A futuristic ballad about the danger of technological advancement and dehumanization spent 6 weeks at the top of the Billboard charts in 1969. Properly titled “In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)”, this was the first and only hit for folk-rock duo Denny Zager and Rick Evans:
1969 had been a banner year for science fiction themes, with the films PLANET OF THE APES and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY becoming box office hits a year earlier, popular novels from Kurt Vonnegut (SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE), Michael Crichton (THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN), and Ursula K. LeGuin (LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS) being published, and a young Brit named David Bowie releasing his LP “Space Oddity”. Of course, that was also the year Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, and the possibilities for space exploration seemed endless. But some doomsayers warned of the impending takeover by machines, where mankind would become a slave to its own inventions.
“In the Year 2525” was actually written in 1964 by Rick Evans. It became a regional hit in the Midwest for Evans and his musical partner Denny Zager, and RCA picked it up and released it nationwide five years later, scoring a huge success. Zager & Evans failed to capitalize on it, and have pretty much faded into obscurity. The song’s bleak outlook for the future of mankind seem somewhat prophetic in this age of people relying on their various devices, the proliferation of more and more technology isolating us all from each other, staring at our collective screens. Yesterday we all gorged on those Thanksgiving feasts, so maybe today would be a good time to step away from the laptops, go outside, stretch our legs, breathe in some fresh air, and talk to some real live humans… before the robots take over completely, and we all turn into nothing more than amorphous blobs of protoplasm!