Tuesday, May 02, 2023

“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, by Gordon Lightfoot (1938-2023), and “Ohio”, by Neil Young: Songs responding to public events

On 10 November 1975, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior. Soon after, Gordon Lightfoot (1938-2023) read about the wreck in the 24 November issue of "Newsweek" and wrote "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." He recorded it in December, and it was released in August 1976. That's a fast response to a public event, but Neil Young outdid Lightfoot with "Ohio", his song about the shooting of four students by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University on 4 May 1970. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded "Ohio" on 21 May and released the single in June (with Stephen Stills's "Find the Cost of Freedom" as the B-side). (Andrew Shields, #111words, 2 May 2023)

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