I have been thinking about films made in the past (and present) that predict the dystopian future that awaits humanity.
Chaos, extreme pollution, dwindling food supplies, massive overpopulation, Orwellian-Big Brother and Mad Max societies—-I could go on and on.
Thinking about those many sci-fi movies reminded me of a song that is timeless; a song that was just as foretelling when it debuted, as it is of things to come that have arrived.
That song is In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus), from the album 2525 (Exordium and Terminus).
The song, written and composed by Rick Evans in 1964, and copyrighted in 1968, was performed by the American pop-rock duo of Zager and Evans. It climbed the charts to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks beginning July 12, 1969. That same year, RCA Records acquired the song for distribution, and In the Year 2525 stayed six weeks in the number one spot on the Hot 100 in 1969.
And the rest as they say, was history.
For more history on 2525, I have updated my post due to my e-mail conversations with Rick Evans, the author of 2525.
Per my correspondence with Rick Evans on July 20, 2015:
“It was recorded in Odessa, Texas yielding a simple three track analog master which could be contained on 45 rpm records. It was released on a local label established by me in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1968, the same year the song was copyrighted. This label wasn’t really a company or anything, just a vinyl 45 rpm with a label (Truth Records) on it which served as an item to sell for a buck apiece in the club where we were playing and also a disc which could be played on radio.
“It was first played on a radio station (KLMS) in Lincoln, Nebraska. The requests for it were phenomenal and it started up the station’s own chart. This quickly resulted in RCA Records buying the master and releasing it worldwide. It took but three weeks to make it to number one in the States!
“Yes, it stayed at the top of the Billboard 100 chart in the U.S. for six weeks in the summer of 1969 and also number one on the chart in the U.K. as well as a few other foreign countries.”
The duo Zager and Evans were from Lincoln, Nebraska, with sidemen players as follows, per correspondence with Rick Evans:
“The players on the record were simply “sidemen” hired to play at the recording session to hopefully establish a result that sounded like a “real record”. That was achieved perfectly. Bass, C. Mark Dalton; drums, Dave Trupp; strings (5), high school kids in Odessa, horns, Odessa locals including a couple from a Mariachi band, two acoustic guitars and two voices. I sang lead and Zager sang a four word harmony part, each verse.”
Much thanks to Rick Evans for imparting that knowledge on 2525.
“2525” was the only major hit they had, and Zager and Evans disbanded in 1971. Denny Zager now builds custom guitars in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Richard Evans lives a quiet life in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
The lyrics warned of a future where humankind’s scientific, technological and medical advances destroys the world around it and in the process, its own self.
But, the last two lines hold out hope for a chance that humans may survive.
I first heard this song when it came out.
I wonder if there will be those around in the year 2525 to hear it.
In the year 2525, if man is still alive
If woman can survive, they may find
In the year 3535, ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies
Everything you think, do and say
Is in the pill you took today
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
In the year 5555
Your arms hangin’ limp at your sides
Your legs got nothin’ to do
Some machine’s doin’ that for you
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, whoa
In the year 7510
If God’s a-coming, He oughta make it by then
Maybe He’ll look around Himself and say
“Guess it’s time for the Judgement Day”
In the year 8510
God is gonna shake His mighty head
He’ll either say, “I’m pleased where man has been”
Or tear it down, and start again, whoa
In the year 9595
I’m kinda wonderin’ if man is gonna be alive
He’s taken everything this old earth can give
And he ain’t put back nothing, whoa
Now it’s been ten thousand years, man has cried a billion tears
For what, he never knew, now man’s reign is through
But through eternal night, the twinkling of starlight
So very far away, maybe it’s only yesterday
In the year 2525, if man is still alive
If woman can survive, they may find………
Richard Stanley Evans. Written in 1964. Copyrighted, 1968. “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 Reference:
copyright.gov/records also Broadcast Music, Inc. bmi.com