Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded their smash hit single “Ohio” at Los Angeles’ famed Record Plant recording studio on May 15, 1970. Neil Young penned the track in response to the shooting of four college students at Kent State University by National Guard troops during a protest.
Young wrote the song in one burst of inspiration after seeing a photograph of the shooting, which took place on May 4, 1970. The group connected with their new backing band and rehearsed the song thoroughly before heading into the studio. They recorded the track all together and nailed it in just a few takes.
In the liner notes of the 1991 CSNY box set, David Crosby recalls the events surrounding the song's creation.
“I was with Neil at a friend’s house and I handed him Life magazine with the Kent State photos. He was silent for a long time then picked up his guitar and twenty minutes later had this song. I called Stephen and Graham and we immediately booked a studio. We gave the master to [Atlantic Records founder] Ahmet Ertegun who flew to New York the next day and it was released within two weeks.”