Saturday, March 07, 2009

Rock of Ages: Buffalo Springfield - "For What It's Worth" (1967)

"There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear." The paranoia of the 60's is best summed up in Buffalo Springfield's opening line in their transcendent protest song "For What It's Worth." As much as the song is used over and over again in anything dealing with the Vietnam War and the 60's, it just shows the power of it's message. Buffalo Springfield, which was a short lived group, left a huge mark on the world of rock and roll with this folky, psychedelic anthem. The band, which consisted of some of rocks best including Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Jim Messina, creates a perfect piece of psych folk. Neil Young's wailing guitar, Messina and Stills backing rhythm section and the all to famous chorus are memorable enough, but the song spoke to a generation and is still to this day something that speaks volumes.

The song is apparently about a specific account of a run in with police and youths in a club on the Sunset Strip. Somehow these clashes with youth rebellion and "the man" spoke beyond just a single incident and showed the general air of paranoia and the lack of trust among the youth culture and the powers at be. It became an anthem for the 60's just as much as Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" or The Beatles "Revolution. It's also a damn good song musically. The careers of Young, Stills and Messina would go beyond this super group and would output some of the generations best music. It all started with Buffalo Springfield and their first, transcendental single. It's truly timeless and is just as important today as it was in 1966.

Up Next: Jimi Hendrix hears name's in the wind... and it's not Gale.

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