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