When Bizarre Circumstances Brought Together Buffalo Springfield

Buffalo Springfield in 1967
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Michael Ochs Archices/Getty Images

On March 3, 1966, Buffalo Springfield - the band that brought you “For What It’s Worth” - first came into existence. Yes, the majority of the members of the band had already crossed paths in the past, but it’s the way that four out of five of them reunited on that fateful day that sounds like something straight out of a sitcom.

Arguably the two most famous members of Buffalo Springfield were Stephen Stills and Neil Young, a pair who’d first met in Thunder Bay, Ontario while Young was the frontman for a Winnipeg band called The Squires and Stills was playing with a New York folk group called The Company. From that first encounter, the twosome could tell that they had a strong musical chemistry, but as they were both otherwise occupied, they didn’t actually do anything about it at the time.

After wrapping up his tour with The Company, Stills decided to switch coasts, making his way to sunny California, bringing with him his buddy Richie Furay. Young, on the other hand, had since been invited by Bruce Martin to join the Mynah Birds, but the two of them soon found themselves in a predicament when their lead singer, Rick James (yes, that one), was arrested for going AWOL from the U.S. Navy.

Young’s solution to their situation? Get out of Canada, head to L.A., and go searching for Stills.

Dragging Palmer with him, Young and his traveling companion made it to L.A., but since he didn’t actually know how to get in touch with Stills or even the slightest idea where to start looking for him, the duo spent a week searching for him and came up empty. Go figure. With the delightful spontaneity of Young’s plan having backfired, he and Palmer were on their way out of town, heading to San Francisco, when - and hand to heart, this actually happened - they drove past Stills and Furay, who recognized Young’s hard-to-miss 1953 Pontiac hearse, and chased him until they caught up with him.

The next thing you know, Buffalo Springfield was born.

Oh, right, we forgot to mention how Dewey Martin entered the picture: he joined the band on the suggestion of Jim Dickson, The Byrds’ manager, because every band needs a drummer, right?

As history reveals, Buffalo Springfield wasn’t destined to last for the long haul: by May 1968, they’d officially broken up. Fortunately, Stills and Young had further collaborating yet to do, both as the Stills-Young Band and - somewhat more famously - as two out of four members of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

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