On the 30th of April 1970, U.S. president Richard Nixon announced the American ground invasion of Cambodia.
On the 4th of May 1970, 4 protesting university students at Kent State were killed by National Guard riflemen under the command of Ohio governor James Rhodes.
On the 10th of May, 2 more university students at Jackson State were killed by Mississippi highway patrolmen and police shotguns.
On May 21st, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young recorded Neil Young's new song, Ohio, with their new rhythm section of Calvin Samuels and Johnny Barbata. Atlantic Records rushed it to release a few weeks later.
"And when you just might start to be thinking, you don’t dare have a voice or there is no voice, from the radio comes this voice of solidarity and outrage. It wasn’t just a pop song.”
~ Pop-culture historian and journalist David Bianculli
Although Keep On Rocking In The Free World comes close to being his best song, the cultural effect of Ohio still prevails as a beacon in our musical history. The mechanical, threatening guitar grind that opens the song promises no mercy. Name-checking the president, the song connected an entire generation to a gravity that had been suppressed by the media's theoretical dismissal of the peace movement (altruism) and the furious murders of many of the major Sixties activists (paranoia, conspiracy theories). Neil and his anthem brought back the ominous dread of the government with nine instant lines of rage. "We're finally on our own." He has been a free radical ever since.