Tin Soldiers

“Ohio” is a protest song and counterculture anthem written and composed by Neil Young in reaction to the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970, and performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

The story goes like this: David Crosby shows his bandmate Neil Young that famous photo of a student at Kent State University, screaming over her dead friend. Young goes into the woods. And soon he comes out with this song about four students killed by National Guardsmen, May 4, 1970. The song was recorded immediately and rushed to record stores. You couldn’t hear it on the radio, but this jarring piece of musical journalism became a hit anyway. “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,” warbles the great Canadian, in a song you hate yourself for calling catchy. Young wrote later that Crosby “broke down and cried” after they cut this beautifully horrifying song. By all accounts, Nixon refused to call the dead students’ parents to express his grief. Maybe you have to have a heart to do that.

Song: 4 Way Street. Artist: Crosby Stills Nash & Young. Album: 4 Way Street. Release Date April 7, 1971

One thought on “Tin Soldiers

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  1. Of course, there was no reason for those students to be shot. Some officers in the NG gave a wrong order, and at that time, the country was fed up with student protests against everything, so this was bound to happen. I was a university student at that time, and felt a bit of the hippie protest spirit, but not so much as to protest and cause mayhem. The girl kneeling over the body of the boy shot was not even a student, but a runaway blending in with the protest. It’s an iconic photo but the wrong caption. A tragic horrifying mistake that made the college elite students think twice before they tried to take over another campus. This is the same thing that is happening now, and will most likely end as bad.


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