Saturday, October 09, 2004

ROCKOBIT: Bruce Palmer, Buffalo Springfield bassist, died following a heart attack on Monday.

Palmer was born in 1946 in Liverpool, Nova Scotia and got an early taste of musical acclaim in a number of teenage bands before a spell in Jack London and the Sparrows; although the Sparrows managed a couple of hits in Canada, these came after Palmer's departure. In a straight swap, Palmer joined the Mynah Birds while the Sparrows took on Nick St. Nicholas from the Birds. St. Nicholas would eventually go on to join Steppenwolf, while it was in the Myanh Birds that Palmer would meet his long-term collaborator Neil Young. Following fellow Bird Rick James' imprisonment for quitting the US navy without permission, the pair headed south and hooked up with Stephen Stills, Dewey Martin and Richie Furay to create Buffalo Springfield.

The difficulties caused by Palmer's Canadian citizenship and membership of an American band were among one of the causes of Buffalo Springfield's split after just two years and two albums. While the others went to be CSNY, Palmer made a solo stab at fame - although, as a bassist, he needed to bring in help with vocals, so 1971's The Cycle Is Complete saw him draft back the now released Rick James. Not a glittering success, it was to be the only collection which went out under his own name.

In 1983 Palmer was working again with Neil Young, appearing on the Trans set, and he picked up again with Dewey Martin for a Pete Best Beatles style Buffalo Springfield: BS Revisted. A 1986 proper reunion of the band fell apart when Neil Young "forgot" rehearsals.

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