Summer of 1969: “In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)”

During the summer of 1969, Zager and Evans dominated the radio with their hit song “In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus).”  The song stayed in the number one spot for six weeks, including during the Woodstock Music Festival and when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.  It hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 12, 1969, ending its run at number on on August 22, 1969.

The song catalogs a horrible future for humans, documenting the world in various rhyming years up to 9595.  For example,

In the year 5555,
Your arms hangin’ limp at your sides;
Your legs got nothin’ to do;
Some machine’s doin’ that for you.

Something about the song resonated with Americans (the song also did well in the U.K.).  “In the Year 2525” seemed even more pessimistic than Barry McGuire’s 1965 hit “Eve of Destruction.”

Perhaps people related to the dystopian vision of “In the Year 2525” after the unrest of the previous year of 1968. That year saw the murders of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, Viet Nam protests, and other events.  Or maybe having survived 1968, people found some joy in whistling past the graveyard.

The geniuses behind the song, however, would never match the success of “In the Year 2525.” Zager and Evans were Denny Zager and Rick Evans, who first had a regional hit with the song as local performers in Nebraska.  Evans wrote “In the Year 2525” in 1964.

One of their followup songs, “Mr. Turnkey,” which was about a rapist, did not do well on the charts.

According to Wikipedia, Evans later recorded some of his own music but now stays out of the public eye, while Zager went on to build custom guitars for Zager Guitars.

Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Happy Anniversary Chimesfreedom!
  • The Ambiguous Anti-War Underpinnings of “Galveston”
  • The Rushed Album Filler “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”
  • My Lai and “The Battle Hymn of Lt. Calley”
  • You Only Are What You Believe: 1967 Anti-War Protest and the Year’s Music
  • Mickey Mouse Enlists in Viet Nam War
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)

    Happy Anniversary Chimesfreedom!

    Studies show that 60-80% of blogs do not survive for more than one month after they started. Another study found that two-thirds of existing blogs had essentially died. So it is with some pride that we celebrate the one-year birthday of Chimesfreedom. Thanks to my friend Harry for the package of Chimes chews as pictured above. We hope that similarly you have found Chimesfreedom to be “stimulating and all natural.”

    When Chimesfreedom started, I did not know it would continue this long and do not know where we will end up. It is not easy to keep a website updating regularly when one has a full-time job, so I understand why most blogs do not last for more than a month. Yet, maybe we will make it to 2525, as described by Zager and Evans in their famous song.

    Come to think of it, though, it does not sound like there will be much pop culture on which to comment in 2525. Regarding the video, yes, that Zager Guitars ad over the video is from Denny Zager of Zager and Evans. He now has a custom guitar shop. The other half of the Nebraska group was Rick Evans, who wrote the song, “In the Year 2525,” which was released in 1969 and became a huge hit. But the duo never had another one. Is there a more depressing song out there? And then there is Futurama’s version, “In the Year 252525.”

    But for now, let us enjoy the rest of 2011 and wish you a happy and healthy 2012. If you are new to Chimesfreedom, check out some of the stories posted under “Featured Blog Posts” in the right-hand column. And visit again to see what the future holds. As always, your comments are appreciated.

  • Summer of 1969: “In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)”
  • Chimesfreedom Greatest Hits
  • Chimesfreedom Blog To Be Made Into a Movie!
  • (Some Related Chimesfreedom Posts)