Monday, 2 July 2007

Phil Ochs Myths

Myth #1: Phil Ochs appeared on the CBS Evening News singing "I Ain't
Marching Anymore" on the courthouse steps during the Chicago 7 trial.
--Marc Eliot tells this story in Death of a Rebel. A scan through the
CBS Evening News broadcasts from this period reveals no references to
Ochs, and the day in question (December 11, 1969) had no Chicago 7
trial coverage. The next day CBS gave brief coverage of Allen
Ginsberg's testimony. Ochs did appear on the rival NBC Evening News
on December 11, albeit in the form of courtroom drawings of the

Myth #2: Phil sang "Chords of Fame" on NBC's Midnight Special.
--This has been posted on various websites based on personal
memories. However, surviving tapes and TV show listings indicate that
Ochs sang "Power and the Glory" and "Changes." Ochs was also
prevented at the last minute from performing "Here's to the State of
Richard Nixon."

Myth #3: Phil borrowed the melody of "Joe Hill" from Woody
Guthrie's "Pretty Boy Floyd."
--This is stated in Michael Schumacher's book There But for Fortune.
As Ochs relates to John Lennon in the 1971 hotel room tape, "Joe
Hill" was in fact based on a traditional melody that Woody Guthrie
(among others) used for the song "John Hardy."

Myth #4: Phil sang "I Should Have Known Better" with Eric Andersen at
Newport in 1964.
--Again from Schumacher's book. This performance appears on The
Broadside Tapes 1 (Folkways Records) and according to David Cohen's
book Phil Ochs: A Bio-Bibliography, it originates from a Broadside
Hootenanny recorded at the Village Gate in New York City on November
1, 1964.