1960's Protest Music I Ain't Marching Anymore--Phil Ochs

Who is the artist? The artist is Phil Ochs.

What is the name of the Song? The name of the song is "I Ain't Marching Anymore".

When was it recorded/released? It was recorded/released in 1965.

What other (if any) famous songs does he sing? Some other famous songs are "One Way Ticket Home" and "The War is Over".

What do you think the lyrics of the song mean?

"Oh, I marched to the battle of New Orleans/At the end of the early British war/The young land started growing/The young blood started flowing/But I ain't marching anymore." The first stanza refers to the Battle of New Orleans, which was one of the final battles of the War of 1812.
"For I've killed my share of Indians/ In a thousand different fights/ I was there at the Little Big Horn/ I heard many men lying,/ I saw many more dying /But I ain't marching anymore" The second stanza is about the wars waged by the early settlers against the Native American population, represented collectively by the battle at Little Big Horn, in which the tribes thoroughly routed the American forces.
"It's always the old to lead us to the war/ It's always the young to fall/ Now look at all we've won with the saber and the gun/ Tell me is it worth it all" Ochs makes the point that it is the old men in power who send young men off to die, with his pointed use of the word "young."
For I stole California from the Mexican land/Fought in the bloody Civil War/Yes, I even killed my brothers/And so many others/But I ain't marching anymore". The lyrics refer to America taking California from Mexico and the Civil War
"For I flew the final mission in the Japanese sky/Set off the mighty mushroom roar/When I saw the cities burning/I knew that I was learning/That I ain't marching anymore". This stanza refers to World War II, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan.
Now the labor leader's screamin'/When they close the missile plants/ United Fruit screams at the Cuban shore/Call it, Peace, or call it, Treason/Call it, Love, or call it, Reason/But I ain't marching anymore/No, I ain't marching anymore". This Stanza is a reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which occurred in the Kennedy administration.
"For I marched to the battles of the German trench/In a war that was bound to end all wars/Oh, I must have killed a million men/And now they want me back again/But I ain't marching anymore". The fifth verse talks about all the millions of people who died during the World War I.

How do they relate to or reflect the time period? This song relates to how during the Vietnam War people started to "stop marching" or stop fighting and began to protest against the government. It reflects on how determined the American people were to restore peace.

What was taking place in history when the song was recorded or popular? The Vietnam War was taking place when the song was recorded. It became the become the song used at countless protests and rallies during the decade.

What was the overall inspiration and message of the lyrics of the song? This is an anti-war anthem. The song builds, war after war after war, leaving the listener overwhelmed with the horror of it all. All of these allusions show us that young men are dying on behalf of the rich, old, and powerful, rather than dying for some glorious "cause." Ochs is making the statement that after having killed so much, and after having lost so much in generations past, he, as a human, is done marching to war and hopes that others will join him

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