Neil Young went into the studio on this day in 1970 with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, 17 days after four unarmed, peacefully protesting students at Kent State University were shot and killed by National Guardsmen and 21 days after President Nixon took over the three national television stations of the time to announce the American invasion of Cambodia and cut “Ohio.”

A seething three-minute ballad that would become an anthem of anti-Nixon, anti-war sentiment, the narrative was inspired by John Filo’s iconic image in Life magazine, depicting a 14-year old runaway named Mary Ann Vecchio, kneeling and screaming over the dead body of student Jeffrey Miller. Young didn’t hold back on who he thought was at fault in the nine-line howler, aching in the fade with Crosby screaming “Four, why? Why did they die?” [LISTEN]

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?