The May 15, 1970 issue of Life Magazine, a weekly noted for its photojournalism, shocked millions with its unsparing photographs of students killed and wounded at Kent State on May 4. One particular copy was to have an impact that has lasted to this day.
Rock musician David Crosby brought that issue of Life to a studio session for the supergroup he was part of. Originally Crosby, Stills and Nash, it had been joined by Stephen Stills’ old bandmate from the Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young.
All four members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were seen as political artists. Graham Nash who had been in the British Invasion band, The Hollies, had released in 1969 a solo cut “Chicago (We Can Change The World)”, which starts with a reference to another frame-up trial of Black Panther Party leader Bobby Seale. (Those who have read earlier “May ’70” installments may recollect that the call for a national student strike went out on May Day from a Free Bobby rally in New Haven).
It was Neil Young, though, who took the magazine and disappeared for a couple of hours, returning with the 10 lines that are burned into the consciousness of that generation.