Phil Ochs

Phil Ochs

There but for Fortune

DVD - 2010
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Over the course of a meteoric music career that spanned two turbulent decades, Phil Ochs sought the bright lights of fame and social justice in equal measure, a contradiction that eventually tore him apart. From youthful idealism to rage to pessimism, the arc of Ochs's life paralleled that of the times, and the anger, satire, and righteous indignation that drove his music also drove him to dark despair. A timely and relevant tribute to an unlikely American hero.
Publisher: [New York?] : First Run Features., c2010.
Branch Call Number: DVD-ED 781.62 PHI4741
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (97 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.
Alternative Title: There but for fortune


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Jan 27, 2017

"Liberty and Justice For All"...... Originally from El Paso, Texas - Phil Ochs (December 19, 1940 – April 9, 1976) was a protest singer and songwriter who was known for his sharp wit, sardonic humour, earnest humanism, political activism, insightful lyrics, and distinctive voice. He wrote 100s of songs in the 1960s and 1970s and released 8 albums.

Ochs strongly believed that his generation would change the world. He performed at many political events during the 1960s counterculture era, including anti-Vietnam War and civil rights rallies. 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.

This "There But For Fortune" documentary is definitely a worthwhile look at the man and the era in which he stood for in American, youth-culture history..... (*Watch "Phil Ochs" music-video*)

Ochs was a big time folkie in the '60s who Bob Dylan apparently, judging from this documentary, never took seriously. Ochs (pronounced "Oakes") was far more political than Dylan. "Love Me, I'm a Liberal" makes just as much sense today as it did when it was released in 1966. Ochs could never quite make the jump to electric, though his PLEASURES OF THE HARBOR (1967) is an interesting hybrid of folk, psychedelic and political commentary. Once the revolution failed to materialize and the Hippies disappeared into drugs and rural communes, Ochs could never find true north again. It is a statement of his times that he suicides the same year, 1976, the Punks appear on the scene.

Glencoe_Mike Jul 25, 2011

Nice look at Phil Ochs, who was among the most committed folk singers of the 60s but couldn't recover once the dream ended. I find his life fascinating - the music he made after he purely protest stuff deserves to be rediscovered. Beautiful, touching, sometimes maudlin stuff. Not too many talking heads in this film and lots of original footage I hadn't seen before. My only complaint is that it could have been longer.


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