- In the Year 2525
:"2525" redirects here. For the year 2525, see
26th century.""In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)" is a hit song from 1969 by the Lincoln, Nebraskaduo Zager and Evanswhich reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100for the six weeks commencing July 12. The song was written by Rick Evans in 1964 and originally released on a small local record label in 1967. Two years later, an Odessa, Texasradio station popularized the disc, which RCA Recordsquickly picked up for nationwide distribution.
"In the Year 2525 ( and )" opens with the words "In the year 2525, If man is still alive, If woman can survive, They may find...". Subsequent verses pick up the story at 1010-year intervals from 2525 to 6565. Disturbing predictions are given for each selected year. In the year 3535, for example, all of a person's actions, words and thoughts will be preprogrammed into a daily pill. Then the pattern as well as the music changes, going up a half step in the key of the song, after two stanzas, first from A Flat Minor, to A Minor, and, then, finally, to B Flat Minor, and verses for the years 7510, 8510 and 9595 follow.
The song has no chorus. Amid ominous-sounding orchestral music, the final dated chronological verse is, "In the year 9595, I'm kinda wonderin' if Man is gonna be alive. He's taken everything this old Earth can give, and he ain't put back nothing, whoa-whoa...", making specific the underlying environmental message of the song. The summary verse concludes: "Now it's been 10,000 years, Man has cried a billion tears, For what, he never knew. Now man's reign is through. But through eternal night, The twinkling of starlight. So very far away, Maybe it's only yesterday."), before the song effectively "starts over" with the first verse again and then fades out, leaving open the possibility that "we went through this before," and life is now at the start of another cycle.
The overriding theme, of a world doomed by its passive acquiescence to and overdependence on its own overdone technologies, struck a resonant chord in millions of people around the world in the 1960s.
The song describes a nightmarish vision of the future as man's technological inventions gradually dehumanize him. It includes a colloquial reference to the
Second Coming("In the year 7510, if God's a' coming, He ought to make it by then."), which echoed the zeitgeistof the Jesus Movement. The song also references examples of technologies that were not fully developed but were known to the public in 1969, such as robots, as well as future technology that would come into existence long after being prophesied in the song, the science of test tube babies and genetic selection by parents of their future children. Such a concept had been explored in a few science fiction novels but had not yet been mentioned in the mainstream media until "In The Year 2525" was released in 1969.
It is not typical for a recording artist to have a number one hit single and then never have another chart single for the rest of their career. "In the Year 2525" gave Zager and Evans this dubious status "twice". They were, and remain, the only act to do this in both the U.S. and UK singles charts. Their followup single on RCA-Victor, "
Mr. Turnkey" (a song about a rapist who nails his own wrist to the wall as punishment for his crime), failed to chart.
The song has been covered many times. One notable version is by the UK
new romanticgroup Visage; another version was used as the theme song for the short-lived science fiction series " Cleopatra 2525". It is also featured in both parts of the two-part second season finale of "Millennium" where a man-made virus is threatening to wipe out humanity. [http://www.fourthhorseman.com/Abyss/Episodes/epi222.htm] The Slovenian industrial group Laibach edited the lyrics in their cover version to make it appropriate for 1994's "NATO" album. There was also a dance cover of this song by The Act featuring Clinton IIIin 1993. More recently, it was covered by the gothic rockband Fields of the Nephilim, and by the electronic body musicband Project Pitchfork(album "Dhyani", 1991).
In the 1992 movie "
Alien³", a prisoner is heard singing a line or two of the song while scraping the inside of a ventilator shaft, shortly before he is attacked by a juvenile Xenomorph and subsequently diced by a large ventilation fan. The movie takes place a few hundred years after the 20th century.
Oddly, the song appeared on the
list of songs deemed inappropriate by Clear Channel following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Although it would seem the only connection to the terrorist attacks is the song's apocalyptic tone, one could say that the unnecessarily widespread dissemination of a dangerous technology—jet aircraft flight knowledge—led to the attacks, playing into the song's anti-technology theme. The song still receives regular airplay on many radio stations. It is often featured as bumper musicon " Coast to Coast AM" with Art Bell. "In The Year 2525" was one of the 10 biggest singles of the 1960s in the United States, although it didn't neatly fit into any of the main categories of rock music. Upon release by RCAin 1969, it quickly became a multi-million-seller.
According to Jimmy Guterman and Owen O'Donnell, authors of "The Worst Rock and Roll Records of All Time" (1991), who place the song at number six on their list of the 50 worst rock-and-roll singles, "science fiction and rock and roll don't mix any better than
Zsa Zsa Gaborand reality". Others differ, calling the one-hit wonder "prophetic" [http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewArticle.asp?id=24140] .
*The song was at the top of the Billboard magazine
Hot 100charts when Neil Armstrongfirst walked on the moon.
Dalidarecorded this song with slightly different lyrics in French ("L'an 2005")in 1969.
Caterina Casellirecorded this song in Italian ("Nel 2023") in 1969.
*The song was referenced in "
The Simpsons", when Lisa is seen reading a psychic magazine with a cover headline "The year 2525: Were Zager & Evans right?"
*It was also referenced in the first Sci-Fi channel "
MST3K" episode, " Revenge of the Creature", when Professor Bobo reveals it's the year 2525 and the bots ask in turn if "Man was still alive", if "Woman survived" and if "you could pick your son, pick your daughter too, from the bottom of a long glass tube?"
*In 2007 Internet service provider
Embarqused a variation of this song in a commercial.
*On the 25th anniversary episode of the TV show "
Saturday Night Live", actor/comedian Bill Murraysang a version of this song, replacing its original lyrics to correspond with the fate of the show "in the year 2525". [http://snltranscripts.jt.org/99/25nick.phtml]
*The song is referenced in the White Stripes song, "You're Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)" - "this feeling is still going to linger on / until the year 2525 now"
*The song is written about in Tom Reynolds' book "I Hate Myself And Want to Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You've Ever Heard" in the Chapter “I’m Trying To Be Profound and Touching, But Really Suck At It”.
*According to some calculations, the
Age of Aquariuswill start in or around the year 2525. It is unclear if this had any influence on the choice of year.
*The song's opening line is sung by Martians in "Martians Go Home", a 1990
comedy filmstarring Randy Quaid, as he is trying to ignore them so that they will go back to Mars.
*In Dave Barry's novel "Tricky Business" (2002), it is used as a "revenge tune": a band plays this song to punish its audience for requesting songs they are bored of playing.
*The song was referenced in "
The Drew Carey Show", when Winfred-Louder is celebrating the store's centennial. Mr. Wick announces Mimi's arrival as 'Future Woman' (Wearing a plastic bubble and silver dress) with the first two lines of the song.
*The song is referenced in the TV series "
Cleopatra 2525" and covered as a theme for the show.
*Similarities can be found between this song and
Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel, " Brave New World".
*Reynolds, Tom, p 85. ISBN 1-74166-020-3
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