One of the earliest childhood memories that I have is when my Dad and I would listen to songs from his collection of 45 RPM 7″ records. A popular single that he bought as a teen in the 1960s was “For What It’s Worth (Stop, Hey What’s That Sound)” backed with “Do I Have to Come Right Out and Say It?” The band that performed these two songs was Buffalo Springfield. One of the guitarists and lead singers in this group was a man named Richie Furay, a country rock pioneer who is the focus of this Spotlight article.
Richie was born in Ohio in 1944. In the early days of his music career, both he and Stephen Stills (who later worked with David Crosby and Graham Nash) were in New York playing in a folk group called The Au Go-Go Singers. Here is a song, “Where I’m Bound” (written by Tom Paxton), for which he performed lead vocals in 1964
He and Stephen would soon move to California and, along with Neil Young, form Buffalo Springfield in 1966. This band had an interesting mixture of tunes in the folk rock, psychadelic rock and (early) country rock genres. Richie wrote and sang “Kind Woman” for his wife Nancy in 1968
Like so many other 1960s bands with multiple talented members, the group eventually broke up, in 1968. In 1969, Richie and Jim Messina (who later teamed up with Kenny Loggins) formed the country rock band Poco. This band at times also included future Eagles members Randy Meisner and Timothy B. Schmidt. One of Richie’s tunes during this era was “A Good Feelin’ to Know”, from the album of the same name in 1972
Frustrated by a lack of commercial success, Richie decided to leave Poco in 1973 to create The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. This supergroup had Chris Hillman (of The Byrds) and J.D. Souther (a songwriter for the Eagles) as the other two main members. During this time, Richie became a Christian. Here is an interview in which he gives his testimony
Richie began to incorporate Christian themes into his music, like the song “For Someone I Love” from The SHF Band in 1975
The SHF Band broke up circa 1975, again in part due to a lack of commercial success. Richie decided to move to Colorado and begin a solo music career in both Christian and secular music. He also became Senior Pastor of an evangelical church in 1983. Here are a few of his Christian songs:
“Mighty Maker” (from 1976)
“Home to My Lord” (from 1982)
“We Have Come to Worship You” (from 1997)
“Deep Within My Heart” (from 2005)
So, what are some of your favourite songs by Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Richie Furay or other country rock artists? Please feel free to post them or other music below.