Four of our musicians did an initial recording of this cover by Buffalo Springfield for the Acoustic Night last term, but it is now inadvertently pertinent to what is happening in the USA at this time. Strict curfews being enforced and unrest breaking out. How apt that it has been recorded and compiled by the boys to be this week’s Musical Moment. They initially chose the song as it’s an easy listening, relaxing song that most of them listen to regularly. The group is entirely made up of Tower House boys in the fourth , fifth, and lower sixth form. Barnaby said, “It was great to collaborate as a house group after being apart for so many weeks.”
“For What It’s Worth” is often considered an anti-war song, but Stephen Stills was inspired to write the song 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 mid-1966. Local residents and businesses had become annoyed by how crowds of young people going to clubs and music venues along the Strip had caused late-night traffic congestion. In response, they lobbied the city to pass local ordinances stopping loitering, and enforced a strict curfew on the Strip after 10 p.m. The young music fans, however, felt the new laws infringed upon their civil rights.
On Saturday, November 12, 1966, fliers were distributed on the Sunset Strip inviting people to join demonstrations later that day and several of Los Angeles’ rock radio stations also announced a rally on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights. That evening, as many as 1,000 young demonstrators, including future celebrities such as Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda gathered to protest against the curfew’s enforcement. Although the rallies began peacefully, trouble eventually broke out. The unrest continued the next night, and periodically throughout the rest of November and December. It was against the background of these civil disturbances that Stills recorded “For What It’s Worth” on December 5, 1966.
Thank you to Barnaby, Jed, Conor and Ubani for bringing us this week’s Musical Moment.