Vietnam Music Monday: “Ohio”

Music played an important cultural role during the Vietnam War, representing the rebellious views of a young generation and the traditional values of an older, so-called “silent majority.” The Newseum selected 40 songs released between 1963 and 1973 that typified the music of the Vietnam era. The songs captured the emotions of people for and against the war and reflected the mood of an increasingly diverse country amid dramatic social and political change.

The 40 songs, part of the Newseum’s “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit that opens May 22, are a fraction of the hundreds of recordings that dealt with the war and civil disobedience. Each week, one song from the playlist will be featured. The first, “Ohio,” was written in response to the shootings at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, where four students were tragically killed by members of the Ohio National Guard.

We encourage you to add your favorite songs of the era to the comment section.

Ohio (1970)

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Neil Young wrote “Ohio” after seeing photographs in Life magazine of the Ohio National Guard’s attack on anti-war protesters at Kent State University that left four students dead and nine wounded. The song was released within weeks of the shootings and became a rallying cry for the anti-war movement, but some conservative radio stations refused to play it.


Tin soldiers and Nixon coming
We’re finally on our own
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in Ohio
Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground?
How can you run when you know?

Purchase “Ohio” on Amazon or iTunes.

Image Gallery

“Reporting Vietnam,” a new exhibit that marks the 50th anniversary of the start of America’s first televised war, explores the dramatic stories of how journalists brought news about the war to a divided nation.

CBS News

Contributing support for the “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit is provided by CBS Corporation, in memory of CBS News correspondent Bob Simon.

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