Phil Ochs

Born 19 December 1940. Died 9 April 1976.
Phil Ochs

Biography

Philip David "Phil" Ochs (December 19, 1940 – April 9, 1976) was an American protest singer (or, as he preferred, a topical singer) and songwriter who was known for his sharp wit, sardonic humor, earnest humanism, political activism, insightful and alliterative lyrics, and distinctive voice. He wrote hundreds of songs in the 1960s and '70s and released eight albums in his lifetime.

Ochs performed at many political events during the 1960s counterculture era, 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 bipolar disorder and alcoholism, and took his own life in 1976.

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Cross My Heart: An Introduction...

    Cross My Heart: An Introduction... 2003

    Reviewed by Mick Fitzsimmons
    The opening track on this latest compilation of the doomed singer's work...epitomises...