Song Analysis Of The Song 'Ohio' By Crosby, Stills

Decent Essays
James Oiler
Beki Test
ENGL 2270 W01
Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
When I think of Folk songs, the song that immediately comes to mind is “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The song is a ballad that was written by Neil Young in protest of the Kent State shootings, where on May 4th 1970, where the Ohio National Guard fired on unarmed students protesting the Vietnam War, killing four students and wounding nine others. Author Jan Harold Brunvand describes a ballad as a narrative folksong or “a folksong that tells a story”.
This song would be an example of Emergence Folklore. According to Martha C. Simms of the book Living Folklore, “In many groups, folklore emerges in a response to an event” and this song was a direct response
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Although support for the war was already low, the Kent State shootings, in addition to a similar shooting at Jackson State University less than two weeks later, turned many of the protests into full riots. In addition to many students protesting against the war, there was just as strong support for the war as well, which often led to counter-protests and physical violent conflicts between the two sides. Politics was more than just fodder for late night talk shows, the feeling in the 1970s was that politics were life and death and impacted everyone. The anti-war protesters and American counterculture used the song “Ohio” as an anthem, and the 4 performers of the group, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young became unofficial spokespeople and figureheads. Works Cited
Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Study of American Folklore: an Introduction. Forth ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 1998.

Lynskey, Dorian. “Neil Young's Ohio – the Greatest Protest Record.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 6 May 2010,

Sims, Martha C., et al. Living Folklore, 2nd Edition. Utah State University Press,
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