Eve of Destruction

Everything that is happening in the U.S. today — the pandemic, highest death toll ever, Trump attempting to silence our voices, dirty cops being let off the hook, racism, civil rights protections for women, minorities, LGBT people under the 1964 Civil Rights Act being removed as Trump attempts to ‘burn it all down’ before he is forced out — it all makes me feel that this song is the right one for the day … perhaps more so today than ever before.

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, 1965
Eve of Destruction lyrics Β© Universal Music Publishing Group

30 thoughts on “Eve of Destruction

  1. Pingback: Eve of Destruction | The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

  2. This brought back a memory. I saw Barry McGuire live about 25 years ago. He had switched to Christian Contemporary music and was singing at a mega-church that my friends belonged to. Before he sang, a smarmy preacher in a shiny suit and a Rolex told me how I needed to be saved and cast out my material goods. My response was, “nice watch”.

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    • Somehow I have trouble reconciling the Barry McQuire of “Eve of Destruction” with one who sings religious music! And great response from you to the preacher!!! It’s how I feel when I read about the televangelists like Joel Osteen, Franklin Graham and others who are millionaires, yet beg for alms from those who barely eke out a living.

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  3. I must admit back in the day when I was starting to embracing my grumpy cynical demeanour I didn’t buy into this song, it was a case of ‘Yeah yeah. Another fashionable protest song. Dylan did it better’
    All these years and suddenly it resonates a lot more than it did when it first came out.
    Take care you guys.
    The Demon that tormented Ulster is looking for fresh ground and it likes what it sees.

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      • ‘Fraid not. You need a mix of FDR, LBJ and Nixon with Bobby Kennedy in full vicious flood back as US Attorney General to pull the nation together now.
        Lock ’em up, put em on chain gangs, with Latino or African American guards. (and that’s me being mild about it)

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          • Personally I tend to agree with you Jill, History is a powerful teaching device. Nations rise and nations fall, from within. I see the fragmentation and parting of states into separate nations.
            That said nothing is actually set in stone, but you are going to need someone who some liberal folk might be a bit queasy about (screw the libertarians they can be bussed off to some remote piece of land and build their own sloppy, slovenly ‘I know my rights’ BS nation)

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            • I tend to agree that it is now perfectly clear that this nation is no longer one nation, and just as the couple who cannot speak to each other without fighting, I think it is inevitable that we will, though not without much strife, become multiple nations. But let me ask … when you say “someone who some liberal folk might be a bit queasy about”, what’s your vision here? An autocrat?

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              • To quote yet again from Hamlet.
                ‘Ah, there’s the rub’.
                Firstly autocracy does not work. Because the autocrat starts off seemingly well by having everything under their control and beating down on the bad guys. But the autocrat sees theirs as the true and only way and only listens to those who agree with them (and amongst those are always the chancers ad opportunists). Thus in their desperation to cling to power any descent or imagined descent gets squashed. Even if they, the autocrat gets to die in bed there follows a horrid battle for control. Not good. Check the history of other nations to see how it pans out.
                Anyway to the USA.
                Now you begin with a hard-nosed, experienced operator who knows the score. They start to clamp down on the extremists, toughing out and socially destroying those hate-mongers…Good everyone says. Yea team!
                But what you will find, that the shrewd operators is also drawing in those deluded folk from the right, calming them down, subverting them with ‘gestures’
                So, say for instance; there would be criticism of some sacred folk such as the Kennedy era for being remote and elitist from how ordinary folk feel; commentators such as Noam Chomsky for being naΓ―ve and selective. Distancing from the Clintons for ‘failure’ to stop Starr, Trump and Cruz.
                Then whereas right-wing conspiracy fermenters would be in for a hard time, so would any liberals who still raise questions about the Kennedy Assassinations and 9/11.
                You would find minority group folks who are seen to embrace intolerance being vilified and those of the same group who don’t agree with them encouraged to hang them out to dry.
                Anyone no matter how loyal found wanting for some failure of character would be thrown under the bus.
                And why? All to send the message out ‘Don’t mess with us while we untie the Nation. You are with us or against us. Play nice and you have jobs, security and safety. Sure you can rag us, poke fun we don’t mind, but try and unsettle and we will swat you down,’.
                Like a very diluted and sweetened 1984.
                Shocked? Most folk would be. Also to be told that Lincoln had folk imprisoned for stepping over the line of criticism during the Civil War. Also to be told that Philip Caputo writer of the much lauded ‘Rumour of War’ vilified JFK in that book for basically the ‘Pay any price bear any burden’ speech.
                Politics even with the best of intentions is a dirty and imperfect business. But there again so is Humanity.
                Go figure Jill.
                You know where you are with in a wolf pack

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                • Wow, Roger … much to ponder here. In essence, there is no panacea, no nice neat little solution as many are hoping Joe Biden’s presidency will provide. Makes sense … sadly. Yep, gimme a wolf pack or a lion’s den anyday … much simpler than trying to figure out the human mind! Thanks for your assessment … as always, I value your ideas and largely agree with them. Sigh. Aaaarrrrrroooooooooooooooo

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                  • Thanks for your words Jill
                    Joe Biden may die in office, not through some idiot but through the weight of the work. I think he knows it and is willing to put his life on the line for the USA- a true patriot.
                    It’s the ones who will follow are the ones to watch, young and hardened by these years.
                    Meanwhile.
                    Aaaarrrrrroooooooooooooooo….. Damn straight !!

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                    • I think it is almost a foregone conclusion that Biden will not live to see the end of his first term, and as you say, he’s aware of that and is willing to give his life to try to help heal this nation. I also think that’s at least a part of the reason he chose Kamala Harris as his veep … she’s young, smart, Black, and can handle the job, but would never have been voted in, for this is still a racist, misogynist nation overall. Sigh. Yep, where’s my wolf pack? 🐺🐺🐺🐺🐺

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  4. Trump’s theme song would be Good News Week, by Hedgehoppers Anonymous. He is too stoopid to realize the song is ironic. He would really rejoice that the headlines are what he wants to see.

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      • Look it up on YouTube. I’ve mentooned it before in a different context. I think you have just forgotten. Sorry I took so long to answer, but this reply just appeared on my tablet today. I always hit the unread button for comments, a dnit was not here yesterday. For a system that can send a message in milliseconds, this one took a lifetime to arrive.

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