2.32-BURNED (Buffalo Springfield)

Buffalo Springfield


Been burned
And with both feet on the ground
I've learned
That it's painful comin' down.

        No use runnin' away,
        And there's no time left to stay.

                 Now I'm finding out that it's so confusin'.
                No time left and I know I'm losin'.

And I think I'm fallin' down. (2x)
And my ears can't hear a sound.

        [Chorus Parts 1 &2]


        [Chorus Part 2]

[Repeat 1st verse, repeating first couplet twice]

        [Chorus Parts 1 & 2]


Though Burned was released in October 1966, the second single by Buffalo Springfield before their hit For What It's Worth, at the time the Springfield were still a local phenomenon and didn't chart nationally with this release. The song was released again on their initial eponymous album in December of that year, which charted on the strength of For What It's Worth. Outside of See My Friends, which got into the Top 10 in England, but wasn't released in the U.S. during the psychedelic era, Neil Young's Burned is the first record listed here that didn't chart. It heralds an age, right around the corner, when a lot of psychedelic music would not chart, as by 1967 there was a glut of such music and some very good psychedelic work did not reach a large audience at the time of release, only to be rediscovered later. The emergence of Buffalo Springfield in this history of psychedelic music also marks the first time a group (with the exception of the Association) began its recording career during the psychedelic era, and announces a tidal wave of such groups. At first, as will be noted in subsequent entries, this usually meant that recordings (by such major artists as Cream and the Doors) were released without much notice, and with little chart success.

Burned is included among the supplemental psychedelic works due to its subject matter more than its sound. The sound itself in some ways is identical with popular California music of the period; I can hear both the Monkees happy beat and the Mothers of Invention's abrupt drum breaks in it. There is a pleasant twelve string guitar in the song which plays along with a tack piano in the break. Richard Furay plays a signature tone for the Buffalo Springfield, oft repeated in their recordings, in which he delicately produces from his instrument something of the sound of a steel guitar. Country music was slowly emerging as at least a minor inspiration in psychedelic music at this time, with Nashville Cats by the Lovin' Spoonful and Stop Stop Stop by the Hollies also being released in the Fall of 1966.

Neil Young's lyrics allude more directly than previous songs to the possibility of negative effects from psychedelic drugs. The "directness" has to do more with the slang used than with any direct reference to a drug: It's painful coming down and the idea of "crashing" took on new significance among the drug culture. "Flashed" may allude to the notorious "flashbacks" that the media warned were a possible effect of LSD, in which one suddenly, long after the "trip", experienced the rush of the hallucinogen again at work or driving a car. For a rock musician and a rock fan the last words of the second verse issue the final curse: My ears can't hear a sound. This warning, this report purportedly from experience, is placed alongside a jaunty beat, however, that seems to belie the message while at the same time not profiting the song by contrast.