The song “For What It’s Worth” was written by Buffalo Springfield group member Stephen Stills. The lyrics have an anti-establishment view, but he song’s inspiration was about anti-loitering laws and the attitude of the police towards young people gathering in crowds in Los Angeles rather than anti-war protests. The particular incident Stephen Stills cites was a rally around the West Hollywood nightclub Pandora’s Box to protest its closing. Police came out in full force to quell and disperse the people in the streets. However, “For What It’s Worth” became a classic sixties protest song.
“For What It’s Worth” was released as a single in January 1967 and rose to #7 on the U.S. Billboard 100. It sold more than one million copies and earned An RIAA gold record. It is also on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Best Songs of All Time.” The band’s first album was titled Buffalo Springfield came out in 1966, and “For What It’s Worth” was not originally on the album. When it became successful, it replaced “Baby Don’t Scold Me” in re-issues.
Buffalo Springfield’s members were from the U.S. and Canada. They had a number of lineups, and members included Richard Furay, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Dewey Martin, Bruce Palmer, Jim Messina, Ken Koblun, and Jim Fiedler. They combined rock, folk, and country music. The name was from a parked steamroller they saw, which was made by the Buffalo-Springfield Roller Company.