Top 10 Buffalo Springfield Songs

Buffalo Springfield Songs

Photo:Bob Sanderson (User:Rtsanderson) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Our Top 10 Buffalo Springfield songs list looks at a band that released only three studio albums in the 1960s. However, the three albums had a very deep impact on rock and roll. That impact led the band to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. The band Buffalo Springfield also served as a launching pad for many of the band’s members who would go on to have legendary rock and roll careers over the next 50 years. Buffalo Springfield guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter would go on to form Crosby Stills & Nash and enjoy a successful solo career. Neil Young became one of rock and roll’s most significant artists and spent time as a member of Crosby Stills Nash & Young. Richie Furay would form POCO with Jim Messina and enjoy a solo career.

Buffalo Springfield released three albums in three years, and it was over. Unlike the other bands that fueled the Crosby Stills & Nash supergroup, like The Byrds and The Hollies that continued when they lost their key members, Buffalo Springfield broke up for good in 1968. Buffalo Springfield’s first album, Buffalo Springfield, was released in 1966 and is entitled Buffalo Springfield. Their second album was released in 1967 and is entitled Buffalo Springfield Again. Buffalo Springfield’s final album was released in 1968 called Last Time Around.

The lineup on the band’s first album entitled Buffalo Springfield consisted of Stephen Stills on vocals, guitars, and keyboards, Neil Young on vocals, guitars, harmonica, and piano, Richie Furay on vocals and rhythm guitar, Bruce Palmer on bass guitar, and Dewey Martin on drums and backing vocals. The band’s second and third albums featured the same original members. However, the third album, entitled Last Time Around, featured additional musicians performing on the album, such as Jim Messina, who produced and engineered the album, Jim Fielder, Buddy Miles, Jimmy Karstein, Gary Marker, Jeremy Stuart, Rusty Young, and Richard Davis.

Our top 10 Buffalo Springfield songs are just a subjective list of some of the band’s best material. We hope you enjoy the ride.

# 10 – Nowaday’s, Clancy Can’t Even Sing

There is no better way to start our Top 10 Buffalo Springfield Songs list than with the band’s debut single, “Nowaday’s Clancy Can’t Even Sing.” The song was written by Neil Young during his time in Yorkville in 1965, following a stint of shows in Toronto. This period was marked by Young’s struggling solo ambitions, which found little acclaim. The song’s lyrics serve as a metaphorical expression of Young’s discontent with his faltering music career, drawing inspiration from an unconventional school peer, Ross “Clancy” Smith, who was regarded with fascination by his classmates. This track is celebrated as one of Buffalo Springfield’s hallmark pieces.

Serving as the introductory single for their debut album, the song modestly charted, just missing the Billboard Hot 100 at position 110 and reaching number 75 on the Canadian RPM 100 singles chart. It became a staple in Buffalo Springfield’s live performances, particularly resonating with audiences in Los Angeles where it enjoyed regional acclaim.

Young’s initial demo, recorded for Elektra Records, was later featured on the 2009 compilation “The Archives Vol. 1 1963–1972”. Additionally, a live rendition from Young’s 1968 solo tour was included in “Sugar Mountain – Live at Canterbury House 1968” (2008). The group’s version of the song also appears on compilations such as “Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield” (1969) and their 1973 self-titled album.

# 9 – Four Days Gone

This haunting Buffalo Springfield song was released on the band’s final album, Last Time Around, in 1968. It starts out with great piano comping and a sweet rhythm guitar that wraps around Stephen Stills’ iconic vocal phrasing. I love this one. Stephen Stills wrote the song.

# 8 – A Child’s Claim To Fame

The Buffalo Springfield song “A Child’s Claim To Fame” was released on the band’s second album, Buffalo Springfield Again. Richie Furay wrote the song. While the band performs together, it’s interesting to hear such a contrast in their songs depending on the writer. In this track, you can hear the sound of Furay’s future band, Poco.

# 7 – Flying On The Ground Is Wrong

This great Buffalo Springfield song was released on the band’s debut album in 1966. Neil Young wrote the song. The song’s great major chord minor chord opening is simply tantalizing. The progression throughout the song defines the depths of Neil Young‘s songwriting and serves as a key point in time that demonstrates the potential that was eventually carried out to the max by Neil Young. It was the opening song on side two of their debut album.

# 6 – Expecting To Fly

“Expecting To Fly” is another great track released on the second Buffalo Springfield album, Buffalo Springfield Again. It was written by Neil Young. The song’s long orchestrated opening introduction is spectacular.  At a juncture when Young had temporarily departed from the band, he secured a studio session to lay down the track with external musicians, initially believing the work would contribute to a solo endeavor rather than a Buffalo Springfield project. The orchestral touch, orchestrated by producer Jack Nitzsche, showcases a string ensemble and an English horn, uniquely featuring Young as the sole band member on the recording.

The track found modest success, landing at #98 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968. Young’s live renditions of the song from his nascent solo days are captured in recordings such as “Live at the Riverboat 1969,” “Sugar Mountain – Live at Canterbury House 1968,” and “Live at the Cellar Door.”

# 5 – Broken Arrow

One of Buffalo Springfield’s most famous songs, “Broken Arrow,” was released on the album Buffalo Springfield Again. The song was written by Neil Young and appeared as the closing track on the album. Neil Young has long loved the song and has continued to perform it throughout his career.

# 4 – Bluebird

Stephen Stills composed the excellent Buffalo Springfield song entitled “Bluebird.” The song was released on the Buffalo Springfield Again album. The song “Bluebird,” also featured Charlie Chin on banjo. The song starts out with a tasty short lead guitar lick and then transcends into that groove that features the mesmerizing lead vocals and harmonies that were such a contributing factor to the soul of Buffalo Springfield. That vocal sound would eventually become the defining sound of Crosby Stills Nash & Young.

# 3 – On The Way Home

One of our favorite Buffalo Springfield songs of all time was the opening track on the band’s final album. The great song “On The Way Home,” written by Neil Young, is probably the most underrated song in the band’s catalog. “On the Way Home” was recorded between November 15 and December 13, 1967, at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles, California. The recording features Richie Furay on lead vocals, Bruce Palmer on bass, and Neil Young on piano. Throughout his career, Neil Young has frequently performed “On the Way Home” in various settings, including solo performances as well as with groups such as CSNY, the Transband, and the Bluenotes, showcasing the song’s enduring appeal and versatility in his repertoire.

# 2 – For What It’s Worth

As we close in on our number one spot on our Top 10 Buffalo Springfield songs list, we are faced with choosing between two legendary Buffalo Springfield songs. The excellent track “For What It’s Worth and the equally amazing track “Mr. Soul,” Today we went with Mr. Soul, tomorrow it could be “For What It’s Worth.” Both are just simply stunning pieces of music that have become classic rock staples.

Stephen Stills wrote the Buffalo Springfield song “For What It’s Worth.” The band originally released it as a single in 1966 and added it to the second pressing of their debut album in 1967.

# 1 – Mr. Soul

Neil Young’s masterpiece, “Mr. Soul,” comes in at number one on our top 10 Buffalo Springfield songs list. “Mr. Soul” was released on the Buffalo Springfield album in 1967. The song was the album’s opening track. “Mr. Soul” is a song that Neil Young has performed throughout his long, extraordinary solo career. While he has always focused on his solo albums when performing, this is one that he has always gone back to.

“Mr. Soul” delves into Neil Young’s struggles with the trappings of fame and his indifference towards the allure of rock stardom. The inspiration for the song struck Young after he suffered an epileptic seizure following a Buffalo Springfield performance in San Francisco. This incident bewildered the audience, wondering if it was a staged act. During his recovery at UCLA Medical Center, where he was admitted for observation and further tests, Young penned the song, channeling his near-death experience and introspections into the lyrics. Following this event, Young was strongly cautioned by his physician against the use of LSD and any similar hallucinogenic substances.

 

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