Broken Arrow

Album: Buffalo Springfield Again (1967)
  • The lights turned on and the curtain fell down
    And when it was over it felt like a dream
    They stood at the stage door and begged for a scream
    The agents had paid for the black limousine
    That waited outside in the rain
    Did you see them, did you see them?
    Did you see them in the river?
    They were there to wave to you
    Could you tell that the empty quivered
    Brown skinned Indian on the banks
    That were crowded and narrow
    Held a broken arrow?

    Eighteen years of American dream
    He saw that his brother had sworn on the wall
    He hung up his eyelids and ran down the hall
    His mother had told him a trip was a fall
    And don't mention babies at all
    Did you see him, did you see him?
    Did you see him in the river?
    He was there to wave to you
    Could you tell that the empty quivered
    Brown skinned Indian on the banks
    That were crowded and narrow
    Held a broken arrow

    The streets were lined for the wedding parade
    The Queen wore the white gloves, the county of song
    The black covered caisson her horses had drawn
    Protected her king from the sun rays of dawn
    They married for peace and were gone
    Did you see them, did you see them?
    Did you see them in the river?
    They were there to wave to you
    Could you tell that the empty quivered
    Brown skinned Indian on the banks
    That were crowded and narrow
    Held a broken arrow? Writer/s: Neil Young
    Publisher: Broken Arrow Music
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 12

  • Tim from Kalamazoo, Mi.Reading Mike's (from Park Ridge) comment about the "heartbeat" at the end of the song made me smile. I have my own little "heartbeat" story.

    I was only 3 y/o when this song came out, but within a few years I had mastered my dad's Wollensak reel-to-reel tape recorder. He had the "Retrospective" album as reel-to-reel, and I loved that album - I didn't know about the individual albums for another 8-10 years! Anyway, back in the day (I was about 10 years old), the only way I knew how to record was on my little cassette deck using its portable microphone. And, I used to record a lot of things that way.

    Since my parents had divorced years before, I decided I needed that Retrospective album for myself, so on my next visit with my Dad I started recording it. And it turned out really well, all things considered. But the funniest thing happened, and I DID NOT KNOW it until quite a few years later. At the end of Broken Arrow, as the heartbeat started to "fade out", an AIRPLANE flew OVERHEAD, and it FIT IN PERFECTLY to the song, a sort of "thump-thump, thump-thump, thum...-ZOOOOOOOoooooommm----- ... fade out, and it ended JUST IN TIME before the next song (might have been Rock and Roll Woman) started up!! I listened to that little cassette for a long time, and it was only when I was about 17-18 when I bought a well-used "Again" album that I heard the "real thing" again, and REALIZED THERE WAS NO AIRPLANE "ZOOM"!! More than once I wondered what Neil would have thought about my little "addition"!!
  • Dave from Vancouver, WaI was listening to this song and it reminded me of The Beatles, "A day in the life." They were both written in 1967. Did one influence the other?
  • Mike from Park Ridge , IlWhat was with the heartbeat sound at the end?
  • Melissa from Fairborn, OhThis is one of my favorite Buffalo Springfield song which is mostly acoustic on this song, Also, my favorite part of the song I like the most is when I like the jazz touch before the song ends. Yes it's good to waltz to this acoustic/jazz Buffalo Springfield song, hmmm.
  • Valerie from Eureka, CaHey Max in Parma Ohio....Yes, this song, Down Down Down is on youtube and is VERY MUCH like Broken song!!!!! Pioneers were the musicians from the 60's...Down is like a waltz as is Arrow...thanks for mentioning Down, Max.
  • Valerie from Eureka, CaNEIL YOUNG!!! He is, in my opinion, a genius! Broken Arrow as all of his songs, is steeped in so much introverted meanings...or so they all seem to be anyway.
  • Ted from Phoenix, AzThis is a great song with some very trippy lyrics with obscure meanings. My favorite lines come at the end of the second verse when Neil Young sings: "His mother had said that a trip was a fall And don't mention babies at all.", which i believe is a reference to teenage sexuality.
  • Baz from Johnson, VtGreat tune. Though i've always wondered if the US military borrowed the terms Broken Arrow and Empty Quiver for nuclear weapons "incidents" from this song; of course if you're thinking (as Neil and whoever at DoD was making up code names)in that vein it's just as likely to be a coincidence.
  • Max from Parma, OhThere's another tune by Buffalo Springfield called "Down Down Down" that has the same melody. Apparently, it was never released on an album in the 1960's, but the Buffalo Springfield boxed set has two different versions of it, demo and remix. I'm not sure if the song has any relations to Broken Arrow, except for a few lyrics and the melody. The first stanza is, "Come to see her in the river/ she'll be there to wave to you/ In the hope that you'll forgive her/ She will join you there."
  • Melissa from Fairborn, OhI love the jazz-like part especially at the end of the song.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI just looked at the lyrics, and this song definitely seems like one Neil Young would write.
  • Steve from New York City, NyThis song is a medley. It first starts out with a (seemingly) live version of the Buffalo Springfield song "Mr. Soul" (written by Neil Young). Then it goes into Broken Arrow, "The lights turned on and the curtain fell down...". After this, a jazz quartet plays what sounds like a "jazzified" version of the Broken Arrow melody, complete with piano solo. Finally, it ends with a heartbeat sound (similar to that of "Eclipse" by Pink Floyd five years later).
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