♫ For What It’s Worth ♫

Last week, when Jolly had gone AWOL and I had to settle for a few cartoons on the ‘Jolly Monday’ post, one of the memes I posted was this …meme-1

Well, as you might imagine, the song by Buffalo Springfield has been reverberating within the confines of my skull ever since.

We had some fun last week with songs that were … just for fun.  Tonight feels more … introspective, though … maybe time to get back to reality?  This song … listen to the lyrics and tell me it couldn’t have been written just yesterday?

Written by Buffalo Springfield guitarist Stephen Stills, later of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, this song was not about anti-war gatherings, but rather youth gatherings protesting anti-loitering laws, and the closing of the West Hollywood nightclub Pandora’s Box. Stills was not there when they closed the club, but had heard about it from his bandmates.

In the book Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, Stephen Stills tells the story of this song’s origin:

“I had had something kicking around in my head. I wanted to write something about the kids that were on the line over in Southeast Asia that didn’t have anything to do with the device of this mission, which was unraveling before our eyes. Then we came down to Sunset from my place on Topanga with a guy – I can’t remember his name – and there’s a funeral for a bar, one of the favorite spots for high school and UCLA kids to go and dance and listen to music.

[Officials] decided to call out the official riot police because there’s three thousand kids sort of standing out in the street; there’s no looting, there’s no nothing. It’s everybody having a hang to close this bar. A whole company of black and white LAPD in full Macedonian battle array in shields and helmets and all that, and they’re lined up across the street, and I just went ‘Whoa! Why are they doing this?’ There was no reason for it. I went back to Topanga, and that other song turned into ‘For What It’s Worth,’ and it took as long to write as it took me to settle on the changes and write the lyrics down. It all came as a piece, and it took about fifteen minutes.”

Buffalo Springfield was the band’s first album, and this song was not originally included on it. After For What It’s Worth became a hit single, it replaced Baby Don’t Scold Me on re-issues of the album.

For What It’s Worth
Buffalo Springfield

There’s something happening here
But what it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking’ their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, “hooray for our side”

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away

We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Now, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

Writer/s: Stephen Stills
Publisher: Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

24 thoughts on “♫ For What It’s Worth ♫

  1. Jill, I’m 79. So you know that puts me smack dab in the middle of the Vietnam Mess, Tet, and all the lies and body bags. I was too young, too old, my number didn’t come up. And I marched. And cried for my hometown, Chicago in 1968.
    I’ve had every CSN(Taylor)&Y album, alongside Jefferson Airplane!
    You did a great revival service here with your posting and music.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, this is a great song. Back when the Muppets were in prime time, I remember the show featuring this song one episode. Stills and Young were a great pair with former inviting the latter to join Crosby, Stills and Nash when they needed a better guitarist for large arenas. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just loved this song. I knew it wasn’t war and was just them vs us but it seemed important to have that voice even as it turned out there was no-one really listening. We can’t make that mistake again. (Are you listening DNC). It’s funny, as the song ends it comes up with a grid which includes Buffalo Springfield, Best Hippie Songs of all time part II and forgotten songs of the 60’s which Pictures Mary Hopkin with Those Are The Days My Friend which I shall have to try and remember to listen to later. One of those Welsh singers like Bonnie Tyler I tend to forget.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so glad you liked it! I’ve been batting zero lately where you’re concerned and am happy to be back in your good graces! OH MY … now there’s one I hadn’t thought of in ages … “Those Were the Days …” Hmmmm … I didn’t know Mary Hopkin was Welsh! Stay tuned …
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Eric Burdon recorded it a couple years ago in honour of DJT, but the radio stations gave it no airplay. Guess he has no name recognition in today’s music world.
    As for Buffalo Springfield, they deserved a much better popularity. They helped create the West Coat sound, even though Neil Young was born in Toronto, and grew up in Winnipeg.

    Liked by 1 person

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