Thursday, February 4, 2010

Worth Another Listen - Buffalo Springfield

Left to right: Stephen Stills, Dewey Martin, Bruce Palmer, Richie Furay, Neil Young

This is another group who made their mark and quickly left the scene. In April of 1966, Richie Furay, Dewey Martin, Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Bruce Palmer came together to form Buffalo Springfield. At that point, they were all pretty much unknowns in the US. But that was soon to change. Rather quickly, they started recording, and spent the summer laying down the tracks for their eponymous debut. It was released in December of '66, making it up to #80 on the Billboard Hot Album chart. The first two singles, Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing and Burned, went nowhere on the charts. By this time Stills had written another song inspired by some demonstrations he had seen in Los Angeles, and while it didn't make it on the first pressing of the album, it became the third single and was the lead cut on subsequent editions. The song, For What It's Worth, made it to #7 on the Hot 100 Singles chart, and cemented the band's place in rock history.

Left to right: Dewey Martin, Bruce Palmer, Neil Young, Richie Furay, Stephen Stills

Lore has it the song got it's name when Stills went to play it for record executives, and introduced it by saying, 'Here's the new song, for what it's worth.' Stills has repeated the story in interviews, explaining why the title never appears in the lyrics of the song.

Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth
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In October of 1967, the band released their sophomore effort, Buffalo Springfield Again. Bassist Bruce Palmer was busted for possession of controlled substances, and deported to Canada for a period of time. He did return, only to have the same issue happen again. Songwriters Young, Stills and Furay all stepped up with their own songs, creating an air of antagonism. But once released, the critics and fans loved it, and it made it to #42 on the album chart. The first single, Bluebird, made it to #58 on the charts, and third single Expecting To Fly barely registered, hitting #98. The top-selling single was the second, Rock And Roll Woman, which made it to #44.

Soon they started to work on the third album. The recording of the album was said to be fraught with tension, as Young was often not available, and Palmer had another run in with the law, and was again deported. Bassist Jim Messina was brought in to replace him. Despite the difficulties, they completed Last Time Around for an July 1968 release. While the album did well, hitting #42 on the album chart, no single released manage to make it on the charts. Soon after they finished recording, Young, Furay, Messina and guitarist Eric Clapton had their own run in with the law, increasing the tensions. The group disbanded in May, playing their last show together in Long Beach, California. In 1997, the band was inducted into the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame.


  1. Howard - Buffalo Springfield is one of my 'babies' - my vinyl albums are worn out from listening over and over and over again. Consider the vast amount of talent that was contained in this one, short-lived group and the portfolio of music that they put together. Glimpses of the greatness surfaced when CSNY joined up. My love of Neil Young sprung from these early recordings. So worth listening to!

    PS - there is some kind of typo - guitarist Eric Clapton?? I think you mean Stephen Stills. Eric was never with the Buffalo boys.

  2. None of my peers knows Buffalo Springfield...I think their music is fantastic.

  3. Linda, I luvs them, too. And there was no typo - Clapton was part of the bust, not Stills, who had issues of his own. Odd, but true.

    Behr, they are fantastic!

  4. It is interesting reading the back story of this legendary band and the different artists that rolled thru the group. That is something that seems to be lost nowadays, along with what constitutes a 'hit'.

    Great stuff.

  5. Big Mark, the music business is so very different now, so much more mercenary than it once was. Talent was developed, not just marketed. It is a shame. Music could be much better.



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