12 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Buffalo Springfield recorded just three studio albums in their short, volatile life, but this late-‘60s combo introduced the world to Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Poco’s Richard Furay, and helped plant the seeds for future country-rock and ‘70s folk-based expression. (The Eagles owe a great debt.) The band’s great diversity in both songwriting and performance made it one of the era’s finest, immediately scoring with Stills’ “For What It’s Worth,” a song that virtually defined the paranoia of the Vietnam era in America with its haunting, trembling guitar work and its suggestion that if you “step out of line, the man comes and takes you away.” The band could also be heartbreakingly romantic with Furay’s “Kind Woman,” cryptically psychedelic with Young’s “Mr. Soul,” “Broken Arrow” and “Expecting to Fly,” but still keep its pop head (“Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing,” “Sit Down I Think I Love You”) and deliver illustrative instrumental work (“Bluebird”). This Retrospective offers a brief, broad view of the band’s accomplishments. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself soon doing further research.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Buffalo Springfield recorded just three studio albums in their short, volatile life, but this late-‘60s combo introduced the world to Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Poco’s Richard Furay, and helped plant the seeds for future country-rock and ‘70s folk-based expression. (The Eagles owe a great debt.) The band’s great diversity in both songwriting and performance made it one of the era’s finest, immediately scoring with Stills’ “For What It’s Worth,” a song that virtually defined the paranoia of the Vietnam era in America with its haunting, trembling guitar work and its suggestion that if you “step out of line, the man comes and takes you away.” The band could also be heartbreakingly romantic with Furay’s “Kind Woman,” cryptically psychedelic with Young’s “Mr. Soul,” “Broken Arrow” and “Expecting to Fly,” but still keep its pop head (“Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing,” “Sit Down I Think I Love You”) and deliver illustrative instrumental work (“Bluebird”). This Retrospective offers a brief, broad view of the band’s accomplishments. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself soon doing further research.

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About Buffalo Springfield

Apart from the Byrds, no other American band had as great an impact on folk-rock and country-rock -- really, the entire Californian rock sound -- than Buffalo Springfield. The group's formation is the stuff of legend: driving on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay spotted a hearse that Stills was sure belonged to Neil Young, a Canadian he had crossed paths with earlier. Indeed it was, and with the addition of fellow hearse passenger and Canadian Bruce Palmer on bass and ex-Dillard Dewey Martin on drums, the cluster of ex-folkys determined, as the Byrds had just done, to become a rock & roll band.

Buffalo Springfield wasn't together long -- they were an active outfit for just over two years, between 1967 and 1968 --but every one of their three albums was noteworthy. Their debut, Buffalo Springfield, including their sole big hit (Stills' "For What It's Worth"), established them as the best folk-rock band in the land barring the Byrds, though Springfield was a bit more folk and country oriented. Again, their second album found the group expanding their folk-rock base into tough hard rock and psychedelic orchestration, resulting in their best record. The group was blessed with three idiosyncratic, talented songwriters in Stills, Young, and Furay (the last of whom didn't begin writing until the second LP) yet they also had strong and often conflicting egos, particularly Stills and Young. The group, who held almost infinite promise, rearranged their lineup several times, Young leaving the group for periods and Palmer fighting deportation, until disbanding in 1968. Their final album clearly shows the group fragmenting into solo directions.

Eventually, the inter-personal tensions and creative battles led to a perhaps inevitable split, starting with Young's departure for a solo career. He would later reunite with Stephen Stills in Crosby, Stills, & Nash, joining the trio once a decade for various projects. In addition to CSN, Stills released solo albums and worked with a nother band, Manassas. Initially, Jim Messina and Richie Furay stayed together, forming the country-rock group Poco, but Messina left after three albums to team up in a duo with Kenny Loggins. Furay himself left Poco and teamed with Chris Hillman and JD Souther in the Souther Hillman Furay Band before pursuing a solo career. Rumors of a Buffalo Springfield reunion circulated for years -- Young even hinted at it with the song "Buffalo Springfield Again" --and it finally happened in the fall of 2010. Young, Furay and Stills reunited as Buffalo Springfield for a pair of shows at Young's annual Bridge School Benefit in the fall of 2010. It wasn't a complete reunion, since Palmer had died in 2004 and Martin passed in 2009, but the three singers used bassist Rick Rosas and drummer Joe Vitale to fill in. The same configuration played six concerts in the spring of 2011, but reportedly did no studio work. ~ Richie Unterberger & Stephen Thomas Erlewine

  • ORIGIN
    Los Angeles, CA
  • GENRE
    Rock
  • FORMED
    1966

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