vital and it just feels modern in a cool way.”

“The Wall Song”

“This is a Nash/Crosby song from their first duet album [“Graham Nash David Crosby” in 1972], that I believe has some Garcia in it, and it’s just a wonderful little deep track.”

Having gone deep with Crowe, we had to go not quite to such far depths to ask the “Almost Famous” auteur what the favorite would be of Crosby’s not-as-underrated songs … his desert island Crosby track. He had a perhaps surprising pick.

“Laughing”

“’Laughing’ is about the Maharishi, I find out while doing the research for this. I guess (George) Harrison comes back from the Maharishi time that the Beatles had together and tells Crosby that the Beatles had all this stuff going on, and that Lennon had this feeling about the Maharishi, and people were doubting him. So Crosby writes this song about that, and it’s ‘Laughing’ — which is about a cynical situation, but you can’t really tell from the song. It’s revelatory and takes you to almost a religious place, but the interesting thing about it is that it’s about false religion, I think. But it’s just a beautiful track. You know when you used to go into a stereo store and they put on a Steely Dan record to show you all the specs of the speakers, and how good it would sound? ‘Laughing’ is that kind of a song for me, too. Sonically it just kind of envelops you in the way that only Crosby can take you to a kind of otherworldly place where… music is love!”

Crowe was tempted to provide an add-on to his list of underrated tracks.

“I had a sixth song that was influenced by Crosby, which someday I have to bring it out in some form. It was written by Nancy Wilson and me on our honeymoon, and what we tried to do was to write a definitive David Crosby-like song. One day I’ve got to play it for him. It’s like the Rutles of David Crosby, snd it’s a song called ‘Deep in a Flower.’ Someday I’ll have to play it for you.That’s six on a list that you only needed five songs for, and it doesn’t really qualify. But I love those five.”

Look for a full interview with Crowe about Crosby and his work on the film, coming in Variety.

More Film

  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

    Film Review: 'A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon'

    No asteroids are hurtling toward Earth in “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon,” though a flying frozen pizza does softly slice the top off an elderly shopper’s hairdo: That’s roughly the level of quirky peril we’re talking about in the latest outing from Aardman Animations, and as usual, the British stop-motion masters cheerfully prove that [...]

  • Slam

    Film Review: ‘Slam’

    The disappearance of a fearless female Palestinian-Australian slam poet triggers suspense and powerful social and political commentary in “Slam,” an outstanding slow-burn thriller by expat Indian filmmaker Partho Sen-Gupta (“Sunrise”). Starring Palestinian actor Adam Bakri (“Omar,” “Official Secrets”) as the missing woman’s conflicted brother, and leading Aussie performer Rachael Blake as a troubled cop, Opening [...]

  • Igo Kantor

    Igo Kantor, Producer and Post-Production Executive, Dies at 89

    Igo Kantor, whose Hollywood career took him from Howard Hughes’ projection room to supervising post-production on “Easy Rider” and producing B-movies like “Kingdom of the Spiders” and “Mutant,” died Oct. 15. He was 89. Kantor, who was born in Vienna and raised in Lisbon, met “Dillinger” director Max Nosseck on the ship to New York. [...]

  • The Lion King

    Average Movie Ticket Price Falls 4% in Third Quarter of 2019

    Average ticket prices for the third quarter have dropped 4% to $8.93, down from Q2’s $9.26, the National Association of Theatre Owners announced today. However, compared with the third quarter of 2018, ticket price has risen 1.1% from $8.83. The summer box office is down 2.13% from 2018, though the third quarter box office is [...]

  • Tilda Swinton to Preside Over The

    Tilda Swinton to Preside Over Marrakech Film Festival

    Tilda Swinton, the iconoclastic British actress and producer, is set to preside over the 18th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival, succeeding to American director James Gray. Swinton, who won an Oscar and a BAFTA award for best supporting actress for “Michael Clayton,” has been leading an eclectic acting career. She has collaborated with [...]

  • The King Netflix

    Middleburg Film Festival Brings Hollywood to Virginia

    For the last seven years, audiences have flocked to the Middleburg Film Festival. Running October 17th – 21st, and situated in the wine-country hills of historic Middleburg, Virg., the festival usually highlights some of the year’s buzziest titles, and 2019 is no exception. “We’re a smaller festival with fewer overall screenings than other events, so we [...]

  • Kelly McCormick and David Leitch'Fast &

    'Wheelman' Director to Helm 'Versus' From David Leitch, Kelly McCormick (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Wheelman” director Jeremy Rush is in negotiations to helm the action movie “Versus,” with Kelly McCormick and David Leitch producing. Rush will direct the Universal movie from a script penned by “Three Musketeers” scribe Alex Litvak and “American Assassin” writer Mike Finch. Plot details are being kept under wraps, though it will follow the genre [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content