Project Title

Call It Love or Call It Reason: The Rhetoric of Phil Ochs

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - English

Faculty Sponsor Name

Letizia Guglielmo

I don't think that's necessary for this type of research.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

The 1960’s saw the rise of a wide variety of social movements collectively referred to as the New Left, and accompanying this was an explosion of musicians using their songs in support of these movements and in protest of those who stood against them. Protest music became a popular form of political speech, the legacy of which is seen in the continuing fame of artists like Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie. However, another musician has seen a resurgence of popularity thanks in part to the presence of the far left in social media: Phil Ochs. Offering a more radical stance on social issues than many of his contemporaries, Ochs was immensely popular in his time, performing sold out shows at Carnegie Hall and drawing large crowds at rallies and festivals. While the songs of mainstream artists like Dylan have been analyzed for rhetorical significance, the body of Ochs’ work has largely been ignored in academic research. This project attempts to address this gap by engaging in a rhetorical analysis of Phil Ochs’ music with particular emphasis on his 1965 album I Ain’t Marching Anymore. Through his music, Ochs uses classic Aristotelian rhetorical tactics that make his songs powerful pushes for change, a theme which I will explore thoroughly. I will also address his renewed popularity as well as an intriguing trend where his songs are being covered with updated lyrics that make them politically relevant to modern America.

Project Type

Poster

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Call It Love or Call It Reason: The Rhetoric of Phil Ochs

The 1960’s saw the rise of a wide variety of social movements collectively referred to as the New Left, and accompanying this was an explosion of musicians using their songs in support of these movements and in protest of those who stood against them. Protest music became a popular form of political speech, the legacy of which is seen in the continuing fame of artists like Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie. However, another musician has seen a resurgence of popularity thanks in part to the presence of the far left in social media: Phil Ochs. Offering a more radical stance on social issues than many of his contemporaries, Ochs was immensely popular in his time, performing sold out shows at Carnegie Hall and drawing large crowds at rallies and festivals. While the songs of mainstream artists like Dylan have been analyzed for rhetorical significance, the body of Ochs’ work has largely been ignored in academic research. This project attempts to address this gap by engaging in a rhetorical analysis of Phil Ochs’ music with particular emphasis on his 1965 album I Ain’t Marching Anymore. Through his music, Ochs uses classic Aristotelian rhetorical tactics that make his songs powerful pushes for change, a theme which I will explore thoroughly. I will also address his renewed popularity as well as an intriguing trend where his songs are being covered with updated lyrics that make them politically relevant to modern America.