At my local auto shop yesterday I was surprised to hear Barry McGuire’s infamous “Eve of Destruction” blaring in the background. (I snarked about that record here in 2012.) My mechanic piped up, “It sure fits these times, doesn’t it?”
He had a point. You can’t go anyway in the States without hearing folks commenting on the crazy happenings in Washington, D.C. and even the health of our Republic.
Are we on the eve of destruction? Probably not, but the song fits these times even better than 52 years ago when it was first released. Admittedly, that was not a normal time either, but we didn’t have a national leader in charge of nuclear codes whose psychological stability was openly debated on talk shows by mental health specialists. After all, then-President Lyndon Johnson was able to put together sentences in logical sequence with mostly accurate statements about reality (at least when he wasn’t making up reasons for escalating the Vietnam War).
But “Eve of Destruction” was such a pretentious and overwrought reaction to world events its sheer brazenness sent it to the top of the charts in September, 1965. For the same reason it captures these unruly days perfectly. In fact, if the track could be retrofitted with a robo-beat it could be re-released for the summer, just in time for the mass protests and rock festivals. A producer like Max Martin could make this a #1 hit again!