Cover vs. Original

On The Way Home

Neil Young wrote "On The Way Home" in 1967 for Buffalo Springfield, but for whatever reason was relegated to piano and harmony on the original version while Richie Furay took lead vocal and guitar on a particularly schmaltzy take that opened the piecemeal "Last Time Around" in 1968. In 1969, however, with help from Crosby, Stills and Nash, Young reworked the song into a laid-back acoustic version, singing his own lead. It was released one and a half years later, after CSNY disbanded, in early 1971.

I'm backing CSNY on this one, because the harmonies intertwine infinitely better.

- Bob, Columbia, MO, United States, 20.10.2005

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young


Buffalo Springfield

CD-Cover: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Four Way Street 44.9 % 55.1 % CD-Cover: Buffalo Springfield - Last Time Around
Results of the voting: Cover versus Original
Click on the cover for listening Click on the cover for listening
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 769 Votes Buffalo Springfield

Further information about song and bands:

A very comprehensive ressource about Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. News, album releases, songs (tab, mp3, lyrics) and much more stuff.
Neil Young
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Comments about On The Way Home:

A wonderful song, and perfectly suited for Richie's voice. In fact, I was a big Poco fan when Richie was in the group, but as good as a lot of his Poco songs were, if I had to bring one song that he sang to a desert island, it might be this one. I love the various versions of Neil's, including the Four Way Street and Massey Hall versions, and I saw him sing it solo at Nassau Coliseum in the early 70's, but the Springfield version of it always takes me straight back to the first time I heard it as a teenager. The phrase "Though we rush ahead to save our time, we are only what we feel" never fails to move me as people come and go in my life.
- Carl, Arlington, VA, United States, 14.02.2011
I still the three original recordings by Buffalo Springfield. I bought them in reverse order, Last Time Around , first, then Buffalo Springfield Again, then Buffalo Springfield.At the time I had no idea of the history behind Last Time Around, and loved the album right off the top. especially this track and In The Hour of Not Quite Rain, thus I've voted for the Buffalo Springfield version
- Sam R., Regina, Canada, 18.01.2011
I grew up in LA (born '57) and this song was part of my awakening to the power of music, along of course, with Mr Soul. Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, AM radio (KHJ) rocked in the 60's. I had no idea how great I had it.
Then I heard the Neil-sung CSNY live version in the 70's.
I can't decide which is better. What a great dilemma!!
I hope people listening to pop music in the future have such a great choice of songs.
- Peter, Seattle, United States, 11.03.2010
As a matter of personal taste, I prefer the BS version. I bought the Last Time Around in '68 and still play it today. I also have CSN&Y's album from a year later and it is uniquely distinctive. However, I had already learned to play and sing it BS style. It's still in my repetoire of acoustic songs I play on my Guild D-15.
- Butch Peck, Jax, United States, 02.02.2010
Like both versions, but I'm going to have to go with Buffalo Springfield on this. Mayby it's not fair to compare a studio recording with a live concert.
- David, Watauga, TX, United States, 27.12.2008
I have to agree with Phil Hirschi's comment - this is a truly great song that is as easy to listen to today as it was in 1968, and Richie Furay's beautiful tenor is a big part of that. Neil Young wrote some great songs with BS, but this one and "Do I Have to Come Right Out and Say It" are some of his and Furay's best work of that period. I don't find the BS version shmaltzy at all - I ended up with two copies on my iPod and I've never wanted to delete the extra one - it's that good.
- Brian Chase, San Jose, United States, 07.12.2008
I worship Neil Young. This song is just one of dozens of GREAT songs Neil has written. Sure he's written some clunkers but this one is great. Long may you run Neil!!
- Lars Swanson, Oshkosh, United States, 10.10.2008
I happen to think that the Richie Furay-sung version of this song is one of the most beautiful, uplifting, repeatedly listenable rock songs I can think of. It's number 1 in my iTunes Play Count and I have 6500+ songs. I'm a huge Neil Young fan, but also think Buffalo Springfield captured something in their brief history that no other west coast group captured, a gorgeous, shimmering vocal and guitar sound with a handful of great great songs of which this is one.

The fact that they were breaking up during the recording is interesting but doesn't surprise me - Neil was about to create the milestone recordings that launched his career and the outpouring of music that we are lucky to have still today.
Neil is like the rich man who can afford not to worry about every dime. His musical outpouring isn't hurt by the fact that he wrote but didn't sing On the Way Home with B.S.

Phil Hirschi (cellist, Mahavishnu Orchestra, 1974-75)
- Phil Hirschi, Seattle, WA, United States, 26.09.2008
I guess you need to read up on the work behind the Buffalo Springfield version of this tune.

At the time, Young had virtually abandoned the group very bitterly after disputes in ego between himself and Stephen Stills. Since there was a contractual obligation to finish a 3 rd album, Richie Furay and Jim Messina went into the studio and engineered the last album from very piecemeal work left over after the bickering stopped. No one, including Young, had any interest in finishing the record but Furay and Messina felt obligated.

Thus Richie ended up singing the lead vocals on the song. ATCO never much cared for Young's voice to start with and that one of the major disputes (hence Richie singing the Young composition "Flying on the Ground is Wrong" on the 1st album). It was a major source of irritation within the group and led partially to the group's demise.

A great source of the story of "The Herd" is John Einarson's book, cowritten with Richie Furay with lots of great comments by the other band members. The book is "For What It's Worth: The Story of Buffalo Springfield" and is available (of course) through Amazon.

Einarson has written on the Byrds, Gene Clark, Steppenwolf and John Kay as well.
- Patrick Nance, Dallas, United States, 11.08.2006
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