There But for Fortune: The Life of Phil Ochs

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9780786860845: There But for Fortune: The Life of Phil Ochs

Published to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the death of the folksinger and activist, an authorized biography details Ochs's rise to fame, his influence on the music and politics of the 1960s, and the ongoing battle with depression that finally resulted in his suicide.

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Review:

Michael Schumacher, whose past works include biographies on Allen Ginsberg (Dharma Lion: A Critical Biography of Allen Ginsberg) and Eric Clapton (Crossroads: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton), profiles Phil Ochs, the singer, songwriter, and political activist whose genius was widely admired, but whose work was often made famous by other artists. Ochs, who achieved recognition in the early 1960s, could not escape comparison with Bob Dylan, with whom he had a tumultuous relationship. The violence of the 1968 Democratic Convention, where Ochs was a demonstrator, seemed to mark the beginning of the artist's demise and disillusionment. In 1970, he recorded his last album, falling into a depression that ultimately led to his suicide in 1976.

From Publishers Weekly:

In folk singer Phil Ochs (1940-1976), the 1960s had the perfect tragic hero for a tumultuous era. Though a gifted songwriter and tireless antiwar and civil rights activist, Ochs suffered a running battle with manic depression that ruined his career and eventually drove him to suicide. Schumacher (Crossroads; Dharma Lion) covers Ochs's personal and professional highs and lows. He provides the requisite family background (e.g., that Ochs's father, also manic depressive, and mother were unhappily married; that his relationships with his siblings were strained), but he doesn't overdo it. Through extensive interviews with Ochs's family members, friends and business associates, Schumacher constructs a balanced portrait of the musician's brief but eventful life. Ochs's unsuccessful marriage and distant relationship with his daughter are contrasted to his commitment to the antiwar cause and to human rights issues in both the U.S. and South America. Schumacher doesn't gloss over Ochs's musical shortcomings: samples of Ochs's lyrics show his gift for the written word, but excerpts from concert reviews indicate that he could give deplorable live performances. The author's presentation of Ochs's humiliating attempt to revive his career by sporting an Elvis-style gold lame suit at a Carnegie Hall performance is particularly piercing and demonstrates how Ochs often misjudged his audience. Twenty years after Ochs's death, it seems odd, if not ludicrous, that the FBI once considered him a potential threat to American society; as Schumacher shows, he was, in fact, more of a threat to himself. Because Ochs never had a major commercial hit, memory of his accomplishments are fading with time; this worthy chronicle should keep those memories, and Ochs's spirit, alive for a while longer.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Schumacher, Michael
Editore: Hyperion (1996)
ISBN 10: 0786860847 ISBN 13: 9780786860845
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Descrizione libro Hyperion, 1996. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110786860847

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Schumacher, Michael
Editore: Hyperion, U.S.A. (1996)
ISBN 10: 0786860847 ISBN 13: 9780786860845
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Descrizione libro Hyperion, U.S.A., 1996. Soft cover. Condizione libro: New. Condizione sovraccoperta: New. 1st Edition. RARE Advance Reading Copy-Uncorrected Proof-Not For Sale. 1st Edition-Stated. 1st Printing-Full # Line. New copy. Never read. Trade paperback format. COLLECTOR'S COPY>. Codice libro della libreria 002421

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Michael Schumacher
Editore: Hyperion Books (1996)
ISBN 10: 0786860847 ISBN 13: 9780786860845
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Descrizione libro Hyperion Books, 1996. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0786860847

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Michael Schumacher
Editore: Hyperion (1996)
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Descrizione libro Hyperion, 1996. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0786860847

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