Tag Archives: Buffalo Springfield

LA Sunset Strip Riots 1966

LA Sunset Strip Riots 1966

November 12, 1966

Sunset Strip Riots

Pandora’s Box

Jimmy O'Neill hosted the ABC network show Shindig! The show was ABC's attempt to jump on the British Invasion bandwagon after the ratings of its folk-oriented show Hootenanny fell.

O'Neill also ran a nightclub called Pandora's Box on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Though it was 1966, a year after the tipping point that changed America's teenage musical landscape, the club mainly drew a crowd of mostly clean-cut teenagers and twenty-somethings guys wearing pullover sweaters and girls miniskirts.

It and other clubs' popularity with young people walking around and driving nearby caused congestion that local residents and business owners complained about and asked the city government to do something.


Los Angeles passed a 10 PM curfew law targeting teenagers.

On November 12 some young people passed out fliers along the Strip announcing a demonstration there to protest the curfew. 

By most accounts, about 1000 people turned out including a few young celebraties such as Sonny and Cher (whose presence got them kicked out of the Rose Bowl Parade), Jack Nicholson, and  Peter Fonda (who was arrested but released after he said he was simply filming the demonstration).

LA Sunset Strip Riots 1966

LA Sunset Strip Riots 1966

The event began peacefully, but eventually pushing, shoving, and shouting led to police ordering all to leave.

Many didn't and some demonstrators broke store windows. 

Demonstrations continued on and off over the next weeks, but the City of Los Angeles won. It condemned Pandora's Box, claiming that street realignment required its destruction.

On Aug. 3, 1967, a wrecking ball tore it down.

No sign of the triangle occupied by Pandora's remains today; the street rerouting eliminated it.

Fortunately for artists, such popular disruption can lead to inspiration. Stephen Stills said that he wrote "For What It's Worth" in 15 minutes. Though the song today is associated with protesting the Vietnam War, it's source was the LA Sunset Strip Riots.

Others also wrote songs about the protests: Frank Zappa, the Monkees, and The Standells.
    • For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield (1967) Song:

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Pan American Buffalo Springfield

Pan American Buffalo Springfield

April 11, 1966

Pan American Buffalo Springfield
Buffalo Springfield (photo from https://rockhallows.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/the-troubadour/) Top L – R: Stephen Stills, Bruce Palmer, and Rich Fury. Bottom L – R: Neil Young and Dewey Martin.


Used to play
in a rock ‘n’ roll band,
But they broke up.
We were young and we were wild,
It ate us up.

Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield Again

Pan American Buffalo Springfield

Singular Comet

Some bands are like comets. They streak brightly but briefly across our horizon, then leave behind great memories.

On April 11, 1966, the short-lived Buffalo Springfield made their live debut at The Troubadour in Hollywood, California.

They would release three albums:

  • Buffalo Springfield (1966)
  • Buffalo Springfield Again (1967)
  • Last Time Around (1968)

And then they were gone.

Pan American Buffalo Springfield


The first incarnation of the Buffalo Springfield was an international mix: Richie Furay (Ohio) (vocals, guitar), Dewey Martin (Texas) (drums); Bruce Palmer (Ontario) (bass); Stephen Stills (Texas) (vocals, guitar); and Neil Young  (Manitoba) (vocals, guitar)

Stills had first met Neil Young in Canada while Stills was touring there. Bruce Palmer was also from Canada and met Young there. Richie Fury and Stills met in Los Angeles. And when the four of them formed a band they added Dewey Martin.

Their first single was “Go and Say Goodbye” with “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing” as the B-side, but radio DJs perferred Clancy and that became the minor hit on the west coast.

PanAmerican Buffalo Springfield

Nowadays Clancy…

All Music describes Clancy, written by Neil Young, as “a kaleidoscope of emotions and feelings of rejection and alienation that touches nerves in anyone who listens. Young has written 100 other songs that are probably “better” than this, but he’s never written anything else quite like it.”

Clancy was the first song I heard by Springfield. I fell in love with it, but it haunted me because I didn’t even know who it was or the title. When WOR-FM first changed to a rock format they had DJ contract issues and it simply played songs unannounced. Two years later when I went away to college and had to leave my girlfriend behind, I left her a note to open when she got home from leaving me at the airport. It simply read “I miss you now,” a line I’d stolen from the Springfield’s “On the Way Home.”

Pan American Buffalo Springfield

Buffalo Springfield departs

Despite its great music, the members often had poor chemistry. The government deported Bruce Palmer for drug possession. Neil Young left for artistic issues. Fill-in members came and went.

The band played its last gig at the Long Beach Arena on May 5, 1968.

Pan American Buffalo Springfield

Buffalo Springfield branches out

Of course members went on to great things. Stephen Still to Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and occasionally Young). Neil Young to a still successful solo career with nearly as many variations as David Bowie. Furay and Jim Messina (a late Springfield member) were founding members of Poco. Furay later joined J.D. Souther and Chris Hillman to form the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, and Messina teamed with Kenny Loggins in Loggins & Messina.

In other words, the Buffalo Springfield members have  made a lot of great music beside what they first offered.

On  May 6, 1997, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted them in the first ceremony held at the Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland.

On November 24, 2010, the Buffalo Springfield got back together at the Bridge School Benefit Concert 2010. Original members Neil Young, Richie Furay, and Steven Stills with Rick Rosas on bass and Joe Vitale on drums


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December 5 Music Contrasts

December 5 Music Contrasts

What was #1 on Billboard sometimes offers an interesting cultural contrast and December 5 in the 60s does just that. From Bonanza's TV star Lorne Greene singing his cowboy song Ringo, to the fresh-faced California Beach Boys in concert, to a group of "hippies" singing about confusion and distrust of the status quo.

December 5 Music Contrasts

Lorne Greene
December 5 Music Contrasts
Lorne Greene on Bonanza
December 5 – 11, 1964: “Ringo” by Lorne Greene #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. A "one-hit-wonder" the song only stayed at #1 for a week. Lorne Greene stuck around as a successful actor much longer.

Though there was an actual outlaw Johnny Ringo, the song's story is not an accurate one. The country song became a hit on both the pop and easy listening charts before the country charts. That was unusual. Don Robertson and Hal Blair wrote the song.  

The fact that a certain very popular band had a very popular drummer by the same name encouraged RCA to release the song.

Beach Boys

December 5 Music Contrasts
Beach Boys 1965
December 5, 1964 – January 1, 1965:  The Beach Boys Beach Boys Concert was the Billboard #1 album. It would stay there nearly a month. Brian had not yet decided to go psychedelic.

The concert album was not quite as "live" as one would have thought. Vocals are overdubbed. Most of the album was part of a 1964 Sacramento concert (as advertised), but a couple of the songs were from December 1963. There were other studio enhancements as well. 

Keep in mind that Beatlemania and the British Invasion were at their height by December 1964, but the Beach Boys' popularity kept this album #1 for four weeks!

Buffalo Springfield

December 5 a contrast in music
Dewey Martin, Jim Messina, Neil Young, Rich Fury, and Stephen Stills
December 5, 1966 – On this date, the Buffalo Springfield recorded “For What It’s Worth." It will be released on January 9, 1967.  They wrote it as a protest to the way the LA Police were treating teen-agers, not an anti-war song, but it became one nonetheless and an anthem to many of the Baby Boomer generation.

For a larger explanation about the song's origins, see Sunset Strip Riots

A very thorough piece on the song >>> For What It's Worth, explained


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