Greatest Hits (Phil Ochs album)

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Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits (Phil Ochs album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 1970
Recordedlate 1969
GenreFolk, country, rock, orchestral
Length37:43
LabelA&M
ProducerVan Dyke Parks, Andrew Wickham
Phil Ochs chronology
Rehearsals for Retirement
(1969)
Greatest Hits
(1970)
Gunfight at Carnegie Hall
(1975)

Greatest Hits was Phil Ochs' seventh LP and final studio album. Contrary to its title, it offered ten new tracks of material, mostly produced by Van Dyke Parks, and was released in 1970. Focusing more on country music than any other album in Ochs' canon, it featured an impressive number of musicians, including members of The Byrds and Elvis Presley's backing group alongside mainstays Lincoln Mayorga and Bob Rafkin. His lyrics were at their most self-referential and only one overtly political song appeared, "Ten Cents A Coup," which includes an earnest (though comical) spoken introduction strung together from two anti-war rallies. The song is an ironic tribute to Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, who Ochs wryly suggests are more laughable than Laurel and Hardy.

The cover of the album is an homage to Elvis Presley's 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong. The back cover of Greatest Hits featured the phrase "50 Phil Ochs Fans Can't Be Wrong".[1] Ochs wore a gold lamé suit inspired by similar suits made famous by Presley. (Ochs hired Nudie Cohn, who made Presley's suits, to make his.)[2] During his show at Carnegie Hall, which was recorded to be released as a live album, Ochs told the audience a story explaining his choice to wear the suit. He told them he had died in Chicago, in reference to the violence he witnessed during the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He said God gave him a chance to come back to earth as anyone he wanted and Ochs chose Presley. He added that if there was any hope for America it "relies on getting Elvis Presley to become Che Guevara".[3] The suit is now part of the Phil Ochs archives at the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[4]

Among the self-referential tracks was "Chords of Fame", which warned against the dangers of cult of personality. "Boy In Ohio" saw Ochs looking back nostalgically at his childhood and "Jim Dean of Indiana" was a tale of James Dean's life, a tribute to him, written after Ochs had visited Dean's grave.[citation needed] "No More Songs" was the most telling of the tracks, as Ochs would release but five more studio[clarification needed] tracks in his lifetime after 1970, never completing another studio album.

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic3/5 stars [5]

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Phil Ochs.

Side One

  1. "One Way Ticket Home" – 2:40
  2. "Jim Dean of Indiana" – 5:05
  3. "My Kingdom For A Car" – 2:53
  4. "Boy In Ohio" – 3:43
  5. "Gas Station Women" – 3:31

Side Two

  1. "Chords of Fame" – 3:33
  2. "Ten Cents A Coup" – 3:14
  3. "Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Me" – 5:05
  4. "Basket in the Pool" – 3:40
  5. "No More Songs" – 4:31

Personnel (partial list)[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Phil Ochs - Greatest Hits". Discogs. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  2. ^ Brend, Mark (2001). American Troubadours: Groundbreaking Singer-Songwriters of the 60s. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-87930-641-0.
  3. ^ Cutler, Chris (1981). "Phil Ochs at the Barricade" (PDF). singout.org. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  4. ^ Wofford, Jerry (November 30, 2014). "Preserving a voice: Woody Guthrie Center preps Phil Ochs collection for display". Tulsa World. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  5. ^ "Greatest Hits > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved December 15, 2011.