I Ain't Marching Anymore (song)
"I Ain't Marching Anymore" (sometimes titled "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore" or "I Ain't A-Marching Anymore") is an anti-war song by Phil Ochs, a U.S. protest singer from the 1960s known for being a passionate critic of the American military industrial complex. Originally released on his 1965 album of the same name, "I Ain't Marching Anymore" is one of Ochs' best-known songs.
|"I Ain't Marching Anymore"|
|Song by Phil Ochs|
|from the album I Ain't Marching Anymore|
|Genre||Protest song, folk|
|"I Ain't Marching Anymore"|
|Single by Phil Ochs|
|B-side||"That Was the President"|
|Format||Vinyl, flexi disc|
|Genre||Protest song, folk rock|
|Producer(s)||Paul A. Rothchild|
|Phil Ochs singles chronology|
Ochs wrote "I Ain't Marching Anymore" as American involvement in the Vietnam War was beginning to grow. The song criticizes all of American military history from the perspective of a weary soldier who has been present at every single war since the War of 1812. The chorus notes that "it's always the old who lead us to the war, always the young to fall" and asks whether the price of military victory has been too high.
Ochs said of the song that it "borders between pacifism and treason, combining the best qualities of both." He also wrote "the fact that you won't be hearing this song on the radio is more than enough justification for the writing of it."
According to one biographer, "I Ain't Marching Anymore" "instantly became [Ochs'] signature song". Ochs performed it at concerts and rallies for the remainder of his career, almost always drawing cheers from the audience.
Ochs performed the song in 1967 on the ABC television special Dissent or Treason, one of the rare instances in which he appeared on a national American television broadcast. In August 1968, Ochs performed "I Ain't Marching Anymore" during the protests outside the Democratic National Convention, inspiring hundreds of young men to burn their draft cards. Ochs described it as the highlight of his career.
Ochs was subsequently called as a witness in the trial of the Chicago Seven, who were charged with conspiracy and other crimes related to the protests. The defense attorneys asked Ochs to sing "I Ain't Marching Anymore", but the judge wouldn't allow it. Instead, Ochs recited the lyrics.
In 1966, Ochs recorded a folk-rock version of "I Ain't Marching Anymore". He was accompanied by The Blues Project and a bagpipe player. The new version of the song was released as a single in the U.K. and as a flexi disc in Sing Out! magazine. Critic Richie Unterberger wrote of the folk-rock version, "If ever there was a successful reworking of a plaintive acoustic song into a dynamic electric one, this ... was it". The single failed to chart.
"I Ain't Marching Anymore" has been covered by several performers, including:
- Dean, Maury (2003). Rock 'n' Roll Gold Rush: A Singles Un-Cyclopedia. New York: Algora Publishing. p. 78. ISBN 0-87586-207-1.
- Schumacher, Michael (1996). There But for Fortune: The Life of Phil Ochs. New York: Hyperion. p. 90. ISBN 0-7868-6084-7.
- Ochs, Phil (1965). I Ain't Marching Anymore (Media notes). Elektra. EKL-287/EKS-7287.
- Schumacher. There But for Fortune. p. 91.
- Schumacher. There But for Fortune. p. 119.
- Eliot, Marc (1989) . Death of a Rebel: A Biography of Phil Ochs. New York: Franklin Watts. p. 151. ISBN 0-531-15111-5.
- Cohen, David (1999). Phil Ochs: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 234. ISBN 0-313-31029-7.
- Schumacher. There But for Fortune. p. 200.
- Eliot. Death of a Rebel. pp. 185–187.
- Unterberger, Richie (2002). Turn! Turn! Turn!: The '60s Folk-Rock Revolution. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. p. 194. ISBN 0-87930-703-X.
- Cohen. Phil Ochs. p. 187.
- Woliver, Robbie (July 2, 1999). "Sharps & Flats". Salon. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
- Cohen. Phil Ochs. p. 276.
- "Craic on the Road (Live at Sam Maguire's) A New Release by Four to the Bar". Irish Voice. November 2, 1994. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
- Cohen. Phil Ochs. p. 280.
- "New Jefferson Starship Album of Formative Folk Treasures: Jefferson's Tree of Liberty". Top40 Charts.com. August 8, 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
- Dahlen, Chris (January 2, 2006). "Kind of Like Spitting Learn: The Songs of Phil Ochs". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
- Winters, Pamela (June 9, 2003). "Richard Thompson: Plunging the Knife in Deeper". Paste. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
- on YouTube