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Sunday, July 20, 2014

In the Year 2525

Hey, guys!  I hope you're interested in a flashback to the 1960s, because in this edition of the Sunday Jukebox, that's exactly where we're going.

Specifically to the end of that particular decade.

Today's song hit the top of the charts 45 years ago this week...and interestingly enough, something else happened 45 years ago this week.  In fact, today just happens to be the 45th anniversary of an event that changed the way we looked at the world - and the moon - forever.

I was unfortunately not alive when this event took place.  July 20, 1969 was eleven years, nine months, and twenty-eight days before I was born.  However, my parents were around to see it, as was my eldest sister who was toddler-aged at the time - though I doubt that she remembered it.

That was the day that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the very first people in the entire world - or, I suppose you could say galaxy if you don't believe in aliens - to take steps on the surface of the moon.  It was one of the biggest news stories of the decade, and while there are some people who make the claim that the moon landing was a complete and total hoax, there are millions more who cite the event as being the catalyst for the global interest in space travel, and trying to find out more about how the universe was structured and laid out.  And, in the forty-five years since that day, dozens of hundreds of people can now make the claim that they have been up in outer space.

I can just imagine some of the sights that the astronauts up above saw while they were floating through space.  Most of us look out the windows at our homes or workplaces and see the moon and the sun in the sky, but for anyone who has ever been in outer space, imagine looking out the window of the space shuttle and seeing Venus, or Mars, or Earth!  That would be an awesome sight!  And I imagine that if I were to go up into outer space right now (which will likely never happen, but go with me on this train of thought), it would make me feel so tiny watching the Earth suspended in our universe.  We all like to think that our planet is so huge, and that we couldn't possibly see all of it in our lifetimes...but looking down on it from space, it's really very tiny.

And yet, Earth has been a part of the universe for billions of years.  It's gone through a lot to get to where it is now.  It's been through prehistoric ages with dinosaurs, and it's been through ice ages, and it's seen a lot of history pass through its continents and oceans.

And, well...I thought that I would choose a song that has to do with the Earth and humanity, and there's no perfect song to choose than this song, which hit the top of the charts 45 years ago this week.

ARTIST:  Zager and Evans
SONG:  In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)
ALBUM:  2525 (Exordium & Terminus)

Now, this is an interesting song.  It was a one-hit-wonder for Denny Zager and Rick Evans.  It was originally written five years before the single even charted by Evans, and it took approximately four years for the single to be released by a record company (the independent label Truth Records released some copies of the song in 1968).  But time was worth the wait as it topped the charts in the summer of 1969 - and it was the #1 song during the moon landing of July 1969 as well as during the Woodstock '69 music festival in August 1969.

Unfortunately for Zager and Evans, they are one of the few acts to have a #1 single, and then not have a single hit on the Billboard 100 after that.  The group disbanded two years after this single topped the charts, although they remain good friends.  In the case of Zager, he still works in the music industry, although instead of playing guitars, he builds custom-made ones instead in his current residence of Lincoln, Nebraska!

Okay, now let's get into the discussion of the lyrics of the song.  And considering the song's subject matter, it's a rather dark song.

It's also a song that is filled with predictions about the future, and as of right now, none of us know if those predictions will come true.  And unless they come up with a way to make all of us have a life expectancy of five hundred years, I have my doubts that any of us will be around to welcome in the year 2525.  

Just putting it out there.  In the year 2525, I would be 544 years old.  Yikes...

Of course, none of us will know what life would be like five hundred years in the future, but the year 2525 in this Zager and Evans song seems to be the start of the downfall of mankind. 

It's also probably one of the only songs ever released that seems to combine scientific themes with religious themes, as we see both mentioned in this song!

Basically the many verses of the song asks many rhetorical questions about what would happen in the 800 years that pass between the years 2525 and 10000.  Each verse goes up 1,010 years to the next year (with exception to the years 7510 and 8510), and a prediction is made about each millennium - the next one more dire than the last.

In fact, I've drafted up a nice little summary right here.

2525 - Zager and Evans wonder if man and woman can still survive

3535 - Everybody's actions will be controlled by ingesting a single pill

4545 - You won't need your teeth or your eyes because you won't find a thing to chew and nobody will look at you

5555 - Machines will do all the work that people used to do

6565 - No need for sexual reproduction.  There are machines that can help you do that, right down to choosing what sex you want your child to be

7510 - The possibility that God will come down to enact His "Judgment Day".

8510 - God decides whether he is happy about mankind's progress or whether he just wants to end it all.

9595 - Wondering if man can survive because they've taken everything the planet can give and given back nothing in return

10000 - The extinction of man

Wow! Now there's a song that makes you want to jump up and dance, isn't it?  

Of course, this isn't the first time pop culture has predicted a dystopian future in which man would find it difficult to survive and thrive.  We've seen this type of scenario unfold in movies like "Escape From New York" and "Blade Runner".  In television series like "Revolution".  In video games like "Chrono Trigger" and the "Final Fantasy" series.  We've even seen this sort of thing in the Disney movie "Wall-E".  But this song in particular seemed to strike a nerve in a lot of people, because it seemed to tell the world that if we keep continuing on in our wasteful ways, we could end up wiping ourselves off the face of the planet.

Let's put it this way.  I don't think it was a coincidence that Earth Day kicked off one year after this song became a chart-topper.

But you know, looking back at the lyrics of the song, I think that some of those predictions are in danger of coming true centuries ahead of schedule.  We already live in a world in which many of us are too dependent of technology.  I'm sure you've seen the "smartphones making us dumb" epidemic as of late.  And how many of us have said to ourselves "boy, technology makes this even more convenient than it used to be"?  Admit it, we've all said it.

The problem with technology is that not everyone in the world knows how to use it - or knows how to use it the right way.  And the more we rely on it to make our decisions for us, the more things get out of control.  If that makes any sense, that is.  At least it did for me when I wrote it.

Of course, what is the solution?  I don't know if there is one.  But if you stop and think about all of the astronauts who marveled in awe at what our planet looks like from up in space, it is a truly beautiful sight to see.  Wouldn't we all do whatever is possible to keep this place a beautiful one?

Just something to think about.


  1. There are no comments posted because your comments procedure doesn't work.

  2. "In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)" was written exclusively, music & lyrics, by Richard (Rick) S. Evans, U.S. ©1968 Eu-47617 with renewal ©1996 RE0000730422 Verify: also
    Denny Zager had nothing to do with it other than a four word harmony part on the RCA release. Evans (writer) sings lead.

  3. Are you Rick Evans as in "the" Rick Evans from Zager and Evans? If so, nice to see you!

    If there's anything that you want me to correct in this post, please let me know! Or if you have anything else to add, I'm interested in hearing it. :)

    I see that you had problems with the comment feature. I wonder if it was temporarily down...