Posts Tagged ‘Dewey Martin’

Buffalo Springfield Album Art

Before playing their final show on May 5th, 1968, Buffalo Springfield released three studio albums on ATCO during an intense, two-year creative burst. Those albums – Buffalo Springfield, Buffalo Springfield Again, and Last Time Around have all been newly remastered from the original analog tapes under the auspices of Neil Young for the new boxed set: WHAT’S THAT SOUND? THE COMPLETE ALBUMS COLLECTION.

The set includes stereo mixes of all three albums, plus mono mixes for Buffalo Springfield and Buffalo Springfield Againand all  will be available on June 29th from Rhino Records as a five-CD set. High resolution streaming and downloads will be available through www.neilyoungarchives.com.

On the same date, the albums will also be released for the first time ever on 180-gram vinyl as part of a limited-edition set of 5,000 copies . The 5-LP box features the same mono and stereo mixes as the CD set, presented in sleeves and gatefolds that faithfully re-create the original releases.

Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin played their first show together as Buffalo Springfield in 1966. The same year, the band recorded and released its self-titled debut, which included the iconic protest song, “For What It’s Worth,” featuring lyrics as poignant now as they were then, in addition to standouts like “Burned,” “Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It,” and the band’s first single, “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing.”

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

When Last Time Around came out in July 1968, the band members were in the midst of transitioning to new projects: Stills famously joined David Crosby and Graham Nash in CSN; Young went solo; and Furay started Poco with Jim Messina, who produced Last Time Around and played bass on two of the songs. Highlights abound on the album with Young’s “I Am A Child,” Furay’s “Kind Woman” and Stills’ “Uno Mundo.”

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Fifty years ago this Saturday, Stephen Stills, then a member of Buffalo Springfield, was on his way into Hollywood to hear some live music on the Sunset Strip. But in one of those defining rock & roll moments, what he encountered was a rally: hundreds, if not thousands, of kids protesting about a new curfew and the imminent closing of one club, Pandora’s Box, by way of a fake “funeral” for it.

“The commercial merchants on Sunset Boulevard in a certain area decided that the element of young people on the street every night was not conducive to commercial enterprise,” Stills said in a 1971 interview. “A bunch of kids got together on a street corner and said we aren’t moving. About three busloads of Los Angeles police showed up, who looked very much like storm troopers. … And I looked at it and said, ‘Jesus, America is in great danger.'”

Within weeks of this event, Stills had written – and Buffalo Springfield had recorded a song inspired by that night, “For What It’s Worth.” With its emphasis on Stills‘ spooked voice, drummer Dewey Martin’s ominous snare drum and Neil Young’s warning-bell two-note guitar part in the verse, the track became the band’s only hit, peaking at Number Seven in the spring of 1967. Yet equally striking was its sound: The eerily quiet song captured the uneasy mood of the moment that extended beyond Los Angeles to Vietnam, and lyrics about “a man with a gun over there” and “young people speaking their minds/Getting so much resistance from behind” were the sound of the rock counterculture cementing its socially conscious voice.

“For What It’s Worth” has transcended its origin story to become one of pop’s most-covered protest songs – a sort of “We Shall Overcome” of its time, its references to police, guns and paranoia remaining continually relevant. The Staple Singers were among the first to cover it, in 1967, but since then, it’s been recorded by a mind-bendingly diverse number of acts: Ozzy Osbourne turned it into a grim stomper, Lucinda Williams into a ghostly ballad, Kid Rock into a classic-rock homage, Rush into a swirling soundscape, Led Zeppelin (in live bootlegs) into languid blues. (Robert Plant also cut a version with his pre-Zep band, Band of Joy.) Public Enemy even sampled it on 1996’s “He Got Game.”

According to BMI, the song’s publishing house, “For What It’s Worth” been played 8 million times on TV and radio since its release. In 2014, it came in at number three on Rolling Stone’s readers poll of the best protest songs. “The way it’s written, it’s so open to interpretation,” says Heart’s Ann Wilson, who released a cover last year on her first EP with side project the Ann Wilson Thing. “It’s so open that it’s brand new today. The main hook, ‘Everybody look what’s going down’ – you can apply that, to say, the current election. The song is going, ‘What the hell is this?’ You can apply the song to any situation in any decade.”

By 1966, the situation in Los Angeles was tense. An increasing number of club goers was descending on the Strip, irritating area residents and upscale boutiques, and the LAPD instigated a 10 p.m. curfew for anyone under 18. On the night of November 12th, a local radio station announced there would be a protest at Pandora’s Box. According to reports, a fight broke out for reasons having nothing to do with the curfew; a car carrying a group of Marines was bumped by another vehicle. Egged on by that fight, the protesters (some of whom carried placards that read “We’re Your Children! Don’t Destroy Us”) trashed a city bus and threw bottles and rocks at storefronts.
Approximately 1000 young music fans gathered at the Pandora’s Box club on Sunset Strip to protest a 10pm curfew imposed by local residents during the The “hippie riots” in L.A. on November 12th, 1966.
“It was really four different things intertwined, including the war and the absurdity of what was happening on the Strip,” Stills later told The Los Angeles Times. “But I knew I had to skedaddle and headed back to Topanga Canyon, where I wrote my song in about 15 minutes.” The folk-blues feel of the song harked back to Stills‘ days in the Greenwich Village folk scene.
As anyone who’s heard it knows, the phrase “for what it’s worth” appears nowhere in the song. According to one legend, Stills played it for one of the group’s managers, prefacing it with, “Let me play you a song, for what it’s worth.” Buffalo Springfield singer-guitarist Richie Furay recalls he, Stills, and Young playing new material for Atlantic’s Ahmet Ertegun, a major supporter of the Springfield. “Ahmet had come to Los Angeles and we were at Stephen’s house,” Furay recalls. “At the end of the day, Stephen said, ‘I have another one, for what it’s worth.'”
On December 5th, only a few weeks after the Strip mayhem, the Springfield went into an L.A. studio to lay down the song in a one-day session. Young credited engineer Stan Ross with the song’s spare, almost sinister arrangement. “Stan came in and said, ‘You gotta do this one thing to the drum, the snare,'” Young said in Jimmy McDonough’s bio “Shakey”. “Took a broom, a guitar pick and mixed that in so it’s got that sound – of a guitar pick going through a broom, on the straw. That was it.” Added Stills later, “Neil came up with the wonderful harmonics part with the vibrato. The combination of the two guitar parts, with my scared little voice, made the record.”
Furay admits he didn’t hear anything special in the song at first: “I was more into the electric work, like ‘Bluebird’ and ‘Rock & Roll Woman,’ that phase of where we were,” he says. “I didn’t hear it, but Stephen felt the pulse of it and there you go.”
Everyone else knew the song was special, and the single was rush-released with an amended title, “(Stop, Hey What’s That Sound) For What It’s Worth,” at Ertegun’s suggestion. The song was also added into new pressings of the band’s first album, replacing another Stills original, “Baby Don’t Scold Me.”