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Graham Nash Reveals Heartbreaking Final Message From David Crosby Before His Death

Nash says his estranged former folk rock bandmate was attempting to make amends in a poignant voicemail.

Graham Nash and David Crosby
Chiaki Nozu/Getty Images

Graham Nash of American folk-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (CSNY) said he and his estranged bandmate, the late David Crosby, were on their way to reconciliation.

Despite being known for their intricate harmonies and influence on the American folk music scene, the group was fraught with interpersonal tensions–particularly between Nash and Crosby.

But during Crosby's final days, Nash told AARP in an interview that he surprisingly heard from him in an attempt to make amends and put their tumultuous past behind them.

The interview took place on February 3, two weeks after Crosby passed away from a "long illness." He was 81.

Nash said of Croby:

"He had sent me a voicemail saying that he wanted to talk to apologize, and could we set up a time to talk."
"I emailed him back and said, 'Okay, call me at eleven o’clock tomorrow your time, which is two o’clock on the East Coast.'"

But Crosby didn't follow through.

"He never called," said Nash. "And then he was gone."

When asked by interviewer Rob Tannenbaum if Crosby knew he was approaching his final days, Nash said:

"You know, I’ve thought about that myself. He was a very intelligent man."
"I wouldn’t put it past him to know that he was actually at the very end."

At the start of the interview, Nash wanted to accentuate the positive upon reflection of their time together.

"I think one of the only things that we can do, particularly me, is only try to remember the good times."
"Try to remember the great music that we made. I’m only going to be interested in the good times, because if I concentrate on the bad times, it gets too weird for me."

As a fellow musician, Nash had a huge amount of respect for him.

"I know many musicians, of course, and I’ve heard many musicians over my life."
"But I have never heard anybody with the same brilliant sense of music and harmony that David had."

Nash described how the news of his estranged bandmate's passing affected him.

“His death is like an earthquake," he said, adding:

"You know that you’re in an earthquake, but subsequently, other smaller earthquakes happen afterwards."
“His death has been like that. It was only two or three days after he passed that I realized that he was actually gone.”

He continued focusing on the positive aspects of their relationship.

"Crosby was my dear friend, my best friend for over 50 years. I can only concentrate on the good stuff."
"If he was willing to call me and apologize for what he had done and how he had hurt me, it made his death a little easier for me to accept."

CSNY was formed in 1968 after discovering they harmonized well during an informal performance.

Crosby was a guitarist and singer/songwriter who had previously been with the Byrds.

Graham Nash was formerly a member of the Hollies and was known for his light tenor voice.

Stephen Stills played with the group Buffalo Springfield along with Neil Young before they both joined CSNY and went on to make music history together.

Crosby, Still, and Nash were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 in addition to each member's respective contributions to music–Crosby for the Byrds; Stills for Buffalo Springfield; and Nash for the Hollies.

Young was not inducted as a member of CSN but he was inducted twice–first as a solo artist in 1995 and second as a member of Buffalo Springfield in 1997.

Their first studio album as a quartet with Young, Déjà Vu, remains their best-selling record and was certified 7x platinum.

It was released in 1970 and reached number one on several international charts, spawning the hit singles, "Woodstock", "Teach Your Children", and "Our House."

Their last album was 1999's Looking Forward.

They remained a performing act with several reunion concerts and tours until 2015.