A well-known American singer-songwriter who achieved success in the 1960s and 1970s was David Crosby. He is most known for his work with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and the Byrds. His beautiful lyrics and musical sensitivity of Crosby made him a talented lyricist.
The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High,” “Everybody’s Been Burned,” and “Renaissance Fair” are just a few of the popular tunes he wrote for them. In addition, he wrote a number of well-known songs for Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, including “Guinnevere,” “Déjà Vu,” and “Nearly Chopped My Hair.” His distinctive fusion of folk, rock, and jazz elements, as well as his contemplative and frequently politically charged lyrics, all served to distinguish Crosby’s songwriting. He made a huge contribution to American music, and he is still regarded as a leading figure in the field today.
If Only I Could Remember My Name, David Crosby’s debut solo album released in 1971, is widely regarded as his most financially successful record to date, establishing Crosby as more than simply a former member of CSNY or The Byrds – he was his own creative entity. Nevertheless, one of the album’s most beloved pieces – which remains one of the classic Crosby songs even 50 years later – wasn’t even intended to be his song at all. Crosby instead meant to give the work to former Beatle George Harrison.
In order to interact with his fans whenever possible, Crosby, who just died away at the age of 81, utilized social media up to the very end. Crosby welcomed inquiries and urged participation. He was asked, “Was there any particular inspiration for ‘Laughing’? It’s a beautiful song and has helped me very much for 50 years.” It was at that moment that he revealed that the song was meant for his friend George Harrison.
While the reasons for the track’s failure and Harrison’s eventual refusal to accept are still unknown, Crosby would have considered it a dream come true to have the chance to compose for a former Beatle. He admitted to MusicRadar back in 2014, “seeing The Beatles made something else click. It changed my life. They changed my life. Let’s be very specific about that.”
He added, “Watching The Beatles on Ed Sullivan was wonderful. I was shocked… in such a good way. Of course, none of us had seen that kind of reaction from kids before, not for anybody. I think most people were amazed at the reaction, the screams, and the hysteria. How could you not be?”
“I was amazed, too, but more so by the sheer musicality of it and The Beatles’ ability to project what a confident, joyful, and beautiful band they were. I’d never seen anything like them before – or since. But, you know, it’s always about the music. Those guys could really play and sing. They had the goods. And they really had the songs.”
Crosby, who shared similar skepticism, utilized this song to convey his ideas without seeming patronizing. In the song, he declares that “a child laughing in the sun” is the only one who is aware of the truth.
According to Songfacts, David wrote the song after, “George Harrison told him about a guru from India he had met who seemed to have the answers to life’s big questions. That guru was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Harrison and his fellow Beatles went to India study transcendental meditation with him in 1968. Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr quickly grew skeptical, but Harrison believed in the teachings.”