October 24, 2015

Boomer Anthems: "Eve of Destruction"

Created and recorded over 50 years ago, it is not a good thing to be able to say it remains fresh and prophetic today.

"Eve of Destruction" is a protest song written by P. F. Sloan in 1965.

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 accompanying musicians were top-tier LA session men: P.F. Sloan on guitar, Hal Blaine (of Phil Spector's "Wrecking Crew") on drums, and Larry Knechtel on bass. The vocal track was thrown on as a rough mix and was not intended to be the final version, but a copy of the recording "leaked" out to a DJ, who began playing it. The song was an instant hit and as a result the more polished vocal track that was at first envisioned was never recorded.... Barry McGuire became a born-again Christian, and as a result renounced the song for many years, refusing to perform it.[citation needed] Though he is now known primarily as a singer of contemporary Christian songs, McGuire has resumed singing "Eve of Destruction" in recent years, often updating the lyrics to refer to such events as the Columbine High School massacre.
Barry McGuire updated the lyrics when he performed at a reunion of folksingers, with the line about the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches replaced by the words "Columbine, Colorado", referring to the student massacre of 1999. On March 12, 2008, McGuire appeared on the Australian music comedy/game show Spicks and Specks, performing an updated version of "Eve of Destruction", with new lines such as "You're old enough to kill/ you just started voting" and "...can live for ten years in space". The reference to "Red China" was also removed, and in its place were the more generic "Now think of all the hate, still living inside us/ its never too late, to let love guide us"....
The American media helped popularize the song by using it as an example of everything that was wrong with the youth of that time.[5] The song also drew flak from conservatives. A group called The Spokesmen released an answer record entitled "The Dawn of Correction". A few months later, Green Beret medic Sgt. Barry Sadler released the patriotic "Ballad of the Green Berets". Johnny Sea's spoken word recording, "Day For Decision", was also a response to the song.
Due to its controversial lyrics, some American radio stations, "claiming it was an aid to the enemy in Vietnam",[6] and Radio Scotland[7] banned the song.[8] It was placed on a "restricted list" by the BBC, and could not be played on "general entertainment programmes".....The song, like many other popular songs of the day, gave its name to a gun truck used by United States Army Transportation Corps forces during the Vietnam war. The truck is on display at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum and is believed to be the only surviving example of a Vietnam era gun truck. [See Revelation 6, Prophecy, and Gun Trucks @ AMERICAN DIGEST] - - La Wik

The eastern world it is exploding
Violence flaring and bullets loading
You're old enough to kill but not for voting
You don't believe in war but what's that gun you're toting
And even Jordan river has bodies floating

But you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction

My blood's is so mad it feels like coagulating
I'm sitting here just contemplating
I can't twist the truth it knows no regulation
And a handful of senators don't pass legislation
Busing alone can't bring segregation
When human respect is disintegrating
The whole fucking world is just too frustrating

But you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah you don't believe
We're on the eve of destruction

Well look at all the hate there is in Alhambra
Then look around to Selma Alabama
You may leave here for four days in space
But when you come back it's the same old place
The pounding of the drums pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead but don't leave a trace
Hate your next door neighbour but don't forget to say grace

But you tell me
Over and over and over again my friend
Ah you don't believe
We're on the eve of destruction

Posted by gerardvanderleun at October 24, 2015 9:51 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

While everyone loves a well-done jeremiad, how long does this eve live? If eve will live for another thirty or forty years until our times become, postevian, then my life will be OK. Not great, I imagine, but OK.

Posted by: ErisGuy at October 25, 2015 3:48 AM

Nah. Didn't like it in the 1960s, don't like it now. Agincourt, though, that mattered.

Posted by: Gordon at October 27, 2015 5:50 AM

You hint Ballad of the Green Berets (1966) was in response to Eve of Destruction. What is your reference?

Posted by: SgtBob at October 27, 2015 12:37 PM

I'm sorry, am I wearing my "Your Basic Research Slave" t-shirt today?

Posted by: Van der Leun at October 27, 2015 1:02 PM