David Crosby never got over early preview of the Beatles’ ‘Day in the Life’: ‘Didn’t know you could do that’

Throughout 1965-66, David Crosby and the Byrds were running neck and neck with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones commercially. And then, Crosby says, the Fab Four did something that blew him away.

“I was in London, at that time, when they were making Sgt. Pepper,” Crosby tells Alyce Faye. “When I got there, they didn’t really talk to me that much. They just dragged me out to the middle of the studio and sat me down on a stool. In Abbey Road, they had these speakers that looked like coffins. They were about eight feet tall, and they were on rollers. They rolled two of these things up, one on either side of me, and then they all left the room.”

Crosby, who had just released the psychedelia-infused Younger Than Yesterday with the Byrds a few months before, then became one of the first outsiders to experience the episodic wonder of “A Day in the Life.”

He still sounds amazed.

“They had just finished it,” Crosby adds. “By the time they got to that last piano chord, I was just a dish rag. I was completely, absolutely stumped. I didn’t know you could do that.”

Crosby would leave the Byrds as they recorded their next studio effort, 1968’s The Notorious Byrd Brothers, going on to form the harmony-focused supergroup Crosby Stills and Nash — with whom Crosby still works today. The singer-songwriter has a new solo effort, called Croz, set for release in 2014.

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