Zager and Evans – In the Year 2525

This bleak futuristic tale is a very unusual song, but 1969 was a very unusual year, with hippie anthems like “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” going to #1 along with bubblegum songs like “Sugar, Sugar.” The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and The Temptations all had classic #1s, but “In the Year 2525” stayed at #1 for six weeks, which was longer than any other song that year and earned it the distinction of #1 record of the year 1969. The song reflected the apprehension of the times and also the wonder of technology: it started its run at the top of the US chart the week before the Apollo 11 moon landing.

This was the only hit for the Nebraska folk-rock duo of Denny Zager and Rick Evans. Their follow-up single, “Mister Turnkey,” failed to chart and in 1971, they released their third and final album. Evans was their primary songwriter and wrote this one.

Here is the timeline of why this science fiction-themed song was the #1 hit of 1969:

March 1969 – two futuristic sci-fi movies receive Oscars: Planet Of The Apes and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

July 11, 1969 – David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (the tale of Major Tom) is released in the UK. It doesn’t become a chart-topper until September.

Week ending July 12, 1969 – “In the Year 2525” hits #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

July 16, 1969 – Apollo 11 Moon Mission lifts off from Florida.

July 20, 1969 – Apollo 11 astronauts make history when they set foot on the moon. 

Time magazine speculated that this was “composed by a computer at the Rand Corporation.”

The song was subtitled “Exordium & Terminus,” which is a fancy way of saying “Beginning & End.” The song took itself quite seriously in its description of what will become of man as technology takes over.

After this hit the top spot in both the US and UK, it put Zager & Evans at the very bottom of the alphabetical list of artists with a chart-topping song. In the UK, they held down the bottom until 2015, when David Zowie hit #1 with “House Every Weekend.” In America, that spot was taken the next year by Zayn with “Pillowtalk.”This

Song Lyrics –

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 machines 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

In the year 2525, if man is still alive
If woman can survive, they may find

Writer/s: RICHARD LEE EVANS