Years: March 1966 - 1968
Styles: Country, Folk, Psychedelic Rock
Dewey Martin - Backing vocals, Drums, Vocals (in band: 1966 – 1968)
Bruce Palmer - Bass Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1966 – 1968)
Neil Young - Backing vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Lead guitar, Lead vocals, Piano, Rhythm guitar, Vocals (in band: 1966 – 1968; 2010 – 2012)
Richie Furay - Backing vocals, Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar, Vocals (in band: 1966 – 1968; 2010–2012)
Stephen Stills - Backing vocals, Handclips, Keyboards, Lead guitar, Lead vocals, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Rhythm guitar, Vibes, Vocals (in band: 1966 – 1968; 2010–2012)
Doug Hastings - Guitar (in band: 1967)
Jim Messina - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar, Lead vocals (in band: 1968)
Jim Fielder - Bass Guitar (in band: 1968)
Ken Koblun - Bass Guitar (in band: May 1967 - September 1967)
Buffalo Springfield was an American-Canadian rock band, formed in Los Angeles in 1966. Their original lineup included Stephen Stills (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Dewey Martin (drums, vocals), Bruce Palmer (electric bass), Richie Furay (guitar, vocals), and Neil Young (guitar, harmonica, piano, vocals).
The first Buffalo Springfield single, "Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing", was released in August but made little impact outside of 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 originally released by Atlantic's subsidiary Atco in mono and in stereo in December 1966. A revamped version (see below) issued both in mono and stereo with a different track order, came in March 1967.
The band themselves were displeased with this record, feeling that the production did not capture their on-stage energy and excitement. Yet to most ears, this debut sounds pretty great, featuring some of their most melodic and accomplished songwriting and harmonies, delivered with a hard-rocking punch. Stephen Stills' "Go and Say Goodbye" was a pioneering country-rock fusion; his "Sit Down I Think I Love You" was the band at their poppiest and most early Beatlesque; and his "Everybody's Wrong" and "Pay the Price" were tough rockers.
Although Neil Young has only two lead vocals on the record (Richie Furay sang three other Young compositions), he's already a songwriter of great talent and enigmatic lyricism, particularly on "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing," "Out of My Mind," and "Flying on the Ground Is Wrong." The entire album bursts with thrilling guitar and vocal interplay, with a bright exuberance that would tone down considerably by their second record. [Some reissues present both mono and stereo mixes of the album, and include "Baby Don't Scold Me" (which was on the first pressing of the record, but was soon replaced by "For What It's Worth").
Pioneering the folk rock genre, Buffalo Springfield, along with the Byrds, combined elements of folk and country music with British invasion influences into their early works. Their second studio album, "Buffalo Springfield Again", marked their progression to psychedelia and hard rock.
Due in part to personnel problems which saw Bruce Palmer and Neil Young in and out of the group, Buffalo Springfield's second album did not have as unified an approach as their debut. Yet it doesn't suffer for that in the least -- indeed, the group continued to make major strides in both their songwriting and arranging, and this record stands as their greatest triumph. Stephen Stills' "Bluebird" and "Rock & Roll Woman" were masterful folk-rockers that should have been big hits (although they did manage to become small ones); his lesser-known contributions "Hung Upside Down" and the jazz-flavored "Everydays" were also first-rate. Young contributed the Rolling Stones-derived "Mr. Soul," as well as the brilliant "Expecting to Fly" and "Broken Arrow," both of which employed lush psychedelic textures and brooding, surrealistic lyrics that stretched rock conventions to their breaking point.
Richie Furay (who had not written any of the songs on the debut) takes tentative songwriting steps with three compositions, although only "A Child's Claim to Fame," with its memorable dobro hooks by James Burton, meets the standards of the material by Stills and Young; the cut also anticipates the country-rock direction of Furay's post-Springfield band, Poco. Although a slightly uneven record that did not feature the entire band on several cuts, the high points were so high and plentiful that its classic status cannot be denied.
The internal dissension that was already eating away at Buffalo Springfield's dynamic on their second album came home to roost on their third and final effort, "Last Time Around". This was in some sense a Buffalo Springfield album in name but not in spirit, as the songwriters sometimes did not even play on cuts written by other members of the band. Neil Young's relatively slight contribution was a particularly tough blow. He wrote only two of the songs (though he did help Richie Furay write "It's So Hard to Wait"), both of which were outstanding: the plaintive "I Am a Child" and the bittersweet "On the Way Home" (sung by Furay, not Young, on the record).
The rest of the ride was bumpier: Stephen Stills' material in particular was not as strong as it had been on the first two LPs, though the lovely Latin-flavored "Pretty Girl Why," with its gorgeous guitar work, is one of the group's best songs. Furay was developing into a quality songwriter with the orchestrated "The Hour of Not Quite Rain" and his best Springfield contribution, the beautiful ballad "Kind Woman," which became one of the first country-rock standards. But it was a case of not enough, too late, not only for Furay, but for the group as a whole.
After various drug-related arrests and line-up changes, the group decided to break 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 had launched his successful solo career and reunited with Stills in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in 1969.
In 1997, Buffalo Springfield was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, although Young did not appear at the ceremony. Stephen Stills was also inducted that day as part of Crosby, Stills & Nash, who performed "For What it's Worth" with Tom Petty on behalf of the band. Stills is the only artist to be inducted twice in the same year.
1. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Springfield#Discography
2. All Music Guide to Rock. The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop and Soul. 3rd Edition 2002. Edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Published by Backbeat Books, page 155 - Richie Unterberger
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