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What Is The Song Ohio By Neil Young About

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Neil Young’s song “Ohio” is a powerful protest song that was written in response to the tragic events that occurred on May 4, 1970, at Kent State University in Ohio. The song was recorded by Neil Young and his bandmates in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and was released as a single later that year. The lyrics of “Ohio” reflect the anger and sadness felt by many people in the United States in the wake of the Kent State shootings, which left four students dead and nine others injured.

Here are 8 interesting facts about the song “Ohio” by Neil Young:

1. The song was written in just a matter of hours: Neil Young was so moved by the news of the Kent State shootings that he immediately sat down and wrote “Ohio” in just a few hours. The song came together quickly and was recorded shortly after, capturing the raw emotion of the moment.

2. The lyrics of the song are a direct response to the events at Kent State: The lyrics of “Ohio” make direct reference to the shootings at Kent State, with lines like “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming” and “Four dead in Ohio.” The song captures the sense of shock and outrage felt by many people in the aftermath of the tragedy.

3. The song was banned by some radio stations: Due to its politically charged lyrics and anti-war message, some radio stations refused to play “Ohio” when it was first released. Despite this, the song still managed to become a hit and remains one of Neil Young’s most iconic songs.

4. The song was recorded quickly and spontaneously: After Neil Young wrote “Ohio,” he called up his bandmates in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and they quickly recorded the song in just a few takes. The raw and urgent sound of the recording reflects the spontaneous nature of its creation.

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5. The cover art for the single featured a photo of the Kent State shootings: The cover art for the single release of “Ohio” featured a chilling photo of the Kent State shootings, showing a young woman kneeling over a fallen student. The image added to the impact of the song and helped to convey the sense of tragedy and loss.

6. The song helped to galvanize public opinion against the Vietnam War: “Ohio” was released at a time when public opinion was turning against the Vietnam War, and the song helped to galvanize opposition to the war. The powerful message of the song resonated with many people who were already questioning the government’s actions.

7. The song has been covered by many artists: Over the years, “Ohio” has been covered by a wide range of artists, including Pearl Jam, U2, and Devo. The song’s enduring message and powerful lyrics continue to resonate with listeners of all generations.

8. Neil Young still performs “Ohio” in concert: Despite being written over 50 years ago, “Ohio” remains a staple of Neil Young’s live performances. The song’s message is still relevant today, and Young continues to use it as a powerful reminder of the need for social and political change.

Now, let’s address some common questions about the song “Ohio”:

1. What inspired Neil Young to write the song “Ohio”?

Neil Young was inspired to write “Ohio” in response to the tragic events at Kent State University in 1970, where four students were killed by National Guardsmen during a protest against the Vietnam War.

2. What is the significance of the title “Ohio”?

The title of the song refers to the state where the shootings took place, and serves as a reminder of the tragedy that occurred there.

3. How did the public react to the song when it was first released?

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While some radio stations banned the song due to its controversial lyrics, “Ohio” was embraced by many listeners who were moved by its powerful message.

4. Why did Neil Young choose to record the song with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young?

Neil Young felt that the song’s message would be amplified by recording it with his bandmates in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, who were also known for their politically charged music.

5. How did the cover art for the single contribute to the song’s impact?

The cover art for the single release of “Ohio” featured a photo of the Kent State shootings, which added a visual element to the song and helped to convey the sense of tragedy and loss.

6. Why do you think “Ohio” has remained a popular and enduring song?

“Ohio” has remained popular and enduring because its message of protest and social change is still relevant today, and its powerful lyrics continue to resonate with listeners.

7. What impact did “Ohio” have on public opinion about the Vietnam War?

“Ohio” helped to galvanize public opinion against the Vietnam War, as it captured the anger and outrage felt by many people who were opposed to the war.

8. How has Neil Young’s performance of “Ohio” evolved over the years?

Neil Young’s performance of “Ohio” has evolved over the years, but the song’s powerful message and emotional impact remain unchanged, making it a staple of his live performances.

9. What other songs have been influenced by “Ohio”?

Many artists have been influenced by “Ohio” and have covered the song in their own style, including Pearl Jam, U2, and Devo.

10. How did the Kent State shootings impact the music of the 1970s?

The Kent State shootings had a significant impact on the music of the 1970s, inspiring songs like “Ohio” that addressed social and political issues of the time.

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11. How does “Ohio” compare to other protest songs of the era?

“Ohio” is considered one of the most powerful protest songs of the era, due to its direct response to a specific event and its emotional impact on listeners.

12. What legacy has “Ohio” left in the music industry?

“Ohio” has left a lasting legacy in the music industry, inspiring other artists to use their platform to speak out against injustice and advocate for social change.

13. How has Neil Young’s activism influenced his music?

Neil Young’s activism has always been a driving force behind his music, and songs like “Ohio” reflect his commitment to using his art as a tool for social and political change.

14. What is the message that Neil Young hopes to convey through “Ohio”?

Through “Ohio,” Neil Young hopes to convey a message of protest against violence and injustice, and a call for unity and solidarity in the face of oppression.

15. How has the meaning of “Ohio” evolved over the years?

While the specific events that inspired “Ohio” may have faded from memory, the song’s message of protest and resistance remains as relevant today as it was in 1970.

In conclusion, “Ohio” by Neil Young is a timeless protest song that continues to resonate with listeners decades after its release. The song’s powerful message and emotional impact have made it a classic in Neil Young’s catalog and a powerful reminder of the need for social and political change. As we look back on the events of May 4, 1970, and the impact of “Ohio,” we can see how music has the power to inspire and unite people in the face of tragedy and injustice.
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