Phil Ochs Quotes – A man who sang songs of protest, humour and beauty.

Unfortunately I did not manage to see Phil perform live – but I’ve got every single thing he ever produced – including all the live stuff available. I liked all his phases. His first period of creativity was writing topical songs. Dylan accused him of merely being a journalist. He was always a lot more than that. Like Dylan he selected news items to transform into songs. He wrote songs which had real bite but still had a lot of humour and satire. As the sixties progressed he developed a more poetic surreal style with songs full of imagery and intricacy. It seemed that he was always following in Dylan’s footsteps and falling short. There again – everybody fell short. In the late sixties he was heavily involved with the politics of the YIPPIE movement along with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin.

Phil wrote many excellent songs on social issues – civil rights and anti-war. But he also wrote songs of great beauty. Joan Baez recorded his wonderful ‘There But For Fortune’ but of his more beautiful songs I prefer ‘Changes’ – it has so very special lines.

Unfortunately alcohol and depression ate Phil away and he took his own life. What a waste.

Phil left behind a legacy of real songs – songs with meaning and passion.

In such ugly times, the only true protest is beauty.
Looks like with Trump/Clinton we need to protest with a reaffirmation of beauty. That’s a true rebellion against hatred.
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.
The gesture is maybe all we have – perhaps all we ever had. But gestures are important. It is best to have fought for what is right and lost rather than never having tried.
The final story, the final chapter of western man, I believe, lies in Los Angeles.
I suppose Los Angeles epitomised all the harshness and brutality of modern civilisation with its greed, selfishness and violence. That uncaring attitude is what is destroying the planet. The concrete and smog replace the green plantations and nature. The viciousness that puts profit before people or nature.

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