(1941-1976) US folksinger
Irish playwright and poet
October 16, 1854, in Ireland
Trinity College, Dublin, and
Magdalen College, Oxford
November 30, 1900, Paris
Other Phil Ochs Sites
The Poet's Cry (Song for Phil Ochs)
Remembering Phil Ochs by Sonny Ochs
Phil Ochs Remembered by Phil Mershon
Poison Ochs a Phil Ochs Tribute CD
Phil Ochs Pictures
and Album Covers
Click on photo for larger version.
A protest song is a song that's so specific that you cannot mistake it for
America is two Mack trucks colliding on a superhighway because all the drivers
are on amphetamines.
And I won't be laughing at the lies when I'm gone
And if there's any hope for America, it lies in a revolution, and if there's any hope
for a revolution in America, it lies in getting Elvis Presley to become Che Guevara.
And the night comes again to the circle-studded sky
Before the days of television and mass media, the folksinger was often a
traveling newspaper spreading tales through music. There is an urgent need for
Americans to look deeply into themselves and their actions, and musical poetry
is perhaps the most effective mirror available. Every newspaper headline is a
God isn't dead--he's just missing in action.
I can spare a dime, brother, but in these morally inflationary times, a dime goes
a lot farther if it's demanding work rather than adding to the indignity of relief.
I was over there, entertaining the troops. I won't say which troops.
In every political community there are varying shades of political opinion. One
of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects. Ten
degrees to the left of center in good times. Ten degrees to the right of center if it
effects them personally. Here then is a lesson in safe logic.
In the heat of the summer
In the tube where I was killed
It is wrong to expect a reward for your struggles. The reward is the act of
struggle itself, not what you win. Even though you can't expect to defeat the
absurdity of the world, you must make that attempt. That's morality, that's
religion. That's art. That's life.
Leave the old and dying America and use your creative energies to help form a
new America, which would be de-militarized, more humanistic, where the police
are less hostile and closer to the community, where the wealthy are not given
unleashed power for the exploitation of the people. And, mostly because it's
now a matter of life and death, reassert an ecological balance with the
environment, which means the people in the oil companies and the car companies
and the space industry and all the other industries will have to be brought into
account, so that there will be a new definition of government which has to be
closer to the people and less close to special interests which are far more
harmful than any revolutionaries.
Leaving America is like losing twenty pounds and finding a new girlfriend.
Read your morning papers, read every single line
[The demonstrations were] merely an attack of mental disobedience on an
obediently insane society ... and if you feel you have been living in an unreal
world for the last couple of years, it is particularly because this power
structure has refused to listen to reason ... Step outside the guidelines of the
official umpires and make your own rules and your own reality.
The final story, the final chapter of western man, I believe, lies in Los Angeles.
Up and down and all around we took our restless ride,
When they show the destruction of society on color TV, I want to be able to
look out over Los Angeles and make sure they get it right.
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