August 21

1965

Barry McGuire’s “Eve Of Destruction” released

No song captures the political vibrations of an era as well as “Eve of Destruction” sung by folk-rock singer Barry McGuire and written by P.F. Sloan, who also wrote hits for The Turtles, Herman’s Hermits and Johnny Rivers. Its burning topicality made it a controversial song for pop radio stations; many banned it. It called forth several reply songs, as was typical of the period: “The Dawn of Correction” offered a much more optimistic view of the 1960s; Sgt Barry Sadler’s “Ballad of the Green Beret” and Johnny Seay’s 5 ½-minute “Day of Decision” were also considered rebuttals.

 

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.

 

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