Buffalo Springfield was a Canadian-American rock band active from 1966 to 1968 containing Stephen Stills, Neil Young, and Richie Furay, which released three albums, and several singles including "For What It's Worth". The band combined elements of folk and country music with British invasion and psychedelia influences, and, along with the Byrds, were part of the early development of the folk rock genre.
With a name taken from a brand of steamroller, Buffalo Springfield formed in Los Angeles in 1966 with Stills (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Dewey Martin (drums, vocals), Bruce Palmer (electric bass), Furay (guitar, vocals), and Young (guitar, harmonica, piano, vocals). The band signed to Atlantic Records in 1966 and released their debut single "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing" – a regional hit in Los Angeles. The following January, the group released the protest song they were most known for, "For What It's Worth". Their second album, Buffalo Springfield Again, marked their progression to psychedelia and hard rock.
After various drug-related arrests and line-up changes, the group broke up in 1968. Stephen Stills went on to form the folk rock supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash with David Crosby of the Byrds and Graham Nash of the Hollies. Neil Young launched his solo career and later joined Stills in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in 1969. Furay, along with Jim Messina, went on to form the country-rock band Poco. Buffalo Springfield was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
Neil Young and Stephen Stills met in 1965, at the Fourth Dimension in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Young was there with the Squires, a Winnipeg group he had been leading since February 1963, and Stills was on tour with The Company, a spin-off from the Au Go Go Singers. When Stills' band broke up at the end of that tour, he moved to the West Coast, where he worked as a session musician and auditioned unsuccessfully for, among other things, the Monkees. Told by record producer Barry Friedman there would be work available if he could assemble a band, Stills invited fellow Au Go Go Singers alumnus Richie Furay and former Squires bass player Ken Koblun to come join him in California. Both agreed, although Koblun chose to leave before very long and joined the group 3's a Crowd.
In early 1966 in Toronto, Young met Bruce Palmer, a Canadian who was playing bass for a group called the Mynah Birds. In need of a lead guitarist, Palmer invited Young to join the group, and Young accepted. The Mynah Birds were set to record an album for Motown Records when their singer Ricky James Matthews (James Ambrose Johnson, Jr.) (later known as Rick James) was tracked down and arrested by the U.S. Navy for being AWOL. With their record deal canceled, Young and Palmer headed for Los Angeles, where they encountered Stills.
Drummer Dewey Martin, who had played with garage rock group the Standells and country artists such as Patsy Cline and the Dillards, joined at the suggestion of the Byrds' manager, Jim Dickson. The group's name was taken from a brand of steamroller made by the Buffalo-Springfield Roller Company. The new group debuted on April 11, 1966, at The Troubadour in Hollywood. A few days later, they began a short tour of California as the opening act for the Dillards and the Byrds.
Management and first recordings
Chris Hillman persuaded the owners of the Whisky a Go Go to give the band an audition. Buffalo Springfield essentially became the house band at the Whisky for seven weeks, from May 2 to June 18, 1966. This series of concerts solidified the band's reputation for live performances and attracted interest from a number of record labels. It also brought an invitation from Friedman to Dickie Davis, who had been lighting manager for the Byrds, to become involved in the group's management. In turn, Davis sought advice from Sonny & Cher's management team, Charlie Greene and Brian Stone; unbeknownst to Davis and Friedman, Greene and Stone then aggressively pitched themselves to the band to be their new managers. Friedman was fired, and Davis was made the group's tour manager. Greene and Stone made a deal with Ahmet Ertegün of Atlantic Records for a four-album contract with a $12,000 advance, following a brief bidding war with Elektra Records and Warner Bros. Records, and arranged for the band to start recording at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood.
The first Buffalo Springfield single, "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing", was released in August but made little impact outside Los Angeles, where it reached the Top 25. Young and Stills have long maintained that their own mono mix was superior to the stereo mix engineered by Greene and Stone. The album, eponymously titled Buffalo Springfield, was released by Atlantic's subsidiary Atco in mono and in stereo in December 1966. A revamped version issued both in mono and stereo with a different track order, came in March 1967.
In November 1966, Stills composed "For What It's Worth" in response to a protest that turned into a riot following the closing of a nightclub called Pandora's Box on Sunset Strip. The song was performed on Thanksgiving night at the Whisky a Go Go, recorded within the next few days, and on the air in Los Angeles on radio station KHJ soon afterwards. By March 1967, it was a Top Ten hit. Atco took advantage of this momentum by replacing the song "Baby Don't Scold Me" with "For What It's Worth" and re-releasing the album. "For What It's Worth" sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.,
Lineup changes and breakup
In January 1967, Palmer was deported for possession of marijuana. A number of different bassists were used, such as Mike Barnes, and Jim Fielder of the Mothers of Invention. Under these conditions work on the new album, tentatively titled Stampede, was markedly tense. Ever distrustful of Greene and Stone, Young and Stills bickered between themselves, and each insisted on producing the recording sessions for his own compositions. Furay, who had not written any songs for the first album, contributed three songs for this one.
Palmer returned to the group at the beginning of June, while Young was temporarily absent. (Guitarist Doug Hastings filled in for Young during this period.) The band, with David Crosby sitting in for Young, played the Monterey Pop Festival. Young returned in October, and the band severed ties with Greene and Stone, then divided its time between playing gigs and finalising the second album, ultimately titled Buffalo Springfield Again. Produced by Ertegün, Buffalo Springfield Again was released in November 1967. It includes "Mr. Soul", "Rock & Roll Woman", "Bluebird", "Sad Memory", and "Broken Arrow". The band toured as support for the Beach Boys during early 1968. In January 1968, after Palmer was again deported for drug possession, Jim Messina, who had worked as engineer on the band's second album, was hired as a permanent replacement on bass. During this period Young began to appear less and less frequently, and he often left Stills to handle all the lead guitar parts at concerts. Recording sessions were booked, and all the songs that appeared on their final album were recorded by the end of March, usually with Messina producing. In April 1968, Young, Furay, and Messina were arrested for disturbing the peace after making too much noise during a party with Eric Clapton. Following a gig at the Long Beach Arena on May 5, 1968, the band held a meeting with Ertegun to arrange their breakup – Stills and Furey staying with Atlantic, Young going to Warner Brothers. Furay and Messina then compiled various tracks recorded between mid-1967 and early 1968 into the third and final studio album, Last Time Around (1968).
New Buffalo Springfield and full band reunion
Martin formed a new version of Buffalo Springfield in September 1968. Dubbed New Buffalo Springfield, the lineup consisted of guitarists Dave Price (Davy Jones's stand-in with the Monkees), Gary Rowles (son of jazz pianist Jimmy Rowles), bass player Bob Apperson, drummer Don Poncher, and horn player Jim Price, who later became a top session musician for Delaney Bramlett, the Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, and others.
The new band toured extensively and appeared at the highly publicized "Holiday Rock Festival" in San Francisco on December 25–26, 1968, but soon fell afoul of Stills and Young, who took legal action to prevent Martin from using the band's name.
In February 1969, Martin and Dave Price formed a second version of New Buffalo Springfield with guitarist Bob "BJ" Jones and bass player Randy Fuller, brother of the late Bobby Fuller. The band made some recordings with producer Tom Dowd overseeing, but they were scrapped. Another guitarist, Joey Newman, was added in June 1969, but two months later Martin was fired, and the remaining members carried on as Blue Mountain Eagle. Martin then formed a new group called Medicine Ball, which released a lone album in 1970 for Uni Records. Martin also released two solo singles, one for Uni and one for RCA, which didn't appear on the album. During the 1970s, he retired from the music industry and became a car mechanic.
In 1984, Bruce Palmer teamed up with Frank Wilks and Stan Endersby to form the "Buffalo Springfield Revisited" Band. Dewey Martin was brought up to Toronto, Ontario, Canada to join in the band, and off they went on tour for the next four, almost five years under this band name. Neil Young and Stephen Stills gave the BSR permission to tour with this name. In February 1986, a full reunion of Palmer, Martin, Furay, Young and Stills all gathered together at Stills house two times to rehearse for an apparent reunion tour. By the third proposed get together, Young didn't show up. He had apparently forgotten about it, according to Neil, thus ending the reunion. However, one of the two rehearsals was preserved on video and would be the last time all five original members would be seen together. By 1989/90 Bruce Palmer and Frank Wilkes moved to Topanga, CA where Dennis Knicely joined as percussionist. in 1991 they started "White Buffalo" along with Dewey Martin and others.
On his album Silver & Gold (2000), Young sang of his desire to reform the group and to "see those guys again and give it a shot" (Buffalo Springfield Again). A full reunion is no longer a possibility, with the deaths of Palmer in 2004 and Martin in 2009. Surviving Buffalo Springfield members Young, Stills, and Furay reunited at the annual Bridge School Benefit concerts on October 23 and 24, 2010, in Mountain View, California. Rolling Stone called the performance "nostalgic, blissful, and moving." 
Buffalo Springfield reunited for six concerts starting in Oakland on June 1, 2011, followed by dates in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, before moving on to play the 2011 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. The band consisted of Furay, Stills, and Young, with the lineup completed by Rick Rosas and Joe Vitale. According to Furay and a band spokesman, the group was supposed to do a full tour in 2012, but this was put on hold, because Young was recording two new albums with Crazy Horse. On February 27, 2012, Furay announced that the band is on indefinite hiatus.
Stills went on to form Crosby, Stills & Nash with David Crosby of the Byrds and Graham Nash of the Hollies, in 1968. Young launched his solo career; in 1969 he reunited with Stills in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young ("CSNY"). Furay and Messina formed Poco. After CSNY, Stills joined with Hillman (after his stint with the Flying Burrito Brothers) and others to form the group Manassas from 1971 to 1973. Furay later joined J.D. Souther and Chris Hillman to form the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, and Messina teamed with Kenny Loggins in Loggins & Messina.
In 1997, Buffalo Springfield was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A Neil Young assembled four-disc box set, Buffalo Springfield, was released in 2001.
- Former members
- Richie Furay – guitar, vocals (1966–1968, 2010–2012)
- Stephen Stills – guitar, keyboards, vocals (1966–1968, 2010–2012)
- Neil Young – guitar, harmonica, piano, vocals (1966–1968, 2010–2012)
- Dewey Martin – drums, vocals (1966–1968; died 2009)
- Bruce Palmer – bass (1966–1968; died 2004)
- Jim Messina – bass (1968)
- Ken Koblun – bass (1966)
- Jim Fielder – bass (1967)
- Doug Hastings – guitar (1967)
- Additional musicians
- Joe Vitale – drums, vocals (2010–2012)
- Rick Rosas – bass (2010–2012; died 2014)
Buffalo Springfield Again
Last Time Around
Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield
Buffalo Springfield (box set)
|1966||"Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing"
b/w "Go and Say Goodbye"
b/w "Everybody's Wrong"
|1967||"For What It's Worth" †
b/w "Do I Have to Come Right Out and Say It"
b/w "Mr. Soul"
|58||Buffalo Springfield Again|
|"Rock 'n' Roll Woman"
b/w "A Child's Claim to Fame"
|"Expecting to Fly"
|105*||Last Time Around|
b/w "Kind Woman"
|"On the Way Home"
b/w "Four Days Gone"
* Bubbling under, does not qualify as actually 'making' the Billboard Hot 100 chart
† Track added to second pressing of debut album and subsequent reissues, not on original version
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