It Could Have Been Me by Holly Near.
It’s the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shooting. You probably noticed. It has been all over social media, especially posts from geezers like me old enough to remember it and to have participated in the aftermath. I don’t know exactly how this fits into our Home Confinement Music Festival except it should not go unnoticed and the fact that perhaps the deep divisions the shooting had on society then are mirrored by those over the Coronavirus lockdown and response today.
The sleeve to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's single Ohio.
Kent state inspired a remarkable number of songs and musical commemorations. The best known of course is Ohio written by Neil Young for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. It is ubiquitous and you have probably seen at least some postings of it. Other songs included English singer/songwriter Harvey Andrews Hey Sandy for victim Sandra Scheuer, Steve Millers’ Jackson-Kent Blues from the Steve Miller Band album Number 5, The Beach Boys’ Student Demonstration Time on Surf's Up with new lyrics by Mike Love for Leiber & Stoller’s Riot in Cell Block Number Nine, Bruce Springsteen’s Where Was Jesus in Ohio, actress and singer Ruth Warrick’s 41,000 Plus 4—The Ballad of the Kent State, Dave Brubeck’s cantata Truth Is Fallen, and Barbara Dane’s The Kent State Massacre written by Jack Warshaw on her 1973 album I Hate the Capitalist System.
But today we are sharing the very personal It Could Have Been Me written and performed by Holly Near. Near was never a rock or pop sensation and although a gifted and prolific singer/songwriter never really fit into to the folk music niche. But she cultivated a devoted following for her feminist, LGBTQ, and social protest music that has endured for decades. Among her beloved songs is Singing For Our Lives which is included in the hymnal of the Unitarian Universalist Association Singing the Living Tradition, under the title We Are A Gentle, Angry People.
Holly Near in the mid 1970's.
Near recorded It Could Have Been Me in 1973 at a live performance for her 1975 A Live Album. In our YouTube clip Near’s spoken introduction is nearly inaudible but hang in there, her beautiful clear voice soon comes in. The song was done a cappella as were many of her stage performances.