Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Writer(s): Neil Young (see lyrics here)
First Charted: June 20, 1970
Peak: 14 US, 14 CB, 25 GR, 13 HR, 2 CL, 16 CN, 44 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): --
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 13.9 video, -- streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Crosby, Stills & Nash arguably became the biggest supergroup of all time when they formed in 1968. David Crosby had been in the Byrds, Stephen Stills in Buffalo Springfield, and Graham Nash in the Hollies. The folk-rock trio released its self-titled debut album the next year and performed at Woodstock in August 1969.
It would be seemingly impossible for the group to get any bigger, but in 1970 they added Neil Young to the mix. He had worked with Stills in Buffalo Springfield before launching a solo career. The quartet released the chart-topping, multi-million-selling Déjà Vu that year. Four singles were released to support the album, but right in the middle of them the foursome released the non-album cut “Ohio.”
The song was in response to an incident at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. Four students were shot and killed by National Guardsmen at an anti-Vietnam war demonstration on the Ohio college campus. The “tragedy galvanized anti-war sentiment nationwide, and deepened the country’s cultural divide.” SS The May 15 issue of Life magazine featured a photo of “a distraught girl kneeling beside Jeffrey Miller’s lifeless body.” SS Four days later, Young penned a “stinging denouncement” HL of the incident in just fifteen minutes. SS “The outrage remains as immediate today ias it ever was.” DT “There are few more stirring moments in their (or any other contemporary) catalog than this.” DT
The song was rush-released, hitting stores just over a month after the incident. In spite of an airplay ban and vice-president Spiro Agnew’s declaration that the song – and rock music in general – was “anti-U.S.” HL the song reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Young deemed it his best work with Crosby, Stills & Nash. HL
First posted 4/12/2023.