Neil Young’s Ohio, made famous by Crosby Stills Nash & Young, is a protest song referencing the horrible events at Kent State University on May 4th, 1970 that left four dead and nine injured. Recorded just three weeks after the fact, it was pressed to single and rushed to radio stations with the B-Side Find The Cost of Freedom.
Artist: Anders Osborne & Big Chief Monk Boudreaux
Album: Bury the Hatchet
The Skinny: HT favorite Anders Osborne leads off this week’s Cover Wars with this studio acoustic rendition and a little help form Big Chief Monk Boudreaux.
A live electric version from Osborne and his band:
Artist: Ben Harper
Album: MusiCares Tribute to Neil Young
The Skinny: On to another fantastic take, Ben Harper contributed this track to a 2011 cover album honoring Neil Young. It’s a brilliant and sparse arrangement relying on just Ben’s voice, female backing and lap steel guitar.
Video of the same performance as the audio above:
Artist: The Black Crowes
Live Show: 12-18-2010
The Skinny: The Black Crowes love encoring with multiple songs by the same artist and on this night in 2010 they treated the crowd at The Fillmore in San Francisco to a triple dose of Neil Young with performances of Pardon My Heart, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and Ohio.
Artist: The Dandy Warhols
Album: The Black Album / Come On Feel the Dandy Warhols
The Skinny: The Dandy Warhols released this cover on their compilation The Black Album / Come On Feel the Dandy Warhols. Droning synthesizers provide the type of alt/psychedelia sound that you would expect from these guys.
Album: When Pigs Fly
The Skinny: Learn something new every day, two of the members of Devo attended Kent State and one of them knew the victims and witnessed the horrific event. This cover, complete with lyrics not present in the original, appears on the bizarre covers compilation When Pigs Fly alongside such cuts as Billy Preston covering Girls On Film and The Fixx’s performance of These Boots Are Made For Walkin’. Jerry Casale, the member of Devo present at the horrible event had harsh words for the song saying that it was, “rich hippies…making money off of something horrible…that they didn’t get.” Young did not have as harsh a review for his own work but did remark a few years later that, “It’s ironic that I capitalized on the death of those American students.” Both quotes courtesy of Wikipedia that cites McDonough, Jimmy (2002). Shakey. New York: Anchor Books.
Artist: The Isley Brothers
Live Show: Givin It Back
The Skinny: The Isley Brothers, on their 1971 album filled with covers, arrange Ohio and Jimi Hendrix’s Machine Gun together for what Bruce Eder on allmusic.com calls a, “slap-in-your-face reminder of just how angry the times and the people were”.
Artist: Mott The Hoople
Live Show: Mott The Hoole
The Skinny: This live cut was issued as a bonus track to Mott The Hoople’s self-titled 1969 debut album.
Artist: Tim Reynolds
Live Show: 4-4-2007
The Skinny: Guitarist Tim Reynolds has covered Ohio both as a solo acoustic instrumental and also with an electric in TR3. Audio is of the acoustic rendition and we have video of both.
Live Show: 8-2-2003
The Skinny: In the Ween repertoire since at least 2000 (the earliest recording I could find with it), Ohio is still in the cover rotation as it was played at least three times in 2010.
The Skinny: Well apparently it’s not just jambands that can throw down 10+ minute covers as this punk band’s cover clocks in at almost 11 minutes.