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For What It's Worth

for what it's worth lyrics, for what it's worth meaning
"For What It's Worth Stop, Hey What's That Sound" often referred to as simply "For What It's Worth" is a song written by Stephen Stills It was performed by Buffalo Springfield, recorded on December 5, 1966, and released as a single on Atco Records in January 1967 The single peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart4 This song is currently ranked #63 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time as well as the eighth best song of 1967 by Acclaimed Music5

It was later added to the March 1967 second pressing of their first album, Buffalo Springfield The title does not appear in the lyrics as it was added after the song was written6


  • 1 Background
  • 2 Production
  • 3 Legacy
  • 4 Covers
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links


Although "For What It's Worth" is often used as an anti-war song, Stephen Stills was inspired to write the track because of the Sunset Strip curfew riots in November 1966, a series of early counterculture-era clashes that took place between police and young people on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California, beginning in the mid-1966, the same year Buffalo Springfield had become the house band at the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip7 It was within this period that local residents and businesses had become increasingly annoyed by late-night traffic congestion caused by crowds of young people going to clubs and music venues along the Strip In response, they lobbied the city to pass local ordinances that stopped loitering and enforced a strict curfew on the Strip after 10pm Young music fans, however, felt that the new laws were an infringement of their civil rights8

On Saturday, November 12, 1966, fliers were distributed on Sunset Strip inviting people to join demonstrations later that day Several of Los Angeles' rock radio stations also announced that a rally would be held outside the Pandora's Box club on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights That evening as many as 1,000 young demonstrators, including future celebrities like Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda who was handcuffed by police, gathered to protest against the enforcement of the curfew laws Although the rallies began peacefully, trouble eventually broke out among the protesters and police The unrest continued the next night and periodically throughout the rest of November and December forcing some clubs to shut down within weeks8 Against the background of these civil disturbances, Stills recorded the song on December 5, 1966


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"6 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 recognized69

The song was recorded on December 5, 1966 at Columbia Studios, Hollywood Tom Dowd claims he mixed the song at Atlantic's studio in New York, though this is disputed by others10 He did take part in the production of Cher's version of the song in 196911


The song quickly became a well-known protest song12 In 2006, when interviewed on Tom Kent's radio show Into the '70s, Stephen Stills pointed out that many people think "For What It's Worth" is about the Kent State shootings 1970, even though the song predates that event by over three years13 Neil Young, Stills' bandmate in both Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, would later write "Ohio", in response to the events at Kent State

"For What It's Worth" was played at Buffalo Springfield's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Young did not attend14


"For What It's Worth" has been covered, sampled, and referenced in numerous musical performances Versions include those by Cher, Oui 3, and Public Enemy Cher's 1969 cover did not enter the Billboard Hot 100; Allmusic retrospectively calls her version "mature and forceful"15 Public Enemy sampled "For What It's Worth", for their 1998 song "He Got Game," which also featured Stephen Stills16 Oui 3 adapted the song for their 1993 debut single of the same name, which reached number 26 in the UK chart1718


  1. ^ Unterberger, Richie "Great Moments in Folk Rock: Lists of Author Favorites" Richieunterbergercom Retrieved 2011-01-26 
  2. ^ Fontenot, Robert "What is Country Rock" ThoughtCo Aboutcom Retrieved March 12, 2017 
  3. ^ Jim DeRogatis 1996 Kaleidoscope Eyes: Psychedelic Rock from the '60s to the '90s Carol Publishing Group p 51 ISBN 978-0-8065-1788-9 Retrieved 13 October 2015 
  4. ^ Google Books archive Billboard March 25, 1967 retrieved 25 March 2017
  5. ^ "Acclaimed Music Top 3000 songs" Acclaimed Music 27 May 2009 
  6. ^ a b c David Browne November 11, 2016 "'For What It's Worth': Inside Buffalo Springfield's Classic Protest Song" Rolling Stone 
  7. ^ Gilliland, John 1969 "Show 34 – Revolt of the Fat Angel: American musicians respond to the British invaders Part 2 : UNT Digital Library" audio Pop Chronicles University of North Texas Libraries 
  8. ^ a b "Sunset Strip Riots | Closing of club ignited the 'Sunset Strip riots'" Los Angeles Times 2007-08-05 Retrieved 2012-01-16 
  9. ^ Einarson, John; Furay, Richie 2004 For What It's Worth: The Story of Buffalo Springfield Taylor Trade Publications p 127 ISBN 978-0-8154-1281-6 
  10. ^ Jimmy McDonough 2003 Shakey: Neil Young's Biography Random House p 201 
  11. ^ "Top 20 Pop Spotlight Cher - For What It's Worth" Billboard Nielsen Business Media, Inc 16 Aug 1969 
  12. ^ Lustig, Jay 18 February 2011 "Song of the Day: 'Rock 'n' Roll Woman,' Buffalo Springfield" The Star-Ledger Retrieved 19 February 2011 
  13. ^ Stevenson, Tommy 20 October 2010 "‘Days of Rage' conference revisits unrest of May 1970" Tuscaloosa News Retrieved 19 February 2011 
  14. ^ "CSN, Jackson 5 Join Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" Rolling Stone 8 May 1997 Retrieved 19 February 2011 
  15. ^ Mark Deming "3614 Jackson Highway - Cher | Songs, Reviews, Credits" AllMusic Retrieved 2016-09-30 
  16. ^ Locker, Melissa 2012-11-05 ""He Got Game" | Public Enemy at 25 | TIMEcom" Entertainmenttimecom Retrieved 2016-09-30 
  17. ^ "Oui 3" Blair Booth Music Retrieved 6 April 2016 
  18. ^ "Oui 3" Official Charts Retrieved 6 April 2016 

External linksedit

  • Reasontorock analysis of song
  • Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics

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For What It's Worth

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