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There’s Something Happening Here

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In the mid-late 1960s, an iconic group of musicians spawned a lot of the music played on oldies stations today and created a surge that changed the world. That group was Buffalo Springfield, and they were the voice of the canary in the coalmine, warbling their prophetic warnings that politicians ignored and denied. Then came the riots, the Democratic Convention in Chicago, Kent State, and several thousand lesser, but just as deadly, incidents. Some didn’t reach the stage of violence of those more prominent incident. But many did.

Divide and conquer has won many a war: bloody wars and psychological wars. By keeping demonstrations contained, authorities prevent bigger demonstrations. This has the trickle down effect of dampening public spirit. A much greater effect, however, is that it also keeps these small pockets of protest from becoming another Chicago.

The politicians have disconnected with the hoi polloi. Tian’anmen Square was China’s Chicago. What goes around comes around. This sort of protest happens often, but so long as those in control can limit the protests, they can control the people. When they can’t limit them with laws, they make more draconian laws. When they can’t limit them with police and military, they use more police and military. What happened in the US in the late 1960s is very evocative of what’s happening in China today.

Some of the members of Buffalo Springfield have gone on to good musical careers. A couple have gone on to win world praise. But they’ve all made their mark in the music industry, in a type of music that was, for the most part, ignored by a large part of the world’s population for a large part of the time.

I dunno if the term ‘folk music’ is en vogue, but I think it’s probably seen by most people today on the very same TV screen with granny glasses and tie-die. It’s so ‘been there, done that.’ Ancient. So last century! Black and white television.

Most of these people weren’t actually alive then, but they’ve seen enough to know that people were weird back then. Funny that. What goes around comes around. Read this, then continue below.

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
Stop, now, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

For those of you who have suffered through my plaint, my lament, console yourselves with the fact that you’re a better person than those who didn’t have the courage to face reality. Therefore, they quit reading. Doesn’t that make you feel smug?


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About Lou Novacheck

  • Lou Novacheck

    Pls drop me a note. Just tried to email you, but the edress I have is apparently no longer good. I need another copy of your book ASAP in prep for an interview later this month with David Evans, who was a friend and early playing partner of Al’s. http://blogcritics.org/music/article/david-evans-a-well-kept-secret/ I didn’t see any means to contact you through your site. Lemme know and I can send paypal or AmEx or check. Thanks.

  • I’m a big fan of Stephen Stills! Wish the Buffalo Springfield would have done the reunion tour that was in the works for this year… alas.