Publication: Rolling Stone
Date: June 25th 1970


LOS ANGELES – Out of the Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Taylor & Reeves ‘break up’ last month comes one of the biggest spurts of productivity in the band’s short history: Neil Young has come out with a tune called ‘Ohio’, and the band has resumed its tour with a new bassist and drummer.

The new men are Johnny Barbata, thin but powerful drummer formerly with the Turtles, and Calvin ‘Fuzz’ Samuels, bassist. Samuels joined the band on a day’s notice last month when Greg Reeves was fired just before the band’s concert tour began. He played the one CSN&Y show – in Denver – before the group began cancelling dates.

The band is now back on tour.

As for ‘Ohio’: Neil Young had gone off to the redwoods of Pescarado with Crosby and the band’s road manager and light man, in the aftermath of the band’s official disbanding. When he got back to town, on Wednesday, May 20th, he had a new tune to sing to David, Stephen and Graham:

Tin soldiers and Nixon’s coming

We’re finally on our own

This summer I hear the drumming

Four dead in Ohio

The chorus goes: ‘Gotta get down to it / Soldiers cutting us down; Should’ve been done long ago …. What if you knew her / And found her dead on the ground; how can you run when you know?’

The next day, the band was in the studios. By that night, two songs had been recorded and mixed: ‘Ohio’ and ‘Find The Cost Of Freedom’ (the short exercise in harmonic grief that the band used as the encore number on its previous concert tour), and the master tape was sent to Atlantic Records in New York. By Monday, word had gotten back that ‘Ohio’ was being pressed and would be released within a week. And KMET-FM in Los Angeles already had a tape of ‘Ohio’ on the air.

If AM stations put ‘Ohio’ on playlists, it will mean two CSN&Y singles on the charts at once. ‘Teach Your Children’ had been released just two weeks ago, one week before Neil’s Pescadero retreat.

And whether or not Bill Drake and AM radio in general will program ‘Ohio’ is doubtful. “I don’t think they’ll touch it,” Crosby said. “This one names names.”

“Neil surprised everybody,” Crosby said. “It wasn’t like he set out as a project to write a protest song. It’s just what came out of having Huntley-Brinkley for breakfast. I mean we’ve all stopped even watching the TV news, but you read the headlines on the papers going by on the streets.”

Young’s own comment, said Crosby, was: “I don’t know; never wrote anything like this before … but there it is …”

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