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

4 thoughts on “Tin Soldiers

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  1. I am still a hippie, in mind, body, and spirit. I watched as those around me gave up and turned tail. The political situation of today is a direct result of people doing nothing in 1970, and later. You can think what you like, but the world changed on May 4th,1970. And it has been deteriorating ever since.
    You know the famous poem that starts “They came for…” Because good people did nothing, there have been over 10,000 gun deaths already in 2023 (I stopped counting then) and we are approaching 200 mass shootings in 2023 — in the US alone. We are all responsible for that!


  2. Just to remind you, rawgod, this is not Facebook and all that crap that goes with that site. I believe you need to firm up the history of that time period and what actually happened from the many protests against the war, which is what Ohio was. It was mostly peaceful, but then again, agitators and organizers always took things to a different level. From personal experience, mayhem and shooting from the hip at anything that moves get nothing but more of the same. I saw it happen too often and got caught in the middle of a few just from being near. It took some time, but it did change, and the hippies were not the ones that did it. Now, we are right back to where we were in 1970, only worse, and there is mayhem and murder, and lawlessness. I didn’t know anyone my age at that time that got scared, but we did get mad and questioned everything. You don’t have to thank me for doing nothing; I got smart and grew up, got a good job, raised a family, and did quite well in life. We can thank our batch of politicians for the shape we are in now, not solid citizens. Funny fact, many of those hippies became our politicians, bad parents that gave their kids a trophy for everything, resulting in the class of idiots we have now, and many of them became solid middle-class citizens, so you never know who’s gonna change things for the better or, the worse. It’s a mystery.


  3. 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.


    1. This was the end of the hippie era, because people like you got scared instead of getting mad. Had you gotten mad, maybe something could have been changed. Thanks for doing othing


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