18/10/16 – Phil Ochs – I Ain’t Marching Anymore – 1965

phil-ochs-i-aint-marching-anymore-album-cover-19651965 seems to have been a groundbreaking year for protest songs with Universal Soldier in the Top Ten in England and Eve Of Destruction No.1 in America. I Ain’t Marching Anymore was the title track from Phil Ochs second album released that year.

Ochs was something of an uncompromising and serious anomaly – Elvis Presley meets Che Guevara with a sense of humour. “I’m only 18 I’ve got a ruptured spleen and I always carry a purse” from Draft Dodger Rag, a song on the aforementioned album. Whether they were satirical, sardonic, humourous or straight attacks on government’s policies, Ochs’ early songs never veered from the fight and his meaningful and prolific output in the sixties has made him into a legendary and influential presence in music history. Having said that and in the wake of Dylan getting the Nobel prize, he remains quietly invisible despite being Dylan’s contemporary and at the time an equal in stature.

Ochs’ story is long and complex and as interesting as his songs ( see links below). By the seventies he had become as serious about drinking as he was about his lyrics. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and began to have mental problems. In 1976 he hanged himself at his sister’s house in Far Rockaway New York, he was just 35 years old.

Oh, I marched to the battle of New Orleans
At the end of the early British war
The young land started growing
The young blood started flowing
But I ain’t marching anymore

For I’ve killed my share of Indians
In a thousand different fights
I was there at the Little Big Horn
I heard many men lying, I saw many more dying
But I ain’t marching anymore

It’s always the old to lead us to the war
It’s always the young to fall
Now look at all we’ve won with the saber and the gun
Tell me is it worth it all

For I stole California from the Mexican land
Fought in the bloody Civil War
Yes, I even killed my brothers
And so many others
But I ain’t marching anymore

For I marched to the battles of the German trench
In a war that was bound to end all wars
Oh, I must have killed a million men
And now they want me back again
But I ain’t marching anymore

It’s always the old to lead us to the war
It’s always the young to fall
Now look at all we’ve won with the saber and the gun
Tell me is it worth it all

For I flew the final mission in the Japanese sky
Set off the mighty mushroom roar
When I saw the cities burning I knew that I was learning
That I ain’t marching anymore

Now the labor leader’s screamin’
When they close the missile plants
United Fruit screams at the Cuban shore
Call it, Peace, or call it, Treason
Call it, Love, or call it, Reason
But I ain’t marching anymore
No, I ain’t marching anymore

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Ochs

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Ain%27t_Marching_Anymore_(song)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Ain%27t_Marching_Anymore