Tuesday, July 16, 2019


There has been many a nihilistic tune in the rock era and yet, the bleakest song ever to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 remains Zager and Evans' "In the Year 2525" which questions whether humanity will even survive.

Denny Zager and Rick Evans' "In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)" was written by Evans in 1964, recorded in 1968 and released on Truth Records, then was picked up by RCA to become the top hit in the nation as man walked on the moon for the first time. It remained at No. 1 as Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins returned to earth, as Charles Manson's Family unleashed their evil on the Hollywood Hills, and only dropped out of the top slot as Woodstock was wrapping up.

Evans' chorus-free composition, unlike many starry-eyed, flower-power anthems of the day, didn't redeem mankind in a cautionary epilogue, and instead for the year 5555, they sang, "Your arms hangin' limp at your sides/ Your legs got nothin' to do/ Some machine's doin' that for you." And in another thousand years, test-tube babies would be the norm.  Homo sapiens, having come to rely on pills and automation where once there was imagination and self-determination, would become no more substantial than furniture.

"In the Year 2525" was a far cry from a song it kept from the No. 1 spot, Oliver's "Good Morning Starshine" from the musical Hair, a song so saccharine sweet that its chorus included the line, "Gliddy glub gloopy, nibby nabby noopy la, la, la, lo, lo/ Sabba sibby sabba, nooby abba nabba, le, le, lo, lo." I include it in its entirety since so many of us sing it incorrectly - you gotta get your nonsense right, folks.

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