This song is about the events of May 4, 1970, when the US National Guard shot four unarmed students at Kent State University in Ohio. Neil Young wrote it shortly after seeing a news report on the tragedy. It was released 10 days after the shootings.
The Kent State shootings had a profound effect on some of the students who later became prominent musicians. Chrissie Hynde was a student at the time, and eventually formed The Pretenders. Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale were also on campus, and after the shootings, they developed the band Devo based on the concept of "De-Evolution," meaning the human race was regressing. Said Casale, "It refocused me entirely. I don't think I would have done Devo without it. It was the deciding factor that made me live and breathe this idea and make it happen. In Chrissie Hynde's case, I'm sure it was a very powerful single event that was traumatic enough to form her sensibility and account for a lot of her anger." Mothersbaugh added, "It was the first time I'd heard a song about something I'd been a participant in. It effected us. It was part of our life."
A tin soldier is a toy solder, mindlessly controlled by its owner. In this song, Young likens the National Guard troops to tin soldiers controlled by Nixon.
It's likely he got the metaphor from a 1969 song by The Original Caste called "One Tin Soldier," which went to #1 in Young's native Canada (it was an American hit two years later for the band Coven). Other songs with the phrase in the title include "The Little Tin Soldier" by Donovan (1965) and "Tin Soldier" by the Small Faces (1967).
Jerry Casale gave Songfacts this account of the shootings:
"I was a student, I was a member of SDS - an antiwar group called Students for a Democratic Society, trying to restore Democracy at a time when LBJ and Nixon were running roughshod over it. There were several antiwar groups. That protest that day where everybody got shot was a protest against the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. It was a secret expansion, Nixon had done it the night before and we found out about it the next day - the whole nation did. They did it without an act of congress, without passing any new law or having any meetings. It was completely unconstitutional.
So we're out there at noon, about 3,500 students at Kent State were out there. The governor, who certainly was a pro-war kind of guy, Governor Rhodes, he had placed the National Guard inside the heating plant of the school the night before anticipating what would happen when the students found out about Cambodia. Not only did he do that, but he waited until about 9 a.m. on May 4th to declare Martial Law, which suspends all first amendment rights of The Constitution, meaning that any assembly is automatically illegal, you're automatically committing a crime.
These National Guardsmen poured out of the heating plant, surrounded the protesters, and with a bullhorn announced that Martial Law had been declared and that we were all going to jail. Everybody starts chanting and screaming and they start shooting tear gas and some of the more ballsy protesters, while they're coughing and choking and puking are trying to throw it back, but most of the kids were anywhere from 50 to 100 yards away from these lines of National Guardsmen with guns.
Nobody believed that the guns were actually loaded with live ammo. They just suddenly formed a row. The first one knelt and the second one stood, and they just shot right into the crowd, shot at all of us, down the hill at all of us. The worst thing about it is that two of the four students killed weren't part of the demonstration, weren't part of an antiwar group. They'd just come out of class from the journalism building at that time and come out on their way to their next class and were looking at the protest, just seeing what the hell's going on, and they got killed. The bullets just went everywhere, it was like a scatter-gun approach, like shooting geese. A lot of the bullets went over the heads of the protesters and kept going straight down the hill. One of the kids that's paralyzed for life was getting into his car to leave campus after his class, and they shot him in the back. He was at least 200 yards away and wanted nothing to do with what was going on. It was shocking. It pretty much knocked any hippie that I had left in me right out of me that day.
I had been a member of the honors college and the only way I went to school was with a scholarship. My family was poor and I got a scholarship to go to school. What I had to do every year to earn my scholarship was work three months in the summer for the university admitting new students to the honors college, the incoming freshman, and helping them arrange their curriculum, taking them through the registration process. The summer before May 4th, I had befriended Jeffery Miller and Allison Krause, two honor students, and they turn out to be two of the four killed on May 4th. So I'd known both of them nine months before this happened, and so when I realized that this girl on her stomach with a huge exit wound in her back with blood running down the sidewalk was Allison, I nearly passed out. I sat down on the grass and kind of swooned around and lied down. I was in shock, I couldn't move.
The government and the press tried to lie about what happened as well as they could. The fact that anybody knows what happened is amazing because they did such a good job of muddying it up and lying, it was amazing. The final chapter there was that the parents of the students who were shot and killed banded together and went on a class action suit against Governor Rhodes and the state of Ohio and the National Guard, and summarily lost across the board. These kids that were shot were 18 and 19 years old. Two of them were 18 and two of them were 19. They lost because by law, no one was allowed to be having a protest once Martial Law was declared, and they threw it out of the court system. I don't think anyone wants to know the truth. It ruins the myth of freedom in America to find out how easily it can be gone." (check out our Devo interview)
Young considers this the best song he wrote with CSN&Y. He included this on his 1977 Greatest Hits album Decade.
This became a protest anthem as Americans became fed up with the war in Vietnam. Providing a firsthand account of the shootings and the effect of this song, Alan Canfora told us: "On May 4, 1970, I was waving a black protest flag as a symbol of my anger and despair 10 days after I attended the funeral of my 19-year-old friend killed in Vietnam. I was about 250 feet away from the kneeling, aiming guardsmen from Troop G - the death squad - minutes before they marched away up a hillside. They fired 67 shots from the hilltop during 13 seconds of deadly gunfire, mostly from powerful M1 rifles. I was shot through my right wrist. I survived because I jumped behind the only tree in the direct line of gunfire. About a week later, I was riding in the Ohio countryside with other Kent State massacre survivors when WMMS radio played the song 'Ohio' for the first time. We were deeply moved and inspired by that great anti-war anthem."
This was released as a single, but the song did not appear on an album until Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young included it on their live album Four Way Street a year later.
Young was a vocal critic of American foreign policy throughout the Vietnam War and became a voice of dissent during the George W. Bush administration, when songs like "Let's Impeach The President" spoke out against the president and his war in Iraq.
Devo recorded this for the 2002 album When Pigs Fly, Songs You Never Thought You'd Hear. The album was a collection of unlikely covers by various artists. Cevin Soling, who put the album together, met Mark Mothersbaugh's girlfriend at a film festival, who told Mark about the project and got Devo involved. Says Soling: "I knew about the history, I was nervous about them thinking I was being exploitative of their tie to the tragedy. So I really tried to do that gingerly. That took a little while to get off the ground. They did "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini," which I guess they had started working on at one point. And I guess it was just sort of difficult getting everyone together and recording. But then they called me back and they said they listened to it and they didn't think it was good. So at some point in time, they finally all got motivated and got together. I guess Mark was very nervous about putting out something that might not up to Devo quality, and I think he's finally let the seer of his legacy kind of loom over doing new stuff." (Check out our interview with Cevin Soling.)
Survivor from Columbus, OhI was in Can Tho Vietnam in 1970, which is along the Mekong Delta. I witnessed and have pictures of the Ah-1G Cobra attacks along the Mekong river, longitudinal between Cambodia and Vietnam. It made no difference on which side (or Country) the target acquisition was located, the Cobra's fired at any suspected activity along the Ho Chi Minh trail. I've seen the bodies floating down the MeKong. Two of the four students killed, Allison Krause and Jeffrey Miller, had participated in the protest, and the other two, Sandra Scheuer and William Knox Schroeder, had been walking from one class to the next at the time of their deaths. Schroeder was also a member of the campus ROTC battalion. Of those wounded, none was closer than 71 feet to the guardsmen. Of those killed, the nearest (Miller) was 265 feet away, and their average distance from the guardsmen was 345 feet. Sgt. Myron Pryor who gave the order to fire WAS NOT IN VIETNAM, Harry Montgomery and Charles Deegan did serve in Vietnam, whether or not in a combat role is unknown. NOT ALL VIETNAM VETS (such as myself after 42 months) have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: and I know at least a few who are receiving VA benefits (CRSC) were not in combat. This murder was much more than an OVERKILL to a nonthreatening protest.
Kevin from Lawrence, KsThe guitar riff at the intro and at the middle bridge is hauntingly powerful and now iconic.
R. H. from Pauls Valley, OkGrover from Grand Caymens - You can't be serious???? I lived in Norman, OK for 27 years and it's a wonderful little city. OU is rated very high in academics. Just because two rogue students went there instead of any other campus in the country you blame the entire university and it's president. I've read some pretty stupid comments on this site before but yours has got be right there at the top you f*cking dolt!
Dave from Cullman, AlI was in the USAF when all this was going down; left my first assignment in Turkey in early June 1970, and reported for my next assignment in northern Japan on July 5. The "scut work" in the enlisted barracks was done by Japanese maids, and they would knock on our doors with the short form of "good morning"--"O-hayo!" This song, and the distress over the accompanying events, are forever tied up with that Japanese word.
Johnsp from St. Paul, Mnfyodor, It is Stills on lead. When Buffalo Springfield or CSNY played live, Neil and Stills would often play on the other's song. Since Ohio was recorded live, it's Stills. Still's Find The Cost Of Freedom is very influenced by Ohio in terms of chords, main riff, and the basic lead similar to the intro to the first solo on Ohio.
Cody from Grand Rapids, Mithe soldier who opened fire was fresh home from dutie in nam suffering from post dramatic stress when the students were throwing rocks he probly thought he was back in nam having grenades thrown at him
Ryan from Somewhere In, NjWhat a horrible massacre! God bless the victims, to this day. Ekrishteh and Alex make excellent points about the other tragedies, as well. Someone else also said something about the haunting guitar riff that comes up in the beginning amd carries through the whole song.
Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesAlex is correct that the Jackson State killings, ten days later, have been largely forgotten, along with Orangeburg (which was about civil rights), and I believe there were one or two others. It was common to blame "outside agitators" for the protests, but in most cases this was not true.
Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesKent State completely revolutionized my thinking and convinced me that the attitude of my forebears (right wing on steroids, you might say) was completely wrong. Whatever was going on, anywhere in the world, these murders were not justified. It was common to hear adults -- ordinary men and women -- state that the four deserved to die (should have been done long ago). Crosby was not wrong in his fear that those who denounced the government would be killed. I myself heard men say that this incident amounted to open season on "longhairs" and "radicals" -- cheerfully talking about killing their own sons and daughters if they expressed similar views or clothing-hair styles. Truly, it was an insane time. God bless Neil Young for his courage in speaking out then and now.
Wayne from Salem, VaI was 10 years old in 1970. My sister who was 13 bought this on a 45 single. I think "Find The Cost Of Freedom" was on the B-side. I was old enough to dig rock and roll. But still not old enough to understand what this song was all about. The opening guitar chords are haunting.As is the entire song as they move along with it.On Neil Young's "Decade"-(a three album set,spanning his musical career). He wrote that "This is a song of learning.At a place of learning". He said that David Crosby cried after they finished the recording. The live version on "4-Way Street" is very good.This is one of those Neil Young songs that he no longer does in concert. The same for "Alabama" from his Harvest LP. I read a story in the paper years ago. That the girl in the famous Kent State photo. Where she is throwing her arms up as one or two people are lying there. The story said that she caught hell for that for years after. She received alot of hate mail and threats.
Fred from Laurel, MdThe whole topic of war protests/war misreporting/etc. is one that is worthy of debate, and songs like this one cannot be thoroughly discussed without that. But one thing I think we all need to recognize is that Neil Young is a somewhat complex character. When I heard this song back then, it was obvious to me what his political leanings were. And yes, it was certainly a horrible incident. But then, 3 decades later, when I heard his song, "Let's Roll" praising the heroic passengers aboard Flight 93 on 9/11, which would probably have smashed into the Capitol or the White House, had those passengers not thwarted the thugs, I was completely taken aback. It confirmed for me that he really has a deep-seated sense of justice, and doesn't fall into the knee-jerk political category, on either side of that fence. I particularly like his lines, "No one has the answers, but one thing is true / You got to turn on evil when it's comin' after you. / You got to face it down and when it tries to hide / You got to go in after it and never be denied. / Time is runnin' out--let's roll! / Let's roll for freedom, let's roll for love / Goin' after Satan on the wings of a dove." -- kinda shows me that Neil knows where Satan REALLY is in this struggle.
Ty from Aafaf, AlNixon had nothing to do with these shootings, the national guard shooters were just taking orders and most likely didn't know the targets were not part of the protest, Canadians(Shana) you complain about Americans talking trash about your people but then you critize America and the wars we've fought against tyranny. A violent protest will lead to violence, I hope that if a mob like that, not an assembly like in the First Ammendment but an angry violent mob, was threatening other people's natural rights then my would governor would stop it.
And Shana, don't speak for an entire country, its an obnoxious and feeble-minded thing to do
Maria The Innocent from Orlando, FlBart I weep for the students who have to put up with your supposed "proper" self-rightousness. School should not be about an overzealous teacher attempting to cloud the judgment of young students.
Tom from Concord, OhI was a teenager, just beginning college when the Kent State shootings occurred. I survived two Viet Nam draft lotteries and fortunately didn't have to go. Two friends did and now their names are on the Wall in D.C. Seems we don't learn from past mistakes as evidenced by W's involvement in Iraq. It's Nam all over again no matter what the war supporters say.
Bart from Westmont, NjIncredible Song. I was in the US Army at the time, about a year out of Vietnam. I hated the war and LBJ and Nixon for putting us there. It was both an immoral and illegal war(Gulf of Tonkin resolution was a pack of lies as Bush's Weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq). 37 years later I'm teaching High School US History and I always play Neil's song for my students. Maybe someday we will learn!
Brent from Columbus, OhFirst, it is not the US National Guard but the OH National Guard. My neighbor growing up was the general who ordered the shootings and as a result we had twenty four hour police protection in our neighborhood. Imagine being a young kid and having police everywhere. I first heard the song when my uncle returned from the Vietnam War. The song still gets quite a bit of air play in Columbus but the kids of today do not understand the song or why it was wrote.
Frank from Allen, UtPaul from Toledo is correct, this song was banned from radio air play in Ohio for many years. I lived in Columbus at the time when every Ohio radio station began playing the song, (I don't remember the specific date, but it was sometime in the mid 70's. I never understood how Governor Rhodes was able to ban the song from being played. If anyone can provide more details, I would be interested to know.
Grover from Grand Caymens, OtherI think of the contrast between the Kent State students and O.U. students Henriechs and Moussaoui. While the Kent State students protested an illegal invasion, the O.U. students were out to kill U.S. citizens in the USA. The irony of current matters is that O.U. President, David Boren, formed a lot of his foreign policy as a powerful U.S. Congressman as a result of what happened at Kent State. The irony being that one of his own students became a central focus of the 9-11 events. He has not spoken of this since 9-11 and refuses to comment on the matter when asked.
Bill from Queens, NyThe refrain from this song "Four dead in Ohio, and Nixon's comin'!" still reverberates in my head from time to time. I had only been home from Vietnam about a year when this incident took place. While I was in Vietnam four students were killed at an anti-war/anti-segregation demonstration near the campus of South Carolina State University at Orangeburg. After all the assassinations, riots, and the general blood-letting in Vietnam, and Down South over the Civil Rights, I thought there would be many more incidents like that at Kent State and Orange State, but thankfully we were spared any additional carnage. That the song was published, broadcast, and sung openly meant democracy in America was not dead, only a bit roughed up.
Angela from Helena, MtAlthough I was a baby when this shooting occured I think that it was a BIG mistake on Richard Nixon's part. I mean, I had always knew Nixon was a bad president (that's why he resigned) and all, but the fact he ignored congress and killed four innocent students. They were people with lives and families and the fact ANYONE especially a president could kill them and hurt many others is unreal and horrid. The fact we are in Iraq with a scatterbrained and unreliable president doesn't really set my mind at peace either.
Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScJustin nd Linda agreed. Anyone hould be ble to peak out against wrongdoing and thisis a gret song written y a geat ongwriter.
Justin from Albany, NyOk well normally my statements arent this long but im a lil pissed off at what mike said. Mike from fort worth, u cannot chastise neil young just because he was successful in the US and hes canadian. There is no logic behind that. The US was not the one who made him successful he pretty much did that all on his own. It was his talent, you cannot say that the US or the US government had anything to do with his tremendous success as an artist. Also, i agree with what linda said. Anyone should be allowed to speak out against wrong doings or just speak out in general (If the US had spoken out against Hitler earlier we would have saved many jews lives). Finally he used Richard Nixon as opposed to the governor of Ohio at the time, because Nixon was a more well known figure than James Rhodes. Not only that but because Nixon had the reputation as a dishonest man. Ever since his checkers speech people had been skeptical of him. Also, especially at the time, people laid blame almost directly on the president for bad events involving the US, whether it be Vietnam, or occurances at home and Neil Young was no exception. Finally Neil Young probably didnt like Nixon very much after all a lot of people in the country didnt. He may have done some protest songs against the US but i don't exactly see much wrong with that. Oh btw neil young is by far one of the best song writers of all time and this song is so powerful... i love it so much
Linda from Omaha, NeTo Mike of Fort Worth, TX - I think anybody has the right to be sad or angry about what happened at Kent State, wheather their Canadian or American, black or white, and in your case even republican. Maybe your just upset because Neil Young is a Canadian who is more successful then you'll ever be.
Alex from Baltimore, MdThis was a terrible incident that occured. However, i find it very sad that when two african-american students were shot at peacefull protest at Mississipi State their was no public outcry like the one after this incident.
Elie from London, Englandunfortunatly there have been a lot of similar events like the may 4 1970 one
i read a couple of years ago about a peace march ending in chaos the cops had attaked the protestors sending them to the hospital then they had attaked the hospital wounding the wounded,the nursesand the doctors
Mark from Lancaster, OhWhen the song came out in 1970 everyone I knew thought that it was somewhat contrived and exploitive. And since we did not have the advantage of knowing how it would all come out, we were also rather concerned that there would be a lot more shootings; the incident in Ohio was applauded by more politicians than will now admit it.
As it stands, there is a rather strange statue of Governor Rhodes in Columbus: it's essentially life-size, with him carrying his attache case, close to ground level, like he's headed to lunch like the rest of the workers. Apparently a larger statue was proposed, but there was and is no great desire for one. Someone claims to have stuck a small placard bearing the names of the four Kent State Students inside the hollow statue.
Governor Rhodes, it turns out, was planning to run for national political office, and likely would have made a strong Presidential candidate. After the Kent State incident, however, the Republican National Committee decided otherwise.
Clarke from Pittsburgh, PaThis was a #1 song on KQV in Pittsburgh when I was a teenager, and I remember it being quite jarring among the Partridge Family and Archies tunes that were popular at the time. It still haunts after three decades. My condolences to those who were there to see it happen.
Jon from Oakridge, OrI DO realize that this song has a lot of political contraversy around it, but people lets try to stick to the musical facts and not get caught up in politics. This site's not about political debate but about songs and music.
Liz from Kent, OhI am a student at Kent State. For most of my Kent State friends and me, this song represents something that we could never forget or ignore. May 4th will not be forgotten.
Larigator from Palo Alto, Ca My freshman year of college, I was a gangly, goofy kid who couldn't do much right, but I had just enough luck and grades to be accepted to a top-tier private liberal arts school in Ohio with a legendary history of supporting liberal causes, including historic leadership in abolition and against apartheid. As a teen I was stuck between two worlds- the liberal, even "hippie" anti-war culture that was fizzling out in the post Vietnam era, and the early 80s rush to greedy materialism (Gordon Gecko's infamous "Greed is good!") I made the school's quasi-official "ultimate frisbee team" and we, hippie-but-privileged private school students, made the trip to Kent St. U to play their team in "ultimate," sort of frisbee-flinging soccer. Upon arrival, I saw one of the local monuments to the tragedy, a rusty steel-plate sculpture made entirely from steel plates that had been shot through with bullet holes on that day. It took no imagination to realize what those holes - punched in 1/4 plate steel - would have been like on a person's body. I was so moved by the experience (and my own overly empathetic imagination) that I kept thinking about it while playing in the game, and purposely muffed a pass or catch that would have won our team the game. Being an ultimate "liberal" college, some of the guys & girls on our team came by to console me on blowing the game (instead of criticizing me as a loser and "whiffer"). I let out that "oh, I intentionally flubbed that pass, I was so moved by what happened hear 15 years ago that I felt sorry for KSU", and let me tell you, it was a cold, silent ride home on that team bus! Today I have to laugh... you can certainly take "non-violence" too far, as I did that day, short-circuiting even a friendly, low-key competition. Which, come to think of it, is the problem with "liberalism" these days: it is simply much more powerful to work selfishly for your own group, than it is to try to give stuff away to 'other' groups. But I've got to say- Neil Young's song, and CSNY's gripping performance - is why I was so tuned into what happened at Kent State U in the first place. Even then, corporate media control could distill a massacre down to 4 or 5 words "4 students killed in massive, threatenning protest."
Fyodor from Denver, CoIs that Stills on lead? Sounds more fluid than Neil's style.
Dennis from Anchorage, AkAt the time they released this song, CSNY already had a big hit on the airwaves: "Teach Your Children." That was a song calling for peace and understanding between the generations. They pulled it and substituted this one instead because they were so upset. It's kind of sad that they were so angry that they abandoned the olive branch they had extended, but I can certainly understand it. The odd thing for me to think about today is that this incident happend right after I turned eight, and I was completely unaware of it at the time. I watched the news, and my older brother would often talk about things (he was a bit of a rebel then and got into arguments with my dad a lot). So I find it odd that I didn't realize this had happened until some years later. I do think that blaming Nixon is a bit un-called for, since it was clearly the Ohio governor who chose to pour gasoline on the fire (and it was, after all, Nixon who finally pulled US troops out of Vietnam). The real sad truth of the situation is the the National Guard troops were basically the same age as the protesters and were terrified and probably poorly trained. Those troops were in grave danger, actually, from the mob there; bricks can kill as well as bullets and they were heavily outnumbered by some very angry people. The whole thing was a mess.
Steve from Fenton, MoBack in the early 80's, Neil was quoted as supporting Ronald Reagan as President. That took a lot of courage for an entertainer. Then after being subject to a lot of criticism and verbal abuse, he found out it was easier to fall back in line with the brain-dead left. Politics aside, this is a great song.
Nora from Philadelphia, PaAlthough the CSN&Y version will always be my favorite, there's a cover by the Isley Brothers that's a medley with Jimi Hendrix's "Machine Gun" that is dramatic and haunting too. It's a lot slower than the original by CSN&Y.
Pat from Las Vegas, NvI was an engineering student at Purdue University when the Kent State incident happened. For those who don't know, Purdue is mostly a technical school, and wasn't very political at the time--until the Kent State shootings happened. At least a few of those shot had absolutely nothing to do with the protest. After that day, the feeling was that anyone could be shot if they were at a college. I took my senior yearbook pictures that day, and couldn't manage a real smile; neither could anyone else.
Incidentally, I was drafted into the Army upon graduation, but fortunately did not get sent to Vietnam. Lucky, I guess.
Galina from New London, CtAwesome song, one of my favorites because it has a meaning that almost everyone can relate to. I also love to sing along when my dad plays the tape.
Janet from Cleveland, OhI grew up 1/2 mile away from KSU as the crow flies; I vividly remember the light from the ROTC fire in the sky, and Guard vehicles and helicopters in the area. This song always brings back lots of memories.
Wes/Jeremy: The students did indeed riot; they did indeed burn down the ROTC building. But two of the students killed weren't any part of that and even those who were, who were shot had due process rights. That means they should have been arrested and tried, and sentenced when and if they were found guilty -- not shot down in cold blood. Remember May 4!
Rafael from Pasadena, CaI was just a kid when this came out, now CSN are my favorite group of all time and now at 48 years of age I have managed to see them here in LA four years in a row.
This is an amazing song no matter what your political leanings are. It was a terrible time in America and the social relevance of this song cannot be ignored.
Mike from Fort Worth, TxFirst of all, Richard Nixon had nothing to do with the killings at Kent State. The Ohio governor, James Rhodes, mobilized the Ohio national guard to quell the mob scene at the campus. The loss of life was no doubt regrettable. These protests, by 1970, were an annual affair, and especially coming weeks after the invasion of Cambodia in April of '70. I like Neil Young's music, however, he's another Canadian who came to this country to make his fortune, and then constantly criticizes the golden goose which enriched him.
Sean from Minneapolis, MnToday people we must renew our concern and motivate and activate again against tyranny,,,,,,,,,,to establish more resistance against the iraq war and demand a pullout, to learn from great past antiwar activists, and voice your concern in peacefull resistance and education
Wes from Springfield, VaWhenever I hear this one (and the story about Neil Young and David Crosby blubbering) I just feel like saying, "Oh, get over it." It's like hearing, for the 67,435th time, how evil Joseph McCarthy was. Paugh.
Gabe from Jasper, GaJeremy, you said that speaking out against government is espionage and that it is not a right. We have the right to freely petition the government. Which means we can protest things they do. If people don't protest and go along with whatever the government wants, it would end up being a Militaristic Dictatorship, that I hope you agree that that is not too good.
Jude from Thomasville, GaThis is a powerful song by a powerful artist. Another powerful song is the title track to Crosby, Stills and Nash's album "Daylight Again." It was written by Steven Stills and Art Garfunkel sings with CSN. I defy the most hardened world leaders to listen to the last four lines, "Find the Cost of Freedom" and not be saddened by the waste of war.
Tim from Milestone, CanadaJeremy the price that we pay for living in democratic countries is that we must be eternally watchful and be willing to protect our rights and freedoms. secondly like the article above says 2 of the kids killed were not part of the protest so they shouldn't all be shot. I feel sorry for you that you have such a pessimistic attitude towards the people who like to exercise there rights. I also feel that people like yourself elect someone like Nixon who was very power hungary and is the appidamy of a bad president because they stop working for the people and start working for themselves.
Jeremy from Baltimore, MdYou other comment posters don't know the whole story do you. Did you guys hear about the part where the protesters violently burned down the ROTC building on OSU campus. I do believe the first amendment freedom of assembly, peaceful assembly. A secong thing speaking out against the government, isn't that espionage? They all should have been shot. Who gave them that first amendment right? I will tell you who, the very people they were protesting against, the soldiers and government. Our country was founded on a war. And all you who are against war think about that!
Paul from Toledo, OhThis song was banned from radio play in Ohio. I've never heard another song with as strong and clear of a message in so few words.
Geoph from Toronto, CanadaI have been wondering what CSNY did with the money made from this song?
Neil from Ny, DcPeople need to remember what happened on May 4, 1970, at Kent State University in Ohio.
With the 35 anniversary, there's a lot of energy on remembering what happened that day.
This site has more on the day & song. http://www.thrasherswheat.org/fot/ohio.htm
Mike from Richmond, VaThe name of the song is Bubba Ho-Tep. I can't believe nobody has said anything about it.
Erin from Kingsland, GaThis song makes me turn the radio all the way up. That having been said, do you know there is a nun doing 33 months in jail (with Martha Stewart at Camp Breakfast or whatever) for protesting the current asinine war? This song is still topical, sadly.
Jon from Roeland Park, KsI'm still mad about Kent State and this song revs me up with righteous anger every time I hear it. I'm surprised there wasn't more of a violent reaction around this country when the government did this. The song is a fairly clear call to take some kind of action (can you imagine getting away with this today?) - does anyone know if radio had any trouble with it back then?
James from Ragin' Rochester, NyI don't remember which of Crosby, Stills, or Nash was being interviewed on a national talk show when it was revealed that some of the back-up vocals were shouts of F**K-EM and THEY OUGHT TO BE FRIED.
Deana from Indianapolis, InMary Ann Vecchio remembers Kent State - a 14 year old runaway that was there pretending to be involved in the movement - became an icon
Matthew from New York, NyThis could possibly be the most powerful protest song ever. Some notes:
1) Neil Young was staying in a cabin in the woods with Crosby, Stills, and Nash, writing songs. Crosby got a copy of Life magazine, and showed Neil Young the pictures of Kent State, including the famous picture of the woman kneeling down, crying over a dead body. Young, without saying a word, left the cabin carrying only that magazine and his guitar. He returned a few hours later and played, with tears in his eyes, Ohio.
2) The lines "What if you knew her, and found her dead on the ground?" refer to the picture in Life.
3) CSNY rushed the song to the studio and had it release just a week or two after the tragedy. This is one of the reasons it has served as a soundtrack to the event.
4) Crosby once said that Young calling Nixon's name out in the lyrics was "the bravest thing I ever heard." Crosby noted that at the time, it seemed like those who stood up to Nixon, like those at Kent State, were shot. Neil Young did not seemed scared at all.
5) Young once called the song a "call to arms." He saw Kent State as a Lexington and Concord battle, and the warning shots had been fired to begin a new Revolutionary War.
Adam from Beaver Falls, PaAll I have to say is that I listened to this song on headphones while walking past the site of the shootings at KSU on my way to class before and it's powerful.
Awfs from Fsda, Mdone person might wright about anguish and others of love, but i think i speek for all when i say that young was a absokut crobate with music, inbarking the listener in a trance in whcih one can actuially fell the music corsing the the capilarries in their brain.....CHANCH
Joseph- from Atlanta, GaThirty years later- this song still emparts the sense of anguish and emotion that people felt at the time I think certaqin songs have such a strong social statement, that they resonate with people, and become part of our common heritage. A thousand years ago, there were ballads sung of deeds and disasters - or societies with little written history, who kept a rich social history by passing their memories through centuries in song. Another song that seems to fit this category would be "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", which also echoes heartache and loss decades later.