The “Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(Stephen Stills)

Atco 6559

No. 7   March 25, 1967

On May 6, 1997, Buffalo Springfield was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.   The group never

old millions of records, never had a number-one hit, and never earned a gold, or even a platinum record.

But, Buffalo Springfield is legendary .. .


‘”For What It’s Worth” that’s what people know of us,” said RICHIE FURAY to Goldmine’s John Einarson.

“It’s the anthem of the ’60s because it summed up the feelings of the ’60s, the restlessness.. . :


These seminal folk-rockers were originally known as the Herd, until someone spotted, on the back of a

parked steamroller, the name “Buffalo Springfield.”   The initial inspiration for the band seems to have

come from guitarist Steve Stills (b. Jan. 3, 1945, Dallas), a member of the New York-based Au Go Go

Singers.   With the latter group’s break-up, Stills headed for L.A.   Once there, he phoned a fellow ex-Go

Go, Richie Furay (b. May 9, 1944, Dayton, OH), asking him to come out and play rhythm guitar for a new

group he was think­ ing of forming.


Legend has it that on April 6, 1966, Stills and Furay, while stuck in a traffic jam, spotted a black hearse

with Canadian license plates.   On closer inspection, Stills identified the driver as guitarist Neil Young (b.

Nov. 12, 1945, Toronto), a member of the Squires– whom Stills had met in Canada.   In Young’s company

was a fellow Canadian, bassist Bruce Palmer, formerly with Capitol of Canada’s Jack London & The

Sparrows.   “The most remarkable karmic event ever,” said Palmer to Gold­mine of the synergistic meeting.


Now all that the new supergroup needed was an extraordinary drummer.   For a moment, that seat was

filled by Billy Mundi, later of the Mothers of Invention and Rhinoceros.   Enter Dewey Martin (b. Walter

Dwayne Midlkiff, Sept. 30, 1952, Chesterville, Canada), formerly of the Dillards and the Modern Folk

Quartet.   Martin had worked in Nashville with FARON YOUNG and Patsy Cline; recorded a half dozen 45s

with Sir Raleigh & The Coupons.


“The very beginning was the best,” said Furay.   “The original five of us, as far as I’m concerned had the

magic.   There was a connection that cannot be put into words.   We were all so different, and yet we were

all made to make that music at that particular time.”


After a seven day hold-up in the dingy Hollywood Center Motel–compliments of their momentary man­ager

Barry Friedman–Buffalo Springfield became the house band at L.A:s Whiskey a Go-Go, where they were

soon spotted by SONNY & Cher’s ex-managers, Charlie Green and Brian Stone. “The first week at the

Whiskey was absolutely incredible,” said Stills to John Einarson, co-author of For What It’s Worth, the

book.   “That’s when we peaked and after then it was down hill.”


Personality frictions were built into the very make-up of the band.   “The Buffalo Springfield was Steve’s

band,” said Furay.   “He was the heart and soul of the band.   Steve was the leader, always.”   Other’s

didn’t see things that way; in particular, Neil Young.


Meanwhile, Green and Stone secured a recording contract for the guys with Atco–featuring an unheard of

$12,000 advance.   Although it was a fine track, not many people picked up on the group’s debut single,

Young’s “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing.”   “Unfortu­nately,” said Greene, ‘”Clancy’ was too

sophisticated for AM radio.   When ‘Clancy’ bombed, we all panicked,” said Furay.   “We really began to

have communication problems and grew further and further apart.”


The follow-up was a Stills number inspired by an altercation on Sunset Strip on November 12, 1966 near

Pandora’s Box, when tensions peaked between teens and the community’s businesses. “For What It’s

Worth,” featuring Neil Young’s sinister-sounding lead guitar, brought the group immediate fame as well as

a nation­al following.


Their first album, Buffalo Springfield (1967), had included “Clancy” and this biggie, but had not sold well,

despite favorable reviews; with the success of “For What It’s Worth,” the LP took off.


“The band was that first album, and it was never captured again,” Furay told Einarson.   “After that it

started to fall apart”


“We were still looking for the commercial single,” said Furay, “and it never happened. ‘Bluebird’ didn’t do

very well and ‘Rock and Roll Women’ did even worse.  This was all a big let down for us. Had maybe a hit

sin­gle appeared, it may have been a different story.”


By the release of their second album (Buffalo Springfield Again) in late 1967, Palmer was gone, having

been deported for a visa violation.   He was replaced by Jim Fielder–session man for FRANK ZAPPA and

Tim Buckley and later a member of Blood, Sweat & Tears.   Young, departed briefly, and Doug Hastings

with the Daily Flash stepped in.   Young soon returned, Hastings left, and the group’s recording engineer,

Jim Messina­ a future member of Loggins & Messina and former member of the Jesters–took over bass and

vocal duties for Fielder.


With internal dissension and acrimonious ex­changes everpresent, Buffalo members rarely were spotted in

the same recording studio together.   “Every guy had his songs, his studio time, and his frame of mind,”

said Martin to the author.   In order to finish the LP, Furay and Messina shifted through tapes left behind,

applied overdubs, and brought in sidemen, as steel guitarist Rusty Young.   By the end of 1968, Buffalo

Springfield’s final package, Last Time Around, was issued–posthumously.   Their last appearance was at

the Long Beach Sports Arena, on May 5, 1968.


Stills joined ex-Byrd David Crosby and ex-Hollie GRAHAM NASH in the formation of Crosby, Stills &

Nash–later Young would also join the act.  Young set up a multi-decade solo career with his back-up band,

Crazy Horse.   Furay and Messina formed Poco, forged a solo career and occupied the SOUTHER,

HILLMAN, FURAY BAND; while Martin made a vain effort to keep the “Buffalo Springfield” name alive

with three new members.  This pseudo-version of the group never recorded, and Dewey embarked on an

unsuccessful solo career.



“We were good, even great,” said Young.   “When we started out, we thought we would be together forever.

But we were just too young to be patient, and I was the worst.”