That fact that this song is one of the most representative sounds of the 1960s -- even by sheer fact of just the first guitar note and half a dozen drum beats -- speaks volumes, and is in itself an unbelievable accomplishment. "For What It's Worth" actually does this, but there's a lot more to it than that. Written by Stephen Stills during the aftermath of the infamous Sunset Strip riots of 1966-1967, this is the song that put Buffalo Springfield on the national map. Although commonly labeled as a protest song, it really is more in the folk tradition of singing news and makes the "protest" label embarrassingly limited. Stills had previously experienced very real street politics while spending his high school years in Costa Rica, and he used his insight very, very effectively on this composition -- easily one of the finest of the period, bar none. The song is built around a very tough but understated acoustic guitar riff that is extremely bluesy, then gives way to a rather stock chord change on the memorable chorus ("Stop, hey, what's that sound"). Stills manages to tie these elements together without sounding derivative. The lyric is a success because it doesn't beat the listener over the head with a message. Although the song has not really been successfully covered, Public Enemy sampled Springfield's version on the 1998 hit "He Got Game," illustrating the timeless quality of the Springfield original. On the CSN&Y tour of 2000, they -- and they alone -- have been the only people who could "cover" this song effectively.