David Crosby has reflected on his relationship and the musicianship, of Joni Mitchell in a recent interview with Howard Stern.
David Crosby and Joni Mitchell briefly dated in 1967. Their relationship was chronicled within their music with Crosby producing Mitchell’s debut record, 1967’s Song to a Seagull.
Their relationship deteriorated, As David Browne notes in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock’s Greatest Supergroup, Crosby would “revel in presenting her [Mitchell] to his friends, treating her like a prized, talented possession.” Mitchell tell biographer David Yaffe that his behaviour was “kind of embarrassing … as if I were his discovery.”
When their relationship was on the rocks, Crosby rekindled with his old Girlfriend, Christine Hinton. An infidelity that Mitchell would pen, ‘That Song About the Midway’ about.
During his conversation with Howard Stern, Crosby was asked about their relationship. “I’m sad when you say you don’t get along with Joni,” said Stern. “I understand you guys were boyfriend and girlfriend for a while, you broke up, that happens to lots of people.”
Crosby mused that the end of their relationship was inevitable. “Joni was so talented that I think it would’ve happened anyway. It wasn’t like I had a choice, man, she was so good, I couldn’t ignore it. She is arguably the best singer-songwriter of our times,” he said.
He then went on to lay out that he believes Mitchell to be a better musician than The Bard. “She’s as good a poet as Bob [Dylan], and she’s 10 times the musician and singer than he is. I care about him, but the truth is she’s much better as a musician and much better as a singer,” he said.
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Crosby acknowledged that he and Mitchell are not on the greatest terms, but he has a deep admiration for her and her art. “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,” he continued. “I don’t think anybody did it as well. They’ve been celebrating Blue because it’s 50 years since she’s made it. I think that’s arguably the best singer-songwriter record ever made, much better than my stuff.”
Stern went on to ask Crosby if he thinks it’s “hard to date a woman like that when you have such respect for her talent?”
Crosby added, “Do I think it’s hard? 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.”
Check out ‘That Song About the Midway’ by Joni Mitchell: