My Top 1000 Songs #436: Broken Arrow

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

Like "Expecting To Fly," another standout on 1967's timeless Buffalo Springfield Again, "Broken Arrow" is a Buffalo Springfield song in name only. Once again, it's just Neil Young in the studio, aided by producer Jack Nitzsche and an orchestra (though bandmate Richard Furay later added some backing vocals). 

The six-plus-minute multi-part suite gives a glimpse of Neil as an early prog artist--verses in different styles and time signatures, broken up by various interludes (a faux live version of the prior album's "Mr. Soul" to open the track, circus music in the breaks, and other interstitial studio weirdness). The proper song within the song is a fine little number (a reworking of an earlier demo, "Down Down Down," a gorgeous tune in its own right which later surfaced on a BS box set), but the overall mood of the finished opus is transportive, a magical experience that takes you somewhere unexpected and sticks with you.

The original "Down Down Down" demo:
Neil's live acoustic take, 1969:
Fantastic live version in 2011, featuring Neil with a (briefly) reunited Springfield, with Neil joined by Furay on vocals: