review for Chords of Fame on AllMovie

Chords of Fame (1984)
by Eleanor Mannikka review

Using interviews with people like Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin from the revolutionary 1960s in the U.S., as well as dramatic reenactments of events, and singers performing his songs, documentarian Michael Korolenko has attempted to pay tribute to Phil Ochs, a folk singer who commited suicide in 1976. Ochs graduated from Ohio State University and although his talents could not match that of a Joan Baez or a Pete Seeger, some of his songs are solid enough to be perpetuated in their genre. Ochs' career deteriorated slowly, at the end involving imitations of Elvis Presley, and increasingly difficult struggles with mental instability. This biographical documentary would have benefitted from more of the singer's own performances, allowing viewers to better judge his talent.