Joni Mitchell and David Crosby’s relationship was only for a brief spell in 1967, but it laid down the markers for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, while simultaneously opening the Canadian’s eyes to a brave new world.
Although their partnership was built on sand, Mitchell and Crosby worked proficiently as each other’s muse for a short period of time, even if they both knew from the start that it wasn’t going to last forever. In the end, Crosby would be the culprit for their time together coming to an abrupt closure, and Mitchell’s way of letting him know it was over was utter perfection.
As their respective careers began to hit the ground, their time spent in each others company began to dwindle dramatically, and Crosby soon started seeking his kicks from elsewhere. The CSNY singer rekindled things with an old flame, and Mitchell was understandably furious when she discovered that he had been unfaithful.
Rather than immediately unleash a fit of rage upon Crosby, Mitchell calmly waited for the most mischievous moment to embarrass him. After all, his behaviour warranted maximum punishment, and he deserved to be left red-faced.
The duo attended a party held at The Monkees’ Peter Tork’s house when Mitchell gathered everybody around and premiered her not so subtle break-up song, ‘That Song About The Midway’.
“She came in and she was kind of different,” Crosby later told Howard Stern on SiriusXM. “She’s like, ‘I’ve got a new song,’ and we were all there, and we all said, ‘Oh, fantastic, a new Joni song!‘ And she starts to sing it, and it’s plainly a goodbye to me. And then she sang it again in case I didn’t get it the first time – unbelievable! Everybody in the room was going, ‘Oh.’ everybody. … It’s hysterically funny.”
Crosby knew that her revenge was nothing compared to what he had put her through, and he held no ill feelings towards the singer-songwriter. However, Crosby did find her superior musicianship tasking during their brief romance, addingL “Listen, imagine if you wrote a song, a really good song, and you sang it to her when she came home, and then she sang you three better songs that she wrote last night.”
Heaping further praise on Mitchell, Crosby continued: “She is arguably the best singer-songwriter of our times. I don’t get along with her that well anymore, but I do love her with my whole heart for what she’s given us.”
After their relationship burned out, Mitchell moved on with another member of CSNY in Graham Nash, and Crosby feels as though he was a much better man for her than he ever was. He added: “It’s not just me – I don’t think Joni gets along with any of her exes. I was very happy when she went with Graham [Nash]. Graham was, I think, the best of us for her. The best experience she had with a guy was with Graham.”
While they are no longer close associates, and he could have treated her better, there is no bad blood from Crosby’s side. He even recently stated: “she’s ten times the musician and singer” compared to Bob Dylan, which comfortably puts Mitchell in a league of her own in his esteemed book.