Seven Degrees from Normal

Two people, eighteen years of marriage, seven college degrees.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Phil Ochs

I rediscovered Phil Ochs last year, and if it wasn't enough that one person wrote "Here's to the State of Mississippi," "Draft Dodger's Rag," "Love Me, I'm a Liberal," "Ringing of Revolution," and "Cops of the World," it turns out he also wrote a little ditty called "I Like Hitler." Because, he said, "There's supposedly a wave of conservatism sweeping the country (sounds familar) and as the groups move farther and farther to the right, they find fewer and fewer songs that can be sung by people or groups as a whole...and when they finally arrive, I'd like to...I wrote this song for them, so they can sing when they get together."

I had heard some of his humorous songs before, but I got a surprise when I finally heard all the lyrics to "Cops of the World"; I had just thought it seemed like an appropriate sentiment for the current times. I'd forgotten what a perjorative term "cop" was in the Sixties. When I heard the line in the second verse, "Just take off your clothes and lay down on your backs/'cause we're the cops of the world, boys," I realized Phil Ochs was a much bigger force than I'd reckoned.

If this world can kill people like Phil Ochs we should all be very frightened.


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