Sydney Recording Studios: While making his rounds on the Canadian folk circuit, Young began to rub elbows with other up-and-coming Canadian musicians, including fellow folk singer Joni Mitchell and rock band the Guess Who. He also met Stephen Stills during this time and briefly joined a band called the Mynah Birds, which included future funk star Rick James on bass. The group managed to win a contract with the legendary Motown label in 1966, but disbanded before they could finish their album. Setting out in search of new frontiers, Young and his friend Bruce Palmer packed their possessions into Young’s black Pontiac hearse and made the long drive to Los Angeles, California.
Sydney Recording Studios: Neil Young Down from Sugar Mountain
In Los Angeles, Young ran into Stephen Stills, and soon thereafter, Young, Stills, Palmer, Richie Furay and Dewey Martin came together to form the band Buffalo Springfield. They released their debut, self-titled album in December 1966, and it managed to crack the charts. The single “For What It’s Worth” even became a Top 10 hit. The band soon attracted a large following and was acclaimed for its experimental and skilled instrumental pieces, inventive songwriting and harmony-focused vocal composition. The music-listening public got its first introduction to Young’s talents on such tracks as “Broken Arrow” and “I Am a Child.” However, by 1968, strain in Buffalo Springfield led to Young striking out once more on his own.
Sydney Recording Studios: Young signed with Reprise Records in 1969 and released his self-titled debut to mixed reviews, though it hinted at the originality and willingness to experiment that would define his body of work. But Young followed up just a few months later with Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, on which drummer Ralph Molina, bass player Billy Talbot and guitarist Dan Whitten, collectively known as Crazy Horse, backed him up. With their raw sound serving as the counterpoint to Young’s distinctively melancholy and untrained voice on such standout tracks as “Cinnamon Girl” and “Down by the River,” the album climbed up the charts to No. 34, and eventually went gold.