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I Ain't Marching Any More (song)

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"I Ain't Marching Any More"
Song by Phil Ochs
from the album I Ain't Marching Any More
GenreProtest song, folk
Songwriter(s)Phil Ochs
Producer(s)Jac Holzman
"I Ain't Marching Any More"
Single by Phil Ochs
B-side"That Was the President"
GenreProtest song, folk rock
Songwriter(s)Phil Ochs
Producer(s)Paul A. Rothchild
Phil Ochs singles chronology
"I Ain't Marching Any More"
"Cross My Heart"

"I Ain't Marching Any More" (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 Any More" is one of Ochs's best-known songs.

Ochs wrote "I Ain't Marching Any More" as American involvement in the Vietnam War was beginning to grow.[1] 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.[1][2] 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.[2]

Ochs said of the song that it "borders between pacifism and treason, combining the best qualities of both."[3] 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."[3]

According to one biographer, "I Ain't Marching Any More" "instantly became [Ochs'] signature song".[4] Ochs performed it at concerts and rallies for the remainder of his career, almost always drawing cheers from the audience.[5]

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.[6][7] In August 1968, Ochs performed "I Ain't Marching Any More" during the protests outside the Democratic National Convention, inspiring hundreds of young men to burn their draft cards.[8] Ochs described it as the highlight of his career.[8]

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 Any More", but the judge wouldn't allow it. Instead, Ochs recited the lyrics.[9]

Folk-rock version[edit]

In 1966, Ochs recorded a folk-rock version of "I Ain't Marching Any More". He was accompanied by The Blues Project and a bagpipe player.[10] The new version of the song was released as a single in the U.K. and as a flexi disc in Sing Out! magazine.[11] 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".[10] The single failed to chart.[1]

Cover versions[edit]

"I Ain't Marching Any More" has been covered by several performers, including:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Dean, Maury (2003). Rock 'n' Roll Gold Rush: A Singles Un-Cyclopedia. New York: Algora Publishing. p. 78. ISBN 0-87586-207-1.
  2. ^ a b Schumacher, Michael (1996). There But for Fortune: The Life of Phil Ochs. New York: Hyperion. p. 90. ISBN 0-7868-6084-7.
  3. ^ a b Ochs, Phil (1965). I Ain't Marching Anymore (Media notes). Elektra. EKL-287/EKS-7287.
  4. ^ Schumacher. There But for Fortune. p. 91.
  5. ^ Schumacher. There But for Fortune. p. 119.
  6. ^ Eliot, Marc (1989) [1979]. Death of a Rebel: A Biography of Phil Ochs. New York: Franklin Watts. p. 151. ISBN 0-531-15111-5.
  7. ^ Cohen, David (1999). Phil Ochs: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 234. ISBN 0-313-31029-7.
  8. ^ a b Schumacher. There But for Fortune. p. 200.
  9. ^ Eliot. Death of a Rebel. pp. 185–187.
  10. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie (2002). Turn! Turn! Turn!: The '60s Folk-Rock Revolution. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. p. 194. ISBN 0-87930-703-X.
  11. ^ Cohen. Phil Ochs. p. 187.
  12. ^ Woliver, Robbie (July 2, 1999). "Sharps & Flats". Salon. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  13. ^ Cohen. Phil Ochs. p. 276.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ Cohen. Phil Ochs. p. 280.
  16. ^ "New Jefferson Starship Album of Formative Folk Treasures: Jefferson's Tree of Liberty". Top40 Charts.com. August 8, 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  17. ^ Dahlen, Chris (January 2, 2006). "Kind of Like Spitting Learn: The Songs of Phil Ochs". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  18. ^ Winters, Pamela (June 9, 2003). "Richard Thompson: Plunging the Knife in Deeper". Paste. Retrieved April 10, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • Phull, Hardeep (2008). Story Behind the Protest Song: A Reference Guide to the 50 Songs that Changed the 20th Century. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 46–52. ISBN 978-0-313-34141-0.
  • Lombardi, Chris (2020). I Ain't Marching Anymore: Dissenters, Deserters, and Objectors to America's Wars. New York: The New Press. ISBN 978-1620973172.

External links[edit]