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singing by the numbers: 414

By request, which you can make here. From the list of 500+ songs and annotations.

414. Zager & Evans - In The Year 2525

Yea, most people loathe this song with an angry passion usually reserved for serial killers and people who bring 11 items on the 10 and under line. Not me.

Let me take you back to 1969. I'm seven years old. It's late summer and I'm in Roscoe, New York, a.k.a. "upstate" at my aunt and uncle's summer home. It's a rickety old house that's set on a lake in the middle of the woods in the middle of a town where people sit on their front porches and chew toothpicks and play the banjo. I'm sitting on the deck next to the kitchen, reading an Archie comic and listening to the sounds of joy coming from the lake, where my cousins are swimming and fishing. For some reason they don't mind swimming in a dark, murky lake with a bottom so muddy that you have to wear sneakers in the water, where you have to swim with snakes and newts and mosquitoes and where you might get entwined in a crop of lily pads, which, as everyone knows, are really evil, living things and will wrap their vines around your legs so you can't move or swim and you'll find yourself pulled under the swampy water where some evil beaver will hold you down until you drown and then bury you in the mud to save you for winter dining.

Anyhow. So I'm sitting at the plastic table with the plastic tablecloth reading my comic book and my mother comes outside to keep me company. She brings the radio. They get one station up in boonie land and so far, it's been a continuous airing of Good Morning Starshine and Wichita Lineman. But what's this? A different song! And what the hell is he singing about? My mother looks quizzically at the radio, cocking her head like a confused cat and I think even the bugs and lizards and woodland creatures stand still as if to say "what is this horrid sound emanating throughout our home? Is that....mariachi music?"

Ah, it was just Zager and Evans singing about the future. And what a bright, wonderful place the future seemed to be!

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

Whoa. That had my interest. Sure, many years later I would realize that the song was nothing but a paean to tree-hugging; a musical, Orwellian trip into a vast dystopian future. No matter. It piqued my interest. It made me really think about the future. It made me wonder, imagine and, to an extent, fear. I started to think about man v. machine scenarios and robots and an unthinking, unfeeling human race. When we got home from Roscoe that August, I headed straight for the library and took out a pile of books on predictions for the future and scoured the children's section for the books with the yellow and red sci-fi label.

And so, 2525 is on my list because it was the gateway drug, if you will, to my fascination with all things science fiction.

I really hope that justifies its listing.

[cross posted at I Have This on Vinyl, which is the compendium for these posts]


It's your fricking list. It don't need no justimacatin'. But thanks. ;)

I like it, too. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I like "Spirit in the Sky" although I think many hate that one, too.

I actually enjoy that song, Rob.

I have a strange fascination with all songs from that era with dire predictions... "Everyone's Gone to the Moon" is another in that vein. Both are insanely useful songs for threatening my boyfriend with, because he hates them.

It's a GREAT song. I'm the same age & I associate it with that last scene in the original Planet of the Apes, which for some reason I was allowed to go see. I also remember my 4th grade teacher showing us a LIFE magazine with a photospread of how in the future, everyone would dress in 2001 Space Odyssey unisex drag, with shaved heads. The girls were horrified

(I think Moms had it easy then. I lived in a little town in the Four Corners area of New Mexico, & as kids, esp in summer, we would just leave in the morning & come back in the evening. No one thought anything about it)

Has there ever been a good electropop cover of that song?

No idea, Jeff, but Laibach did a cover of it on NATO.

I don't think that counts as Electropop, though. (And NATO was really a pretty weak album, too. The three or four good tracks on WAT are better than all of NATO, I think. Even the cover of "Final Countdown". The only REALLY good track was "Alle Gegen Alle".)

I always find it funny when downstaters call places like roscoe upstate... Roscoe's like 3 hours south from where I went to highschool, now THAT was upstate.

It's #413 on my RMc2003, a year-long personal countdown I did in 2003.

Yes, really. MP3s available on request.

Don't think you'd like my countdown much, Michelle...it has no fewer than eighty-three Beatles songs on it.

Yes, really.

I was a DJ in high school in my little hometown in west Texas in '69, spinning 45s and LPs, mostly C&W (we played both kinds) and middle-of-the-road pop and instrumentals. But, occasionally, a demo record would slip past the station manager (who routinely trashed everything that came in by those drug-addled Beatles) and I'd look for a time to slip it into the playlist when I thought he might not be listening.

That's how I came to play "2525" a full three weeks before I ever heard it on any big-city market. I've always had a soft spot in my heart (head?) for that song. Glad you like it, too!