Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Band who formed with the help of a traffic jam: Buffalo Springfield

Just like in any aspect of life, the truth seems odder than any fiction. In the case of Buffalo Springfield, who today marks the 45th anniversary of it's forming, it was a traffic jam that helped solidify their lineup.

The story begins in 1965 when Stephen Stills met Nail Young at a club in Ontario. At the time, Stills was playing with "The Company" which was a spin off of "Au Go Go Singers". At that time Young was playing with The Squires, a group that he had been with for over two years.  The meeting must have been a positive experience for the both of them as they expressed a desire to work together.

Stills went to LA at the beginning of 66' and began to assemble a group, first by inviting Ritchie Furay who was also a former member of the "Au Go Go Singers". Young had been invited by Bruce Palmer to join the group, "The Mynah Birds" and had plans to record an album when singer Ricky James Matthews (known to music fans much later as Rick James) had been arrested by the U.S. Navy for going AWOL. With the plans now in the dump, they decided to head to LA to track down Stills.

According to legend, Stills and Furay were stuck in LA traffic when they spotted Young car headed the other way stuck in traffic as well. The story seems perfectly feasible since being stuck in LA traffic seems to be a normal occurrence, not to mention that Young's vehicle would be easy to spot since it was a black 1953 Pontiac hearse! Furay made an illegal U-turn and the two of them attempted to wave Young down. The result was them meeting again and deciding to work together as a band.

Buffalo Springfield is probably better known for the future success of it's members with other bands, but all three of the albums they recorded are worth seeking out. Our video for the day is their best known song from early 1967, "For What It's Worth" (at the Monterrey Pop Festival)



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