I spent the day touring Stockton State College in the rain with my daughter who is considering becoming an Occupational Therapist. Perhaps it was being on a college campus, or maybe it was the rain, who knows? But when I read the podcast assignment and started playing with the 1970's commercials on YouTube, I found myself typing in "Phil Ochs". As a kid, I'd listened to his songs in the late 60s and 70s. Sadly, he even played at my high school in 1972, (got a ticket stub somewhere...).
I recall using the lyrics to "Changes" as my poem of choice in my 7th grade English class. Getting the lyrics entailed listening to the same track on the vinyl record I had over and over - not easy to do with a turntable!
Ochs was viewed as a protest singer, a 'journalist"(supposedly by Bob Dylan), and a folksinger. His career declined in the mid-1970s. On tour in Africa, he was strangled by robbers and his vocal chords were damaged, but he still performed. He became depressed, began abusing drugs and eventually was diagnosed as bipolar. In 1976, while staying with his sister in Queens, NY, he committed suicide. He was 35 years old. I have a very vivid memory of that day.
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