♫ Eve of Destruction ♫

I’ve played a lot of great music the last few weeks … a lot of Motown and the sort of music that makes you tap your toes and just feel good.  Tonight I must veer for just a bit …

Released in 1965, this song was an anti-government protest against racism, hypocrisy and injustice at a volatile time in American history.  Sound familiar?  I’m really surprised that this song hasn’t made a huge comeback in the past year or so, for it is every bit as apropos today as it was 50+ years ago.  In some ways, the issues today are different, but in other ways … not so much.  Today, instead of Vietnam we have climate change and a clown in the Oval Office, Brexit and election manipulation.  But racism is still alive and well, but today we have no Martin Luther King.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah, in spades, my friend.  And Injustice is the name of the game here and around the world.  I could name 100 reasons that this song is as relevant today as it was then. Different faces, same ol’ song.

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

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.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

36 thoughts on “♫ Eve of Destruction ♫

  1. I remember well when this song was released in 1965, having recently graduated from high school and heading into nursing school. I always liked Barry McGuire’s raspy voice. I don’t recall exactly when, but he became a born-again Christian. I loved the original song and lyrics, but he released an updated lyrics the end of 2009. “Eve 2012 (Eve of Destruction)” for the 45th Anniversary in 2010 and he was in his 70’s by then singing “we’re still on the eve of destruction”! Not much has really changed has it? Thank-you!

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      • The other time that you featured “Eve of Destruction”, maybe a few months back, I was fixated on the Jan&Dean version from another treasured album. I remember being so wrapped up in those memories that I failed, I think, to mention The Turtles version. It was also released in 1965…memory fails as to which was first, The Turtles or McGuire. I liked the Turtles version for a few reasons. The beating of a snare drum and the tambourines added something special. I would venture to say that most prefer the McGuire version, but The Turtles deserves mention too and of course Jan&Dean (for me). I’ll tax your tolerance of my propensity for loquacity a wee bit more, grab coffee or wine, your choice. This song has always been intertwined with Sonny&Cher’s “I’ve Got You Babe”…another great hit of 1965, their first #1 Hit! Why, one might ask? It became “Our Song” and I can hear his voice softly in my ear over these many years, a lifetime ago. It was said by Cher that she didn’t like the song, at least at first. 1965…what a year of fantabulous memories! Thank-you!

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        • When I read your comment, I said … “Wait … what??? huh??? I never featured this song before … did I?” Thoroughly confused, I went into my archives and … LO and BEHOLD … I did … I really did … on 13 July! Less than 3 months ago and I have completely forgotten!!! I cannot believe I … forgot … just forgot! I hope you can forgive my propensity for IDIOCY!!! I am a nutcase … I am incompetent and overwhelmed and brain-dead! Sigh.

          And thank you, my friend, for once again sharing your very special memories. Though it didn’t end well … you once had somebody whisper in your ear. Hang onto that, for many of us, myself included, never had that. Ever.

          I think I should hire you to keep track of what I have done, haven’t done, want to do, ought to do … Thanks for trying to keep me straight! Not an easy task!


    • I fully agree! I don’t even listen to today’s music except when I use my daughter’s car and it’s playing. Sometimes I listen for 10 seconds or so while I try to find the knob to turn it off! 😀

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  2. Along with this song came the Hedgehoppers Anonymous with “Good News Week,” but that one didn’t seem to catch on as well. Nor did Buffalo Springfield with “For What It’s Worth.” But as I recently quoted, Steppenwolf’s “Monster” is still one of the best for then and now.

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  3. A great record Jill. only a certain age group really listened to the words the rest as always just hummed along then went of to become today’s politicians., What they should have been doing was remembering how important it was and trying harder to get legislation failed. Our generation are leaving politics now (I wish) so maybe the new generation of politicians will try to bring the right end about. Not the Republicans obviously, not enough money in it for them.

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    • I wish we could skip a generation and let those in their 20s & 30s become today’s politicians, for they seem to have some better ideas, more open minds and open hearts. And as for our generation leaving politics … they seem to keep hanging on way past their expiration date, don’t they. Some of them are positively doddery! I suspect the only way we are ever going to have a truly just government is to take the money out of politics altogether, and that isn’t likely to happen.

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  4. Spooky Jill, I have been playing this over the last week as I researched quotable remarks/lyrics about war from the 60s and 70s. I’m trying to decide on a title for my draft novel (I decided to change it after I changed the ending) about a girl with a morbid fear of nuclear war, set in the 1970s. I originally wanted to call it Eve of Destruction but several people got here before me! This, along with Universal Solider have been in my head for days now… Brains connected across the pond! xx

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