David Crosby is an imperial songwriter of the highest calibre. He was not only a part of one of the greatest supergroup of all time alongside Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young but, after their magnificently prolific period together, they each came out of the experience as some of the best songwriters in the game.
Everybody wanted a piece of the band following their tenure and their solo careers went in four very different but highly successful directions. David Crosby’s debut solo album If Only I Could Remember My Name, which was released in 1971, remains his most commercially successful record to date and one that established Crosby as being more than just a former member of CSNY or The Byrds—he was his own creative entity. However, one of the most adored tracks from the record—which remains one of the quintessential Crosby songs almost 50 years on—wasn’t even supposed to be his song and, instead, Crosby wanted to gift it to former Beatle George Harrison.
The 79-year-old’s Twitter feed, which is a must-follow fans, is a space in that the musician forever shares nuggets of information which provide a fascinating window into his world. Crosby’s followers can fire away at the musician and he tries to reply as often as possible to provide them with the answers that they have been seeking to uncover for years.
If there’s anything that you’d ever like to know about the CSNY man, then it’s more than worth your while to shoot your shot and you may get lucky, as one Twitter user found out for themselves. “Was there any particular inspiration for ‘Laughing’? It’s a beautiful song, and has helped me very much for 50 years,” they asked Crosby, likely never expecting to hear back. However, remarkably he responded and his answer didn’t disappoint when he revealed that the song was written for George Harrison.
It remains unknown why the track fell through and Harrison never ended up using it but writing for the former Beatle would have been a dream come true for Crosby, who confessed in 2014 to MusicRadar that “seeing The Beatles made something else click. It changed my life. They changed my life. Let’s be very specific about that.”
Adding: “Watching The Beatles on Ed Sullivan was wonderful. I was shocked… in such a good way. Of course, none of us had seen that kind of reaction from kids before, not for anybody. I think most people were amazed at the reaction, the screams and the hysteria. How could you not be?” Crosby continued.
“I was amazed, too, but more so by the sheer musicality of it and The Beatles’ ability to project what a confident, joyful and beautiful band they were. I’d never seen anything like them before – or since. But, you know, it’s always about the music. Those guys could really play and sing. They had the goods. And they really had the songs,” the former Byrds man concluded.
A definitive rock and roll story of ‘what could have been’ in the highest order. For now, stream the original, below.