Buffalo was an Australian rock band formed in August 1971 by founding mainstay Dave Tice on lead vocals (ex-Head). Fellow founders, also from Head, were Paul Balbi on drums, John Baxter on guitar, and Peter Wells on bass guitar; together with Alan Milano on lead vocals (ex-Mandala). Milano left after their debut album, Dead Forever… (June 1972), and Balbi was replaced on drums by Jimmy Economou. Their next two albums, Volcanic Rock (July 1973) and Only Want You For Your Body (June 1974), were also issued by Vertigo Records. After 1975 line-up changes resulted in a more commercial sound and the group disbanded in March 1977. Australian musicologist Ian McFarlane noted that there was “nothing subtle about Buffalo’s primal, heavyweight sound, but it was delivered with a great deal of conviction … combining the dense, occult riffing … with the progressive blues chops … the band certainly captured the arrogant disposition of the times in a bold and thunderous fashion”. Alongside Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs and Blackfeather, Buffalo pioneered Australia’s heavy metal, pub rock, and psychedelic rock movements. Peter Wells died on 27 March 2006, aged 58. Here are all of Buffalo songs ranked.
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10. Suzie Sunshine (Dead Forever…, 1972)
“Suzie Sunshine” is a straight up blues rocker, with a catchy riff and fun vocals. Gritty, violent, and badfuckingass. These guys are definitely one of the heaviest bands of the time and they take zero prisoners on this one.”
9. Sad Song (Dead Forever…, 1972)
“Their brand of heavy metal hard rock is anything but typical of it’s genre from this time period. This album simply rocks out! Very consistent, and overall fantastic.”
8. Forest Rain (Dead Forever…, 1972)
“Forest Rain” slower tune again, with a bit of Zeppelin fantasy to it. ‘Forest Rain’ is another track hurt by its “progressiveness” – it is trying to be a grand moving ballad with a big refrain but is simply not interesting enough for it to work.”
7. Stay With Me (Only Want You for Your Body, 1974)
“Maintaining Buffalo’s fondness for tastefully understated covers, this album is the last featuring the great John Baxter. Not as terrifying as the first two albums (but then, which albums are?)The production is more high sheen and maybe a little too clean.”
See more: Buffalo Albums Ranked
6. You Say (Average Rock ‘n’ Roller, 1977)
“Serious attempts at commercialism didn’t work for them. Shame they weren’t recognised in their day for the great heavy rock they produced earlier. Makes me wonder what we missed out on.”
5. Shylock (Volcanic Rock, 1973)
“Shylock” goes full doom with the gravitas of hard rockers. If you are looking to dig deeper into the proto-metal sound you are in for a treat with “Volcanic Rock,” a name most fitting this style.”
4. Rollin’ (Average Rock ‘n’ Roller, 1977)
“We got here some quality hard rock / psych that oozes proto-metal and I love it. Equal parts hypnotic and plodding, it’s got some decent grooves to buzz around in and I’m totally into it.”
3. Freedom (Volcanic Rock, 1973)
“Freedom” is an amazing song that deserves a place in every early 70s’ hard rock compilation. It is constructed over a catchy and heavy bass line that has a hypnotic repetition while the guitar distortion carries magic melodies.”
2. Dune Messiah (Only Want You for Your Body, 1974)
“‘Dune Messiah’ has interesting processed vocals which adds a fair bit to the refrain and makes it stick out a bit from the other tracks. Still this is a very consistent album and one worth getting if early to mid 70s hard rock is your thing.”
1. What’s Going On (Only Want You for Your Body, 1974)
“Don’t know if it was just the mood I was in when last playing this and it’s predecessor, but I actually liked this more, surprisingly. Psych influenced heavy metal hard rock, with elements of Deep Purple, Black sabbath, and Ted Nugent.