The song David Crosby used to warn George Harrison about his beliefs

David Crosby has written some of the best songs of the 20th Century and recently discussed the conception of several of them in an interview with Songfacts, including the one he considers “the most relevant”, ‘Guinnevere’ and the quintessential Crosby, Stills & Nash track, ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’.

Crosby was also discussing his recent Live At The Capitol Theatre CD and DVD release, noting the back story of two of his famous songs. The first is ‘1974’, which the ex-Byrds member notes originally began as a song “without words”, something he also claims that he “used to do a lot”.

“I was fooling around with [it],” he said. “I’d have a set of changes, but I didn’t have a set of words, so I would stack vocals like horn parts. I’m basically doing a horn record with voices. I had a bunch of those.” The song was unfinished, as the title suggests, and eventually, a member of his Lighthouse band picked it up and helped to finish it off.

The track begins with Crosby noodling around, figuring the song out and humming a simple melody. He notes that the track is a perfect example of having excellent creative chemistry within a band. “If you are open to it, you can have chemistry with other people if it’s there,” he said. “That kind of creative chemistry doesn’t happen very often – that’s why I’m excited when I talk about it.”

As for the track ‘Laughing’, Crosby noted that he had written it for George Harrison. Discussing his friendship with Harrison, Crosby said, “I liked him a lot. He was very friendly to me. Paul was very friendly to me, John was very friendly to me, Ringo was very friendly to me, but the one that I had the relationship with was George.”

As for the song itself, Crosby remembers Harrison telling him about one of his guru teachers in India. However, Crosby was sceptical of the teachings of the person in question as he “doesn’t believe in God and [is] not really a big fan of religion”. Crosby wanted to warn George to “take it with a grain of salt” but didn’t say anything as he “did not want to come off like a snot to my new friend who [he] really respected hugely”.

However, that line stuck with Crosby and made its way into ‘Laughing’. He added, “So I wrote that song to tell him that. That the person I thought was the wisest I had met was a child laughing at the sun. And that I thought I could learn more from that child laughing at the sun than I could from anybody teaching.”

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