Friday, June 27, 2014

Zager and Evans -- "In the Year 2525" (1969)

In the year 2525
If man is still alive
If woman can survive

I don't mind the music of "In the Year 2525."  (The ascending key changes -- from Ab minor to A minor to Bb minor -- are a little corny, but don't really bother me.)  The arrangement is pretty good and the performance is perfectly competent. 

But "In the Year 2525" has WITHOUT A DOUBT the most ridiculous lyrics of any hit single I know.

Each of the song's eight verses begins by mentioning a year in the distant future  (2525, 3535, 4545, 5555, 6565, 7510, 8510, and 9595) and then predicting something that will happen in that year.

Here are a few sample verses, each of which is more ridiculous than the last:

In the year 4545
You ain't gonna need your teeth
Won't need your eyes
You won't find a thing to chew
Nobody's gonna look at you

(Saying that you won't need teeth because there's nothing to chew makes sense . . . sort of.  But following up "Won't need your eyes" with "Nobody's gonna look at you" doesn't make sense.  You may need eyes to look at someone else -- but you don't need eyes to be looked at by someone else.)

Zager and Evans
In the year 5555
Your arms hangin' limp
At your sides
Your legs got nothing to do
Some machine's doing that for you

(Doing what, exactly?  Walking?  Dancing?  Riding a bike?  Playing the drums?  All of the above?)

In the year 6565
Ain't gonna need no husband
Won't need no wife
You'll pick your son, pick your daughter too
From the bottom of a long glass tube

(It's all rather Brave New World-ish, isn't it?)

If you used the lyrics of this song as the inspiration for a science-fiction novel, it would be the lamest science-fiction novel ever.

But somehow, that didn't stop "In the Year 2525" from becoming the #1 song in the U.S. for six weeks in the summer of 1969.  (It was preceded by Henry Mancini's "Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet" and succeeded by the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women," which may be the two most dissimilar #1 hits in history.)

For what it's worth, "In the Year 2525" was the #1 song in the U.S. when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon on July 20, 1969.  It sold over four million in the year after its release.

Rick Evans originally wrote the song in 1964.  He and his fellow Nebraskan, Denny Zager, recorded it in 1968.  The full name of the song is actually "In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)."  Exordium means beginning, and terminus means end.

Zager and Evans are perhaps the ultimate one-hit wonders.  After the huge success of "In the Year 2525," they never had another chart single.

That's not surprising, given that their follow-up to "In the Year 2525" was a single titled "Mr. Turnkey."  That song was such a stinker that I can't resist featuring it in the next 2 or 3 lines.

Today, Denny Zager is a custom guitar maker -- click here to learn about his "EZ-Play" guitars.

Here's a brief video featuring a testimonial from a satisfied Denny Zager customer:

I'm not sure how Rick Evans is earning his bread these days, but he seems to be spending a fair part of his time monitoring the Internet and correcting all the misinformation about "In the Year 2525" that's out there.

For example, one of the videos of that song that's on YouTube was posted by Zager, who slapped a graphic of the URL for his website ( on it.  Click here to see what I mean.

Rick Evans wants you and me to know that he -- not Denny Zager -- wrote "In the Year 2525":

The Zagers desecrate everything their name is associated with, especially this song.  To wit: their unauthorized logo across the bottom of this video. Their guitars?  Buy a banjo. "In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) was written exclusively, music & lyrics, and is owned by Richard (Rick) S. Evans, U.S. ©1968 with renewal ©1996.  On the video: Evans (goatee) sings lead, Zager sings a four-word harmony part.  That is all.  Copyright infringement in advertising.

So don't hold your breath waiting for a Zager and Evans reunion tour.  I don't expect there to be one until at least the year 2525.  Or when hell freezes over.  (Whichever comes first.)

Here's "In the Year 2525."  You'll never see less convincing lip-synching.

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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