Thirty five years ago today Xenia, Ohio was pummeled by a horrific tornado that swept through town, destroying hundreds of buildings and taking 33 lives. The Xenia tornado was part of a larger series of tornadic activity known as the Super Outbreak, the largest series of tornadoes ever recorded.
If you saw Harmony Korine's disturbing 1997 film Gummo, then perhaps you'll recall that it was set in Xenia in the aftermath of the tornado.
Shortly after the storm ripped the town apart, singer Roy Baker went into the studio to record a topical song about the catastrophic destruction.
Songs about actual events recorded by first-hand witnesses to the carnage create a kind of localized social history that captures perspectives that often are left out of standard journalistic reports. I find that listening to such songs can be almost as illuminating as reading or watching traditional mainstream media reports.
The black and white photo on right is courtesy of the Greene County Public Library. Many more photos of the aftermath of the Xenia tornado can be found here.