How Buffalo Springfield Could Pull Off a Tour With the Byrds

It wouldn't be simple — but it could definitely work. Here's a step-by-step guide

November 11, 2010 3:26 PM ET

Word is that Buffalo Springfield will tour next year. But how exactly would that work? Neil Young, Crosby, Stills and Nash can command arenas and ampitheaters on their own, but Springfield can claim only one top forty hit, "For What It's Worth." It's hard to see them in anything bigger than theaters. Maybe what they need is another Sixties California folk-rock group to reunite and join the bill. In that case, what they need is the Byrds.

Photos: Buffalo Springfield, Pearl Jam, Neil Young and More at the Bridge School Benefit

The Byrds, like Buffalo Springfield, have lost two members (Gene Clark and Michael Clarke). But the core group of Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Chris Hillman is alive and well. The three did a series of shows as the Byrds around 1990, but haven't done anything since. If Buffalo Springfield do tour next summer, Stephen Stills will be available for the annual CSN tour — freeing up Crosby to play with the Byrds.

Buffalo Springfield Bridge School Reunion a Triumph

The problem: Unlike Buffalo Springfield, the surviving Byrds aren't a good mix. Crosby has been bitching for years that McGuinn refuses to even consider a reunion. Chris Hillman is a born-again Christian and a Republican, meaning he's the polar opposite of Crosby. But this shouldn't matter. The Ramones toured the country in a van for twenty years while barely speaking. Certainly McGuinn, Crosby and Hillman can suck it up for a mega payday and to help secure their place in history.

The tour would involve three-quarters of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. So what role could Graham Nash play? The obvious answer would be to invite the Hollies. But Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds were L.A. folk-rock, , and the Hollies were a British Invasion group from a slightly earlier era. Also, their lead singer, Allan Clarke, has mostly lost his voice. Nash could cover most of the leads, as he did this year at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, but that wouldn't be ideal. And Nash's presence would practically require a CSNY set at the end of the night, which would reduce the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield to opening acts, and that would diminish the spirit of the whole enterprise.

Who would headline? The Byrds have a lot more hits, but you can't make Neil Young an opening act for anybody. They would have to co-headline, trading off who opens and closes. Then they'd need an opening act —, maybe, say, the Electric Prunes. Their bassist Mark Tulin has been working with Billy Corgan recently, and the Prunes still put on a great show.

Hey Live Nation, make Roger McGuinn an offer he can't refuse. We can make this thing happen.

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Song Stories

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Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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