Saturday, June 20, 1970

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “Ohio” charted


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, 24.25 video, 95.90 streaming


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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


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First posted 4/12/2023; last updated 4/28/2024.

Friday, June 12, 1970

The Kinks “Lola” released


The Kinks

Writer(s): Ray Davies (see lyrics here)

Released: June 12, 1970

First Charted: July 4, 1970

Peak: 9 US, 8 CB, 7 GR, 7 HR, 1 CL, 2 UK, 2 CN, 6 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 22.0 video, 218.86 streaming


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About the Song:

The Kinks formed in England in 1963 and were one of the most celebrated bands that spearheaded the British invasion. Singer/songwriter Ray Davies “created some of the best typically British popular music of the era.” TB The Kinks landed a dozen top-ten hits in the UK during the 1960s. In the U.S., they hit the top 10 three times before petering out and finding themselves unable to even crack the Hot 100. However, they experienced a resurgence in 1970 with “Lola,” a top-ten hit in the U.S. and UK.

“One of the most controversial songs of its time, ‘Lola’ was the first pop hit about transexuality.” TC It “predicts gender bending a full decade before Boy George made it fashionable” DT in the early ‘80s. Davies spins a tale about picking up a woman at a Paris nightclub who might be a man. He was inspired by a night out with record producer Robert Wace, who was dancing with a sultry black woman. However, when Davies noticed stubble on “her” chin, he thought she might be a he. SJ

Kinks’ drummer Mick Avory has claimed it was about his own experiences in West London bars which hosted drag shows. WK Davies himself denies it was inspired by his own experience dating Candy Darling, a transvestite who gained attention as one of Andy Warhol’s superstars at the Factory and who was referenced in Lou Reed’s song “Walk on the Wild Side.” TC

Amusingly, the Kinks did have to change a line in the song, but not because of sexuality. The song originally referenced Coca-Cola, but the BBC insisted on changing the lyric to “Cherry Cola” TC because of regulations prohibiting product advertising on the airwaves. TB


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First posted 7/11/2023.

Saturday, June 6, 1970

Joni Mitchell “Big Yellow Taxi” charted

Big Yellow Taxi

Joni Mitchell

Writer(s): Joni Mitchell (see lyrics here)

First Charted: June 6, 1970

Peak: 24 BB, 100 CB, 35 GR, 32 HR, 33 AC, 3 CL, 11 UK, 14 CN, 6 AU, 3 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK, 0.48 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 18.5 video, 170.30 streaming


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About the Song:

Folk singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell was born Roberta Joan Anderson in Alberta, Canada, in 1943. She moved to the United States in 1965, eventually settling in Laurel Canyon, a Los Angeles neighborhood which became known as a haven for the counterculture movement and a launching pad for multiple musicians in the mid-‘60s through the mid-‘70s. She released her first album, Song to a Seagull, in 1968.

Joni’s third album, 1970’s Ladies of the Canyon, reached the top 30 on the Billboard album chart and went platinum. The title was a reference to Laurel Canyon and included some of her most notable songs such as “Woodstock,” “The Circle Game,” and “Big Yellow Taxi.” The latter “combines the global and the personal in a playful, jaunty song that nonetheless makes its point.” TC

She explained how the song was inspired by a visit to Hawaii. She said, “The hotel room was quite high up so in the distance I could see the blue Pacific Ocean. I walked over to the balcony and there was the picturebook scenery, palm tree swaying in the breeze and all. Then I looked down and there was this ugly concrete car park,” TC which, as she said in another interview, “as far as the ey could see…and it broke my heart…this blight on paradise.” DT She came up with the line “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot” and the song was born.

Another famous line from the song was “They took all the trees, and put ‘em in a tree museum / And charged the people a dollar and a half just to see ‘em.” It was inspired by Foster Botanical Garden, a living museum of tropical plants in Honolulu. WK The song takes a personal turn toward then end when Mitchell refers to a loved one leaving in a a big yellow taxi. Some have interpreted it as him walking out on her while others think it could mean he was being taken away by the authorities. WK

The studio version of the song was released as a single in 1970, but peaked at #67 on the Billboard Hot 100. Four years later, a live version outdid the original, climbing to #24. The song would also be a hit for the Neighborhood (#29 BB, 1970), Amy Grant (1994, #67 BB, 18 AC, 20 UK, 25 CN), and the Counting Crows with Vanessa Carlton (2002, #42 BB, 5 AC, 16 UK, 12 CN, 3 AU).


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First posted 4/25/2024.

Friday, June 5, 1970

“Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young charted

Teach Your Children

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Writer(s): Graham Nash (see lyrics here)

Released: May 1970

First Charted: June 5, 1970

Peak: 16 US, 16 CB, 13 GR, 16 HR, 26 AC, 4 CL, 8 CN, 11 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 25.8 video, 84.6 streaming


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About the Song:

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are arguably the biggest supergroup of all time. Each member is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Their collective effort was recognized as were their previous groups. David Crosby had been with the Byrds, Stephen Stills & Neil Young with Buffalo Springfield, and Graham Nash with the Hollies.

It was a song written by Nash while with the Hollies that became one of CSNY’s most beloved songs. In 1968, he penned “Teach Your Children” but the Hollies didn’t record the song until 1983. Crosby, Stills & Nash initially recorded it in 1969 for their debut album, but then held it over until their second album, Déjà Vu, WKSF

Nash said it “started out as a slightly funk English folk song but Stephen put a country beat to it and turned it into a hit record.” SF It also featured the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia is featured on pedal steel guitar. Those two elements helped land the song amongst Dave’s Music Database lists of the top 100 folk/folk-rock songs as well as Southern rock/country rock songs. Cash Box cited the song for its “delicately composed material” and “incredible soft harmony luster.” WK

Nash wrote the song about his own difficult relationship with his father, who spent time in prison. SF However, he has also associated the song with a 1962 Diane Arbus photo of an angry child holding a toy hand grenade. It “prompted Nash to reflect on the societal implications of messages given to children about war and other issues.” WK

An updated version of “Teach Your Children” with a new arrangement was used for an Apple II computer TV commercial in 1985 “to show how to prepare your kids for the modern world.” SF Crosby, Stills & Nash re-recorded the song in 1994 with country artists Suzy Bogguss, Alison Krauss, and Kathy Mattea to benefit AIDS awareness.


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First posted 3/14/2023; last updated 4/26/2024.