It was the year 1969 when the song In The Year 2525 by the rock-pop duo Zager & Evans came out. The two musician from Nebraska met at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1962.
The song soon became a hit, reaching the top of the charts and becoming the anthem of a generation worried about the future ahead.
The lyrics were written by Evans first in 1964. The song was recorded primarly in 1968 by their own record label, Truth, on a regional level, with the collaboration of Mark Dalton, Dave Trupp and the Odessa Symphony.
The rest is history: it became the first one-hit wonder of any artist at any time in recording history selling over 20 million records worldwide, reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, remaining at n.1 for six weeks in 1969, and of the UK Singles Chart for three weeks the same year.
After the unexpected success, the band never reached the same results and decided to split up in 1971, remaining both in the music business and pursuing their passion for music individually.
Today, a week after the closing of COP21 in Paris, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where 195 countries set the path to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees celsius and to create a more sustainable environment to develop agriculture and fight hunger, as the world seems to finally worry about the earth’s future, this song comes to mind.
Not to ruin the positive and optimistic mood after the Paris agreements, which look like a historic milestone, but to remind all of us of the scary future that awaits unless we act now.
In the song, Zager & Evans show their apocalyptic view of the future in a series of hypotheses about the next millennia where humankind will experience losses both physical and emotional. One can almost feel the situation worsening through the lyrics.
Men and women lose their physicality and mentality as technology takes over, and the fact of being human and alive loses its meaning.
The song was at n.1 on July 20th when spaceflight Apollo 11 landed on the moon, marking the beginning of a new era for humankind represented by the sensational first step of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
The song represents a warning: if humanity will be so passive to the point of ignoring what mother earth needs, at the end of the 10,000 years time lap of the song, humans will not exist.
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 lie
Everything you think, do and say
Is in the pill you took today
In the year 4545
You ain’t gonna need your teeth, won’t need your eyes
You won’t find a thing to chew
Nobody’s gonna look at you
In the year 5555
Your arms hangin’ limp at your sides
Your legs got nothin’ to do
Some machine’s doin’ that for you
In the year 6565
You won’t need no husband, won’t need no wife
You’ll pick your son, pick your daughter too
From the bottom of a long glass tube
In the year 7510
If God’s a coming, He oughta make it by then
Maybe He’ll look around Himself and say
Guess it’s time for the judgment day
In the year 8510
God is gonna shake His mighty head
He’ll either say I’m pleased where man has been
Or tear it down, and start again
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
Now it’s been ten thousand 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