David Crosby and Joni Mitchell were once romantically involved in 1967, but their relationship was brief due to Crosby’s infidelity. Despite the failed romance, Mitchell’s talent was a constant source of inspiration for Crosby. In fact, he even admitted that she was “the best of all of us.” However, due to the nature of their breakup, they did not remain close or maintain a friendship after they parted ways. Crosby kept his admiration for Mitchell’s talent secret during their relationship.
In a 2017 interview with Music Radar, Crosby talked about the musicians of his generation and their influences on him. He reflected on Mitchell’s talent and how it stood out among his peers, stating that she was exceptional and her music had a unique quality to it.
“James Taylor is such a brilliant musician and Joni Mitchell is probably the best of all of us. She is probably the best singer-songwriter of our time. I don’t think there’s anybody close. Bob [Dylan] ‘s as good or, if not, a better poet but she sings rings around him so I think she’s won.”
“She’s a tremendous influence on me… as were The Beatles. And Michael Hedges. Earlier, a lot of people were a big influence – Odetta, Josh White, Pete Seeger and The Weavers. A ton of stuff.”
While Crosby and Mitchell were romantically involved, Mitchell’s exceptional musical talent constantly challenged Crosby, pushing him to improve his own abilities.
“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,” he told Stern.“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.”
Despite their estrangement following Crosby’s infidelity, Joni Mitchell continued to inspire David Crosby from a distance, and he never let his personal feelings come in the way of his admiration for her work.