For What It’s Worth: Buffalo Springfield’s Song Isn’t About Vietnam

“There’s somethin’ happenin’ here
But what it is ain’t exactly clear.”

That’s right: It wasn’t exactly clear what Stephen Stills, then in Buffalo Springfield, wrote about and sang in 1966. Many mistakenly thought it was an anti-Vietnam War protest song. And the soundtrack to Forrest Gump – while amazing – only reinforced that perception. The truth behind the song For What It’s Worth has nothing to do with Vietnam but everything to do with protests.

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Source: Pinterest / Photo by Warner Bros/Kobal, Shutterstock / Richard Young, Shutterstock

One evening in November 1966, Stills was on his way to Hollywood to hear some live music on the Sunset Strip. What occurred was a defining moment in rock and roll, as what he encountered inspired him to write a song that would be loved – and misinterpreted – by many. This is the story of the song and the history behind the Sunset Strip riots.