Counterculture Classic: "In the Year 2525" Zager and Evans (1969)
By John Roberts
Los Angeles, California
May 7, 2017 9:00am CST
Anyone who has heard this one hit wonder relic from the turbulent 60s will not have forgotten. “In the Year 2525” was a sensation when I was young as it was played over and over again on radio. The song reigned six consecutive weeks atop Billboard, went gold with two million copies sold (10 million to date) and #1 in the UK. Denny Zager and Rick Evans met in 1962 at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Evans wrote “In the Year 2525” in 1964 and they recorded it in 1968 for Truth Records achieving regional success. RCA signed Zager and Evans and gave the single and album “2525 (Exorbium and Terminus)” the big push. At the time, I did not fully grasp the social commentary and meaning. To me, it was that weird countdown song about man’s destruction. A gloomy opposite to Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” also from 1969. Now I understand why the song resonated with the counterculture. “In the Year 2525” is not about politics or war. Consider these lyrics: “Everything you think, say and do is in the pill you took today” “Your legs got nothin’ to do Some machine’s doin’ that for you” The whole song is like that. Evans was predicting man’s downfall due to advanced technology and machines. How prophetic! Almost 50 years later, Evans’ vision is slowly becoming true as society becomes enslaved to technology and surrendering thinking to machines. “In the Year 2525” is stunning from that perspective. Follow up singles failed and Zager and Evans broke up in 1971. Zager became a guitar maker in Lincoln. Evans has been neatly invisible rarely emerging in public. The residual checks keep rolling in.
7 people like this
• United States
I've always loved this song, and I have always figured it was them talking about man's downfall but I also grew up in the 90s and could already see it happening. I always loved listening to the oldies station and this song was played on it.