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Phil Ochs

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Philip David Ochs (pronounced /ˈoʊks/) (December 19, 1940 – April 9, 1976) was an American (or, as he preferred, a ) and songwriter who was known for his sharp wit, sardonic humor, earnest humanism, political activism, insightful and alliterative lyrics, and haunting voice. He wrote hundreds of songs in the 1960s and released eight albums in his lifetime.

Ochs performed at many political events, including anti-Vietnam War and civil rights rallies, student events, and organized labor events over the course of his career, in addition to many concert appearances at such venues as New York City’s Town Hall and Carnegie Hall. Politically, Ochs described himself as a “left social democrat” who became an “early revolutionary” after the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago led to a police riot, which had a profound effect on his state of mind.

After years of prolific writing in the 1960s, Ochs’s mental stability declined in the 1970s. He eventually succumbed to a number of problems including alcoholism, and took his own life in 1976.

Some of Ochs’s major influences were Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Bob Gibson, Faron Young, Merle Haggard, John Wayne, and John F. Kennedy.

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  • MilitaryTwoStep

    woah spooky

    14 May 2:41am Reply
  • Chumsicles

    I first scrobbled Phil Ochs exactly one year ago today. I don't think I knew that was the day he died at the time :S

    10 Apr 3:11am Reply
  • eskaryak

    you are remembered. 39 years. rip

    9 Apr 6:01pm Reply
  • brutus_1889

    Mr. Ochs nearly made me care about some thing [3]. My personal songwriting hero from the 60s, way beyond Dylan.

    7 Apr 6:00pm Reply
  • greylenses

    Happy birthday, Phil. Your words are the power and your legacy is the glory.

    21 Dec 2014 Reply
  • Chumsicles

    Happy birthday Phil. In these times of renewed upheaval, your silence is deafening

    19 Dec 2014 Reply
  • recursivechaos

    wow, this guy's life story is seriously depressing

    27 Oct 2014 Reply
  • imlivingin60s

    a honest, talented man with amazing creativity and wittiness. he will be missed forever.

    22 Jul 2014 Reply
  • Chumsicles

    This man has taken over my last.fm charts. As far as I'm concerned, Phil WAS the 60's personified, from his beginnings up to his decline and death

    29 May 2014 Reply
  • climbing--down

    mr. ochs nearly made me care about some thing [2]

    24 May 2014 Reply
  • Sebitude

    One Way tickeettt hommee!

    18 May 2014 Reply
  • Wayob

    "A scar in the sky, it's time to say goodbye. He withers on the beat; he's dying. A white flag in my hand, a white boat in the sand, and it seems that there are no more songs."

    14 Apr 2014 Reply
  • MilitaryTwoStep

    if ya wanna get together and fight good buddy that's what i wanna hear

    10 Apr 2014 Reply
  • greylenses

    RIP, Phil. You will never be forgotten.

    9 Apr 2014 Reply
  • logannorrell

    mr. ochs nearly made me care about some thing

    4 Feb 2014 Reply
  • Sebitude

    New Album "A Hero Of The Game" is on spotify now. Wish there was a full version of Positively 4th street!

    24 Dec 2013 Reply
  • kluk_jako_buk

    Can't believe I've discovered him just now. "I Ain't Marching Anymore" is perfect.

    22 Dec 2013 Reply
  • Sebitude

    Call it "Peace" or call it "Treason," Call it "Love" or call it "Reason"

    1 Sep 2013 Reply
  • Obilio222

    Listen to Phil Ochs, Jackson Browne.. The world stays the same, but very brave people HAVE made a difference! The Dr. Rev. M. L. King, inspired by God and M. Gandhi, with help from many brave people used non-violent resistance to shame our government into making changes that were long overdue! I know it wasn't perfect, but this "movement" caused children to be taught in the same schools, so they could no longer favor white schools with more tax money. People died - but refused to kill - so that others were no longer bullied into not voting. They were also shamed into changing the voting age and abolishing the draft. A united refusal to co-operate with evil WORKS. I thank God for this music that reminds us that our liberty is a RIGHT, not a privilege. We have every right to be angry about the way our constitution is being ignored, even changed, so the rich can get richer still. What happened to " [all] we have to fear is fear itself."? Or "Christian" meaning to behave like Jesus...

    27 Aug 2013 Reply
  • greylenses

    Great poet and truly honest man. RIP

    24 Aug 2013 Reply
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