It can be hard to think about celebrities outside of the context of their career. Many popular musicians and rock stars are remembered for their music, but the vast majority of listeners don’t know all that much about who their favorite musicians actually are. For many celebrities, this is on purpose. They hope to keep some aspects of their lives private, which makes it even more interesting when they allow an inside look into their personal lives.
David Crosby, of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, is a musician whose whole life has unfolded under the public eyes. Whether it be his meetings with The Beatles, his stage presence at Woodstock or his time spent in jail, Crosby never failed to get people talking about him.
Although people have loved Crosby for half a century, there were still many mysteries about his life.
Now, at 78 years old, he has changed in a lot of ways. He has been through the lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock and roll, and, for the most part, he has successfully made it out the other side. He now lives at home with his wife and family, but he still constantly tours and records new albums (the latest of which, “Here If You Listen,” was released Oct. 2018).
“David Crosby: Remember My Name” is a documentary, directed by A.J. Eaton, that follows Crosby as he reflects on his life, his career and struggles to confront the idea of his own mortality.
Crosby suffers from Type 2 diabetes, Hepatitis C and has a history of numerous heart attacks. He’s had so many heart surgeries that it’s too dangerous for him to have any more procedures. Crosby has had brushes with death in the past, but now he’s being forced to confront it head on, as he doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be around. Everytime he goes on tour, he worries that he might not come back from it, but his love of music and the thrill of bringing joy to millions is too much to resist.
In “Remember My Name,” Crosby is brutally honest and raw about his own life and regret about his treatment of others. This intense candidness sets the film apart from other documentaries about famous musicians. It makes it a truly heart wrenching, hilarious and almost hypnotic documentary that is certainly worth a watch, even if you don’t know Crosby’s work.
The documentary has Eaton following Crosby throughout his daily routines in life. It humanizes Crosby by showing him just being a normal person. He eats breakfast, gets the mail and spends time with his family, just like a typical person would. It’s while he’s doing these small things that Crosby discusses his experiences in life and how they have shaped him as a person. He discusses everything from the first time he fell in love, to his imprisonment for possession of heroin and cocaine, to having his sunglasses pulled off by Jim Morrison while Crosby was on LSD and being told “You can’t hide behind these.”
As the documentary continues, Crosby and Eaton go out and explore Los Angeles, stopping at many different locations that were crucial to Crosby’s life. They visit the house where Crosby, Stills & Nash became a group, they cruise down Sunset Boulevard, and they even shop at an old grocery store Crosby and other famous musicians used to visit.
By showing Crosby’s return to the places he frequented in his life, Eaton provides audiences with a real window into who Crosby was back then and who he is today. It feels as if you’re in the car with him just having a discussion about how hippies changed the world.
“David Crosby: Remember My Name” is more than just an exploration of a rock star’s career. It’s an inner reflection by a man nearing the end of his life. Crosby bares his soul for the world to see. He expresses regret over not caring for his first love as much as he should've. He sometimes wishes he could go back in time and correct some of the dumb decisions he made. He talks about how many people he hurt, and how he is saddened by the wonderful relationships he ruined beyond repair.
This is the kind of documentary that will stick with you, even if you had no idea who Crosby was going into it. It’s about what makes us all human: our mistakes and how we handle them moving forward. The title of the film serves both as a reference to Crosby’s album “If Only I Could Remember My Name” and a plea to audiences not to forget him or his music when he’s gone. Crosby seeks forgiveness for his missteps in life, and he wants to leave a legacy with positive impact on the world.