This week Jim Adams’ prompts for Song Lyric Sunday are Cool, Groovy, Hip, Nifty, Radical and Swell. For some reason, apart from groovy, radical stayed with me the longest. I chose this Barry McGuire protest song, The Eve of Destruction, from the 60s. In many ways I feel we are right back there in the middle of that decade. Any progress we have made in the last 50 plus years has been snatched away from us in the last three.
According to Wikipedia it was written by P. F. Sloan in mid-1964. Several artists have recorded it, but the best-known recording was by Barry McGuire. This recording was made between July 12 and July 15, 1965, and released by Dunhill Records
The song had initially been presented to The Byrds as a Dylanesque potential single, but they rejected it. The Turtles, another L.A. group who often recorded The Byrds’ discarded or rejected material, recorded a version instead. Their version was issued as a track on their 1965 debut album It Ain’t Me Babe, shortly before McGuire’s version was cut; it was eventually released as a single and hit #100 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. The song was also recorded by Jan and Dean on their album Folk ‘n Roll in 1965, using the same backing track as the McGuire version, and by The Grass Roots on their first album Where Were You When I Needed You in 1966.
McGuire’s single hit #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the UK Singles Chart in September 1965.
Eve of Destruction Barry McGuire
The eastern world, it is explodin', Violence flarin', bullets loadin', You're old enough to kill but not for votin', You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin', And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin', But you tell me over and over and over again my friend, Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.
Don't you understand, what I'm trying to say? And can't you feel the fears I'm feeling today? If the button is pushed, there's no running away, There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave, Take a look around you, boy, it's bound to scare you, boy, And you tell me over and over and over again my friend, Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.
Yeah, my blood's so mad, feels like coagulatin', I'm sittin' here, just contemplatin', I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation, Handful of Senators don't pass legislation, And marches alone can't bring integration, When human respect is disintegratin', This whole crazy world is just too frustratin', And you tell me over and over and over again my friend, Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.
Think of all the hate there is in Red China! Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama! Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space, But when your return, it's the same old place, The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace, You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace, Hate your next door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace, And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend, You don't believe we're on the eve of destruction. No, no, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.