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protest :: Blog

The Story of "Ohio"

Thursday, May 17: 11 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The single for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Ohio"/"Find The Cost Of Freedom"

In May 1970, Neil Young came to his bandmates David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills with a powerful new song: "Ohio." After three days of agitated student-led protests of the invasion of Cambodia, the already incendiary situation at Kent State University exploded on the afternoon of May 4, 1970, when 28 National Guardsmen fired as many as 67 shots into a crowd of people. The 13-second barrage killed four students – Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, William Schroeder and Sandra Scheuer – and injured nine more. In the wake of the tragedy, President Richard Nixon's military orders in Southeast Asia came under increasingly fervent scrutiny, while John Paul Filo's Pulitzer prize–winning photograph of Mary Ann Vecchio screaming beside the lifeless body of Jeffrey Miller was forever ingrained into the American social consciousness as a poignant reminder of the domestic turmoil during the Vietnam Era. Other images from the shooting appeared as part of the May 15,1970 Life magazine cover story, an issue that reportedly found its way to Neil Young via David Crosby.

In the liner notes of his 1977 anthology, Decade, Young wrote: "It's still hard to believe I had to write this song. It's ...


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The Universal Sound of Protest

Thursday, October 13: 9:30 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
"World Have Your Say" host Ros Atkins asks, "Has protest music disappeared?"

This week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum was honored to host an international discussion when BBC World Service's World Have Your Say broadcast live from the Museum's Alan Freed Studio. The program brought together a diverse panel of guests, including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President and CEO Terry Stewart and Rock Hall Vice President of Education and Public Programs Lauren Onkey, who traded insights with remote guests English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, Egyptian rapper and poet Mohamed El Deeb, Yoko Ono and more. Host Ros Atkins posed the question that fueled the program's discussion: Has protest music disappeared?

"We had a spirited discussion about whether music can bring about social change," says Onkey. "It's a difficult thing to measure. The easy thing to do is to pull out a topical song, like an anti-war or anti-apartheid song, and measure it against whether or not something changed about that specific issue. But I think that change is harder to measure, and much broader and sometimes more subtle than that. 

"Songs can educate us about an issue or a point of view from the past – The Specials' "Ghost Town," Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young ...


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