Friday, February 5, 2010

CSNY's Ohio and The Kent State Massacre

Well I seem to be on a roll now and I promised Angus that I would continue with my songs connected with history series.

So here is Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young's song OHIO and how it relates to The Kent State Massacre on May 4th 1970

For those of you who don't know what the hell I'm talking about the links will follow.....I promise!

*The photo to the left was taken by John Filo.  The young woman is Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over the body of Jeffery Miller (who was killed in the massacre)*

According to my favorite source (, the following is a quick summary of what happened:

"The Kent State shootings, also known as the May 4 massacre or Kent-State massacre, occurred at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis."

"Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance."

"There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of four million students, and the event further divided the country, at an already socially contentious time, about the role of the United States in the Vietnam War."

Neil Young wrote OHIO in reaction to the incident, he saw photos in Life Magazine.  CSNY recorded it shortly after the massacre and released it that June.

I wasn't alive in 1970 but I did learn about this event in a class I took in college about the history of protests in the US. After further investigation I connected this with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young's (CSNY) song OHIO. I actually knew the song first...around junior high school I guess....but then it was just a really kick ass song!

Interestingly enough one of the young men killed in the massacre (Jeffery Miller) had attended Plainview-Old Bethpage High School (which is about 1/2 hour from where I live).

Here's the link for the Wikipedia article:

Here is a link to the web page of one of the survivors of the massacre Alan Canfora:

Here's a link to CSNY's song OHIO article on Wikipedia:

The Wikipedia article lists about 20 artists and their songs which were inspired by the massacre...the first being CSNY's OHIO.

That being said here are two videos, the first is a tribute video that was made using pictures from the incident over CSNY singing OHIO:

The second video is a live version of CSNY singing OHIO in 1974:

Hopefully this will inspire people to be more in tune with what's going on around them and let them realize that music is used for more than enjoyment.

Rest In Peace:

Jeffrey Glenn Miller; age 20
Allison B. Krause; age 19
William Knox Schroeder; age 19
Sandra Lee Scheuer; age 20

Signing Off 21:21

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