The Story Behind David Crosby’s Song For George Harrison
via ABC News / Youtube
David Crosby, the renowned American singer-songwriter, left an indelible mark on the music industry with his lyrical prowess and musical sensitivity. Best known for his work with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and the Byrds, Crosby’s contributions as a talented lyricist set him apart.
Crosby’s debut solo album, If Only I Could Remember My Name, released in 1971, proved a financial success and showcased his individual creative identity, separate from his previous affiliations with CSNY and The Byrds. Surprisingly, one of the album’s most beloved tracks, which still resonates with audiences 50 years later, was initially intended for his friend, former Beatle George Harrison.
Even until his recent passing at the age of 81, Crosby remained engaged with his fans through social media. Embracing interactions and encouraging participation, he willingly addressed inquiries from his admirers. When asked about the inspiration behind his song “Laughing” and its impact over the past five decades, Crosby disclosed that it was initially meant for George Harrison.
The circumstances surrounding the song’s ultimate rejection by Harrison and its reasons remain shrouded in mystery. Nevertheless, Crosby regarded the opportunity to compose for a former Beatle as a dream come true. In a 2014 interview with MusicRadar, he confessed, “Seeing The Beatles made something else click. It changed my life. They changed my life. Let’s be very specific about that.”
Using “Laughing” as a platform, Crosby conveyed his thoughts without sounding condescending, embracing skepticism akin to that of The Beatles. The song suggests that only “a child laughing in the sun” possesses true awareness. Furthermore, it was implied that Crosby wrote the song after George Harrison shared his encounter with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian guru who seemed to possess the answers to life’s profound questions. Intrigued, Harrison and his fellow Beatles ventured to India to study transcendental meditation with the guru in 1968. While Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr grew skeptical, Harrison remained steadfast in his belief in the teachings.
David Crosby’s musical journey, from his remarkable contributions to iconic bands to his solo endeavors, exemplifies his enduring impact on the music world. Through his profound lyrics and captivating melodies, he leaves a legacy as an esteemed singer-songwriter and visionary artist.