Once again WAMC is excited to present the annual Phil Ochs Song night hosted by Phils' sister Sonny Ochs and our own host of The Hudson River Sampler, Wanda Fischer. This years list of performers includes Magpie, Kim & Reggie Harris, Nancy Tucker, Kate McDonnell and Willie Nininger. And as always, the show will be broadcast live on WAMC Northeast Public Radio.
On April 9, 1976 Phil Ochs, ended his life by hanging himself. He was 35 years old. He had written over 100 songs, and had traveled to many countries. He suffered from manic-depression and had been experiencing a long term writer's block. Many of his songs had already been recorded by artists such as John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, Ronnie Gilbert, Joan Baez, Judy Collins and Pete Seeger.
Born in El Paso, Texas on Dec. 19. 1940. He grew up in a non-political middle class family. While in college at Ohio State University, he met Jim Glover who became his roommate and whose father was Phil's political teacher. It was during this time, while he was majoring in journalism, that Phil formed his political beliefs and started putting them to music.
After 3 years of college, Phil dropped out and went to New York City. This was during the early '60's when things were booming in Greenwich Village. Phil started out singing at open mikes and passing the hat. By 1964 he was well enough established to release his first album, "All the News That's Fit To Sing". His second album, "I Ain't Marching Anymore", was released in 1965, and by 1966 he was able to sell out Carnegie Hall for his solo concert.
Most of Phil's songs were very political, some humorous and some very serious. He wrote about the topics of the day - civil rights, Viet Nam, hungry miners, and personalities such as Billy Sol Estes, William Worthy and Lou Marsh.
In 1967 he signed with A&M Records where his first release was "Pleasures of the Harbor" in which he used heavily orchestrated arrangements for the first time. Some fans criticized this change, while others accepted it.
Phil continued to perform and to travel around the world until his death. Many of Phil's songs have been covered by other artists. Some of his best known songs are: "Changes", "There But For Fortune", "I Ain't Marching Anymore", "Draft Dodger", "Small Circle of Friends", Crucifixion" and "When I'm Gone".
Hosted by Wanda Fischer and Sonny Ochs