A Small Circle of Friends

A Celebration of Phil Ochs 70th Birthday

By Ross Altman

Phil_OchsPhil Ochs took his life 35 years ago in 1976, during the Bicentennial, at the age of 35. Composer of the patriotic anthem Power and the Glory—second only to This Land Is Your Land in its melding of the American landscape with a profound identification with its people, including the downtrodden and imprisoned—Ochs raised the modern protest song to a high art; it has since been recorded by singers as diverse as Pete Seeger and (we kid you not) Anita Bryant. With such classics as I Ain’t Marching Anymore, Draft Dodger Rag and There But for Fortune he became the voice of the antiwar movement; and with such classics as Here’s To the State of Mississippi, What’s That I Hear and Too Many Martyrs (for Medgar Evers) he became a voice (along with Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Len Chandler) of the civil rights movement.

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