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Phil Ochs

Columbus/Cleveland, 1950s/60s

Phil Ochs is a legendary figure in the US folk music scene in the 1960s, possibly only behind Bob Dylan in terms of legacy and influence. A lot of people don't know he spent a good part of his formative years in Ohio. His family travelled around but when he was in his mid teens they settled in Columbus, where Phil really began to study music. Being a teen at the beginning of rock-n-roll. he became a fan of Elvis, whose shadow stayed with Ochs in the later part of his career. he spent a couple years away at a boarding school, then returned to Columbus, where he enrolled at Ohio State.

It was during his Ohio State tenure that the modern US folk music scene began, mainly at college campuses. Ochs started perfoming locally, while writing for the Ohio State student newspaper, the Lantern. After his parents moved to Cleveland, he commuted between the two cities, performing at Cleveland's founding folk club, Faragher's

In 1962 he moved to where it was happening, New York City where his career took off, and he doesn't seem to have any more direct Ohio connections. Aside from that, his music continues to be relevant and popular, 40+ years after his suicide.

Phil's brother Michael, who also lived in Cleveland and Columbus, became a collector of photographs, including 1000s of musical artists. His photo archives are legendary, and have been used in many archival music issues and books.