In the Year 2525
|"In the Year 2525"|
|Single by Zager and Evans|
|from the album 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)|
|Released||1968 (Truth label)|
April 1969 (RCA label)
|Recorded||1968, Odessa, Texas|
|Genre||Folk rock, psychedelic rock|
|Length||3:10 (Truth label)|
3:15 (RCA label)
|Producer(s)||Zager and Evans|
|Zager and Evans singles chronology|
Artwork for the German vinyl single
"In the Year 2525" is a 1968 hit song by the American pop-rock duo of Zager and Evans. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks commencing July 12, 1969. It peaked at number one in the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in August and September that year. The song was written and composed by Rick Evans in 1964 and originally released on a small regional record label (Truth Records) in 1968. It was later picked up by RCA. Zager and Evans disbanded in 1971.
Zager and Evans were a one-hit wonder; they never had another chart single. They did this in both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart and as of 2020[update], they are the only artists ever to have a chart-topping #1 hit on both sides of the Atlantic and never have another chart single in Billboard or in the UK for the rest of their career. Their follow-up single on RCA-Victor, "Mr. Turnkey", failed to enter the main music charts on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. Another single, "Listen to the People", managed to make the bottom slot of the Cashbox chart at number 100.
"In the Year 2525" opens with an introductory verse explaining that if mankind has survived to that point, they would witness the subsequent events in the song. The following verses pick up the story at 1,010-year intervals from 3535 to 6565. In each succeeding millennium, life becomes increasingly sedentary and automated: thoughts are pre-programmed into pills for people to consume, eyes, teeth, and limbs all lose their purposes due to machines replacing their functions, and marriage becomes obsolete since children are conceived in test tubes. Then the pattern as well as the music changes, going up a half step in the key of the song (chromatic modulation), after two stanzas, first from A-flat minor, to A minor.
For the final three millennia, now in B-flat minor, the tone of the song turns apocalyptic as the pattern of the lyrics break: the year 7510 marks the date by which the Second Coming will have happened, and the Last Judgment occurs one millennium later. By 9595, with the song now in B minor and the pattern returning, the Earth becomes completely depleted of resources, with the narrator uncertainly speculating that this results in the death of humankind.
The song ends after 10,000 years. By that time, humans have finally become extinct. But the narrator notes that somewhere 'so very far away', possibly in an alternative universe, the scenarios told in the song have still yet to play out, as the song repeats from the top (but in the same key, tone, and speed as the previous verse) and the recording fades out.
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 late 1960s. The song was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart during the Apollo 11 moon landing.
- Denny Zager & Rick Evans – acoustic guitars & vocals
- Mark Dalton – bass guitar
- Dave Trupp – drums
- The Odessa Symphony – additional instruments
- Tommy Allsup – producer
The record had regional success so RCA picked it up for a national release. Record producer Ethel Gabriel was tasked with enhancing the sound and arrangement. The track went to number 1 on the U.S. charts within three weeks of release.
The song has been covered at least 60 times in seven languages and was included in a Clear Channel memorandum, distributed by Clear Channel Communications to every radio station owned by the company, which contained 165 songs considered to be "lyrically questionable" following the September 11, 2001, attacks.
In a later Zager and Evans song, "Yeah 32" (1970), the narrator in one verse mentions writing a song and calling it "In the Year 2525 or something like that" and notes that "if it sells, then I'll do well and pay this woman back". "Yeah 32" was released as the B-side of "Help One Man Today", which like all of their post-"2525" releases failed to chart in the US or the UK.
The song is parodied as "In the Year 252525" in the seventh episode of Futurama's sixth season, "The Late Philip J. Fry", as Fry, Professor Farnsworth and Bender travel forwards through time to find a period in which the backwards time machine has been invented.
- 26th century
- Brave New World
- Human extinction
- Human impact on the environment
- List of one-hit wonders in the United States
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- Canadian peak RPM
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