“It’s still hard to believe I had to write this song. It’s ironic that I capitalized on the death of these American students. Probably the most important lesson ever learned at an American place of learning.”
~ David Crosby
The Kent State Massacre occurred May 4, 1970 at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio. Unarmed college students were shot by members of the Ohio National Guard. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds in 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.
Immediately after the Kent State shooting (sometimes referred to as the “Kent State Massacre”) on May 4, 1970, Neil Young composed the song “Ohio” after looking at photos appearing in Life magazine and then taking a walk in the woods. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young went to the studio and recorded the song which was released to radio stations shortly after the killings. Soon, the lyrics “Four dead in Ohio” became an anthem to a generation. In some parts of the country, the song was banned from playlists because of it’s “anti-war” and “anti-Nixon” sentiments.