Eve of Destruction



Barry McGuire

The eastern world it tis 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 fear that 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,
But 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 eight 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,
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

Writer/s: SLOAN, P. F.
Universal Music Publishing Group
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Barry McGuire
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Comments (30): View More Comments and Get the Songfacts
Whew, what a lot of comments above. First, let me say...I'll be 63 in October, 2012...and the times they are not a'changing. Next, I am a Vietnam Vet (1967 - 1971) and I loved this song when it came out and still do. There was a comment by someone above who mentioned that Country Joe's song, 'Fixin' to Die Rag' was more to the point...and I agree. I will also say if that person heard the whole album of the Fish there were much better choices for his/her argument. My personal choice would be John Kaye and Steppenwolf's album, 'Monster'. Kaye wrote the most straight forward 'protest music' of anyone out there! Not Dylan...not even my 'favorite' artist, Neil Young, could touch what's on that album.Don't take my word for it...go buy the darn thing and listen from the first song to the last without stopping. 'Draft Resister' is excellent! I've been there and done that. No, not resisting but finding the truth and turning in disgust away from the Big Business entities that got us there in the first place(can you spell Michelin/French Rubber?). I am now retired from years of traveling for a major news network (CNN maybe? lol) Kuwait, twice. Somalia, twice. Israel and Egypt, thrice. Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia (twice). Jakarta. Russia, twice. South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia. Over forty countries in all. Nothing has changed people! Where are the great thinkers of my generation now? 'Gone...Everyone...When will we ever learn?' that 'A hard rain's gonna fall?'.
- Tommy, Tupelo, MS
Don't know why so many people want to complain that this song was some kind of a fake--a pseudo-protest, if you will. For me, Barry McGuire's gravelly voice was perfect for rousing people off their couches & paying attention to the dreadful foreign & domestic policies the U.S. was pursuing during the mid-60's. Over-simplified & too commercial, perhaps, but it had to be, didn't it? if it were going to make a dent on the hit parade. That line about "old enough to kill, but enough for voting" still resonates, and it augured a major change in legislation.
- Matthew, Toronto, ON
Jeff (first comment, at the bottom) has it exactly backwards regarding the connection between the Mamas and the Papas and Barry McGuire: The Mamas and the Papas' first hit, "California Dreamin'" (which they wrote), was originally going to be recorded by Barry McGuire. And indeed, if you listen closely, McGuire's voice can be heard on part of "California Dreamin'". Both recorded for Dunhill Records.
- Danny, Bronx, NY
I am going to voice an opinion that counters what many others are saying. While I like this song as a piece of music, it is a poor excuse for a "protest song". When this song was released there were a number of very serious and very disturbing things happening in the United States and this song DOESN'T MENTION ANY OF THEM DIRECTLY. Rather than being an anthem against any specific action or policy of the U.S. government (and there was lots to choose from including the Vietnam War and/or the awful racism that still persisted in much of the U.S.), this song has nothing but generalities and platitudes. If you disagree, do a little experiment: Listen to Country Joe's "Fixin' To Die Rag" and this song. Joe McDonald makes no bones about it: The war in Vietnam sucks and he doesn't want to go and he doesn't want anybody else to go. "Eve of Destruction" is more a generalized riff about international gloom and doom with no specific details relating to any U.S. policy. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if Barry McGuire and/or P.F. Sloan were found to be working for the State Department when they came up with this bit of nothingness.
- Ken, Philadelphia, PA
'Eve of Destruction' reached #1 on 9-25-1965 and stayed there for one week, it knocked 'Help!' by The Beatles out of the top spot, it was #1 for the 3 previous weeks. I remember in an interview that Terry Melcher stated that "Eve" was 1st offered to The Byrds and they passed on it {Melcher was The Byrds' producer in 1965}
PS: 'Hang On Sloopy' by The McCoys replaced 'Eve' at #1...
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
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