Monday, August 22, 2011

Music Monday ~ The Song Not the Singer ~ For What It's Worth. + Stephen Stills, Neil Young

For What It's Worth, written in 1966 by Stephen Stills for his then band Buffalo Springfield (members: Stills, Richie Furay, Neil Young, Dewey Martin and Bruce Palmer). Strange title, quite unrelated to the song's subject matter. The song is more easily recognised by the lines "hey, what's that sound
everybody look what's going down."
The story goes (from Wikipedia)
Stills said in an interview that the name of the song came about when he presented it to the record company executive Ahmet Ertegun who signed Buffalo Springfield to the Atlantic Records-owned ATCO label. He said: "I have this song here, for what it's worth, if you want it." Another producer, Charlie Greene, claims that Stills first said the above sentence to him, but credits Ahmet Ertegun with subtitling the single "Stop, Hey What's That Sound" so that the song would be more easily recognized.

I wasn't ever a fan of the relatively short-lived band Buffalo Springfield, or Stephen Stills, or Neil Young, another well-known Buffalo Springfield alumnus. Yeah - I know - I'm not, nor ever have been, "cool".

For What It's Worth has gathered a lot of acclaim over the years as a protest song/anthem. Personally I don't see it as deserving of that. It was a song written about a very local little furore on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles between police and local rock music fans. (Details at the Wikipedia link, above). But....whatever floats protesters' boats, I guess!

The song has been featured in movie soundtracks: Lord of War, Tropic Thunder, and Forrest Gump, among others.

What got me listening to the song again after not having heard it for donkey's years was my husband's insistence that a current TV commercial is using the opening notes of the song which are, actually, quite distinctive. So he got out his Buffalo Springfield LP and had me listen. He was right.

The first line ("something happening here") always reminds me of a Bob Dylan song, written around the same time - I wonder if Stephen Stills intended the line as a kind of homage? Dylan's Ballad of a Thin Man has these words (which I often quote in relation to astrology!)
Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?

There's something happening here
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
I think 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 say, 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
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down to astrologise this ramble? Let's look at Stephen Stills' and Neil Young's natal charts. They apparently got along in spurts. Asked about the split-up of Buffalo Springfield, Stills said, "Neil was resenting the fact that I was starting to play lead guitar. I was the arranger, and all of a sudden I was treading on his territory, so he started getting into mine." So...possibly two big egos, two male divas, each trying to mark their territory and retain it, each wanting to be thought "the best". (Stills is on the left in the photograph, from the 60s. More recent photographs below).

Born around 11 months apart, they naturally share certain generational similarities, in that the outer planets are in the same signs for each and not too far apart by degree.

Stills has Sun in Capricorn, Moon in Virgo and Virgo rising. Young has Sun in Scorpio, Moon in Aquarius and Libra rising. From that thumbnail astro-sketch alone it's possible to see that the two would be likely to irritate each other at times.

Stills is probably the more down to earth of the pair, more of a perfectionist, more demanding, yet not averse to change. Young is going to be much more of a maverick, a wee bit stubborn and unpredictable, yet with a certain charm, in spite of his air of oddness.

The chart factor helping them most to get along professionally, is Venus, planet of the arts. Their Venus placements are in harmonious trine - even though "out of sign". 27 Aquarius (for Stills) and 00 Scorpio (for Young)are both "cuspy" - on or close to the joining of the two signs - and within limits of an harmonious 120 degree aspect even though Scorpio and Aquarius, as signs, are generally not considered harmonious.


Kaleymorris said...

Neil Young, I can take him or leave him. But he has written one of the most romantic songs: Harvest Moon. This video is goofy, but I love this song.

kaleymorris said...

This one is better. Toward the end, as he sings "I want to see you dance again," he looks back at the woman on the far left of the backup singers. She is his wife, Pegi.

Twilight said...

Kaleymorris ~~ Thanks, I hadn't heard that before - it's very pretty - and timeless.

uou didn't leave the 2nd link - but I'll go back to youtube and listen to a couple of alternatives, with pleasure - will find it. :-)