Remembering Phil Ochs’s ‘Gunfight at Carnegie Hall’

Gunfight At Carnegie Hall, the last album protest singer Phil Ochs released before he took his own life on April 9, 1976, contains songs recorded at his infamous, gold-suited, bomb-threat-shortened Carnegie Hall concert in New York City on March 27, 1970, 47 years ago today.

Phil Ochs, circa 1976. (Photo via Creative Commons/Wikimedia)

It was the most notorious performance of his career, and I happened to be in the audience.

Spring in the city

I was just 16 and visiting New York City with my best friend Lisa. The two of us were suburban antiwar hippie chicks who loved Ochs and his music. Although we had yet to see him in concert, we listened to his albums for hours and knew his songs by heart. He was no Bob Dylan, of course, but songs like “I’m Not Marching Anymore” and “There But For Fortune” were heartfelt and evocative and could move you to tears. He had a funny side, too, which came out on silly, self-mocking songs like “Love Me, I’m A Liberal.”

It didn’t hurt that, unlike Dylan, Ochs had a conventionally lovely voice and was really cute in a scruffy, sincere, heart-on-his-sleeve kind of way.

 

Read more at…Remembering Phil Ochs’s ‘Gunfight at Carnegie Hall’

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