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Deadly protests such as the Kent State Shootings, have inspired song writers such as Crosby Stills and Nash. Learn more ...
in this short video.
Tags:kent state shootings,protest songs
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Here is a third fantastic theme that has influenced some of the most beautiful and profound protest songs of all time and that is the killing of a peaceful protester. Think Bloody Sunday and Kent State. These are just perfect examples that have become really publicized over the years and essentially what I am talking about is when people, very often students go in and they are protesting. A fantastic example of this is Kent State University, for example, where there was a peaceful protest going on to demonstrate against Vietnam War.
But it was a protest that was really a student based protest and these students at Ken State University went out and they were peacefully protesting and then police came into break it up and at the end of the day there were four people killed, nine injured, one of them was paralyzed. It was just a horrible, horrible display that really shocked and offended a lot of people and on 10 of August over the years, have looked back at that one particular instance and said, "Well, there was something wrong there".
They were most quintessential song ever written about it is that CSNY song, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's song, Ohio. Let me quote from that song. I think they say it better than I could ever. They say,
"Gotta get down to it Soldiers are gunning us down Should have been gone long time ago What if you knew her And found her dead on the ground How can you run when you know?"
I just thought that was so interesting and so fantastic and so indicative of what these people were trying to do and what they were trying to say. A guy like Neil Young, for example, isn't that they are telling you to go pick up a gun, he is just asking you to open your eyes and to look around to what's going on in the world. Neil Young actually in fact-of-matter ways also a member of another band that was really known for its peaceful protest songs, which is Buffalo Springfield.
Buffalo Springfield are the ones who asked just to stop and look around, and it's also interesting, because Neil Young who was in Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills who later became a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. I would like to read you a quote from David Crosby. It was given in his 2000th interview, and I thought it was great and I thought it was really indicative of what these artists were trying to do.
So David Crosby says, "You know, our main job is to entertain, but there's also the part which is to be the town crier, to be the troubadour. The guy that says, 'Twelve o'clock and all is well,' or, 'It's 11:30, and I am not so damn good.' and Nash felt strongly that that was a travesty of American justice, and it was. It was a complete travesty. You can't chain a man to a chair and gag him and say that you're having a free trial. It doesn't work that way."
I just thought that way amazing and I thought that was really kind was indicative of what Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were trying to do. They were just essentially saying, hey, everybody wake up. This is what's going on in our world. This is what's going on in society. It's not right and we really need to take a look at it.