30 September 2013

Buffalo Springfield

Buffalo Springfield was an American rock band known for for its music and also because it launched the careers of Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Jim Messina and Richie Furay. They formed in April 1966, coming on the first American wave to follow the "British invasion."

The group combined rock, folk, and country music into its own sound all its own. Its only big million-selling song was "For What It's Worth" which became a political anthem in the turbulent end of the 1960s. But the band had a strong following and got a lot of FM radio airplay for other songs on each of its three albums.

Unfortunately, the blending of musical styles and personalities was not always smooth (especially between Young and Stills). Infighting, drug-related arrests, and line-up changes led to the group's disbanding after just two years.

Three albums and then collections of demos, outtakes and live recordings were issued later.

The members went on to form Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Poco and Loggins and Messina.

The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 (with Young being a no-show).

According to the liner notes on the 4 CD box set, the band got its name from the side of a steamroller, made by the Buffalo-Springfield Roller Company. It was parked on the street outside record producer Barry Friedman's house where Stills and Furay were staying. The newly-named group debuted on April 11, 1966 at The Troubadour in Hollywood and then started a short tour of California as the opening act on a bill featuring The Dillards and The Byrds.


  1. Thank you, I had always wondered about that name

  2. First heard them and fell IN LOVE with them on my summer break listening to an old AM transistor radio in 1966!!!

  3. Thanks. Met Steven Stills when I was 18, at a Mondale rally! He had his guitar and was singing "For What It's Worth!" He supported Mondale against Reagan and so did I! I have never ever voted Republican. Feel the Bern in 2020!

  4. CSN&Y got me through my A levels and degree. I never did say 'Thank you'. THANK YOU.

  5. Its funny how you can try and figure something out and make totally the wrong connection. The two parts of the name add up to a menacing part of the story of the American West. The Springfield rifle was used widely I'm the American Civil War, the Indian wars of the mid nineteenth century and by buffalo hunters as part of the Indian wars along with the Sharps rifle to exterminate the buffalo and destroy the way of life of the Plains Indians of Missouri Territory so they would give up and go live on the reservations. Its a tragic part of the story of the American West for man and beast so I wondered why they would make up such a name. Of course it turns out that wasn't the reason : the Buffalo Springfield monicker came from a steamroller company that came from merging the names of two steamroller companies that combined. Thus tracing the antecedents of names can be logically tricky and one can get quite confused. Fortunately this site has cleared it up for me.

  6. P.S. I never did see the CD cover with the explanation on it so that teaches me not to get involved in obscure speculations !

  7. Buffalo Roadroller was a company in Springfield Ohio.

  8. I've always found it a curious coincidence that Richie Furay was from Yellow Springs, Ohio (where I went to college and where his folks owned a store on the main drag), only about 15 miles south of Springfield, Ohio, home of the Buffalo-Springfield steamroller company. I assumed for years that that was where the group's name came from (Richie's knowing about the name of the company to the north), but not so according to the liner notes. Pretty interesting coincidence nonetheless!


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