The (Brief) History of Buffalo Springfield

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Stephen Stills proclaims “We’re #1!”

Buffalo Springfield enjoyed an intense, two-year creative burst. Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin played their first show together on April 11, 1966, at the Troubadour in West Hollywood.

The same year, the band recorded and released its self-titled debut, which included the iconic protest song, “For What It’s Worth” and the band’s first single, “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing.” By 1968, they had moved on to other projects.

This ad for the single appeared in the Feb. 4, 1967 issue of Record World

The group spent the first half of 1967 making Buffalo Springfield Again, with Stills and Young both contributing some all-time classics: “Bluebird” and “Rock And Roll Woman” from Stills; and “Mr. Soul” and “Expecting to Fly” from Young. It was the first album to feature songs written by Furay (“A Child’s Claim to Fame”)

On April 14, 2020, Young referred to Stills’ composition, “For What It’s Worth,” as “a great song,” and admitted that the band “never reached our peak.”

[The word “heat” in the lyric “What a field day for the heat” from “For What It’s Worth” actually refers to the authorities who arrested many protestors during Los Angeles curfew riots in 1966.]

The song was, by far, the highest-charting single of their short-lived career, reaching #7 on the Hot 100 in 1967.

Listen to the remastered “For What It’s Worth”

Related: That time Buffalo Springfield had a cameo on the TV detective series, Mannix

The band played its final show on May 5, 1968. When Last Time Around was released in July 1968, the band members were in the midst of transitioning to new projects that still resonate as some of classic rock’s finest. Stills formed Crosby, Stills and Nash with David Crosby and Graham Nash; Young went solo; and Furay started Poco with, among others, Jim Messina (who produced Last Time Around and played bass on two of the songs). Album highlights include Young’s “I Am a Child” and Furay’s “Kind Woman.”

Listen to the mono version of “Bluebird”

Palmer died in 2004 and Martin passed in 2009. In 2010, Young, Stills and Furay performed together at Young’s annual Bridge School benefit concerts. That led to a brief reunion tour of six dates, with the expectation of more to come. And although Stills and Young have shared the stage on a number of occasions since, no other reunions have occurred.

Buffalo Springfield’s three studio albums were remastered from the original analog tapes for a 2018 box set, What’s That Sound? The Complete Albums Collection with stereo mixes of all three albums originally released on Atco, plus mono mixes for Buffalo Springfield and Buffalo Springfield Again.

Since you’ve read this far, watch Peter Tork introduce the band at the Monterey Pop festival in 1967

Related: Our Album Rewind of Buffalo Springfield Again

Best Classic Bands Staff

7 Comments so far

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  1. steve b
    #1 steve b 28 July, 2019, 17:55

    i hate remastered.they never sound as good as the original.Its just toys they never had in the day the record was made so they like playing around and experimenting

    Reply this comment
  2. darkoverlordofdata
    #2 darkoverlordofdata 15 April, 2020, 11:15

    I totally disagree. When they first moved to cd media, they would just burn the original master, and it sounds muffled. I always replace my cd’s with the remaster.

    Reply this comment
  3. Bob Sled
    #3 Bob Sled 16 April, 2020, 12:16

    Did Neil Young not show up for Monterey? Interestingly, I see David Crosby onstage with the Springfield.

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    • Jeff Tamarkin
      Jeff Tamarkin 16 April, 2020, 12:24

      That’s exactly what happened. Neil had just quit the band so Crosby sat in with Buffalo Springfield for their entire set. You could say that the roots of CSN started right there on that day.

      Reply this comment
    • Randy
      Randy 21 April, 2021, 14:05

      Yes, Neil flaked out and they got Cros to fill in. This pissed the Byrds because David was still a part of them at the time.

      Reply this comment
  4. Da Mick
    #4 Da Mick 12 April, 2022, 14:43

    As Crosby was speeding his brains out, he would have played with anybody and everybody who asked, as long as he could get up on that stage….. The man loved the spotlight, and still does.

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