1969 – “In The Year 2525” reaches #1 on the US charts

Proving both that there really were serious amounts of drugs around in the Sixties, and that science fiction is harder to do right than it appears, the 1969 hit “In The Year 2525: Exordium and Terminus” by one hit wonders Zager and Evans is quite possibly the most nonsensical song to ever reach number one on the US charts.

Starting at 2525, each verse jumps another 1000 or so years into the future, and each set of projections is consistently more extreme and less well explained: although the one way in which it is good science fiction is that everything mentioned in the song is a reflection of the social concerns of 1969 rather than anything that likely to actually occur.

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Zager and Evans — Paul Solecki

9595 — Ecological catastrophe?

It turns out that Zager and Evans were more optimistics than Joss Whedon: he thought that Earth That Was would be used more than 7000 years earlier. Still, it’s the same destination: Earth completely used up and nothing left, an ecological crash from which there is no recovery.

Indeed, there may not even be any humans left to see it – presumably 9595 is the point where the last microbes can no longer make it, either.

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In the Year 2525 — Zager and Evans

“In The Year 2525” by Zager and Evans

In the year 7510
If God’s a-comin’ he ought to make it by then
Maybe he’ll look around himself and say
Guess it’s time for the Judgement day

In the year 8510 God is gonna shake his mighty head then He’ll either say I’m pleased where man has been Or tear it down and start again

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8510 – God has a decision to make

So it seems that there’s a deadline: God’s only going to give us 8510 years (plus however many there were BC, I guess), and then he’s going to pass judgement on the whole Human Race Project, and like as not toss the whole thing out and start over.

Or so Zager and Evans would have us believe. The fact that there’s a next verse to this song, taking us even further into the future, tends to belie the danger of God returning to square one here.

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In the Year 2525 — Zager and Evans

7510 — We stop waiting for God to show up

Zager and Evans rather depressingly assert that we’ll still be waiting for Judgement Day in 5000 years’ time. God, it seems, moves in ways that mysterious and ineffable, but above all, slow.

To be fair, Z&E also set this point as a deadline for God, and state that if he hasn’t made it be then, he might as well not bother, and we should stop waiting for him.

If they’re right, it would seem that there would never be a Rapture, which may or may not be good thing, depending on your beliefs.

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In the Year 2525 — Zager and Evans

6565 — Everyone’s a Test Tube Baby

Apparently, by the year 6565, genetic engineering will finally be caught up with by social change. Not only will it be possible to completely order up the genetic makeup you want in your… let’s call them offspring, shall we? – but there will apparently no longer be any stigma whatsoever attached to being a single parent.

Not only that, but it appears that people will actually not be as socially maladjusted as you might think from all of this – although we will not yet be immune to the sorrows to which humanity is heir.

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In the Year 2525 — Zager and Evans

5555 – We stop using our arms and legs

By the year 5555, two important questions will have been resolved for humanity:
1) the conflict between leisure and exercise will be decided in favour of leisure, as we substitute cute little mechanised karts (or possibly some form of un-armoured personnel carriers) for legs. Apparently, they will also feature Dr Octopus-like arms, too, as we will apparently not use any of our limbs.
2) natural evolution will finally lose its race with technologically-assisted evolution.

Of these, the first forecast seems less likely, unless teledildonics has also made incredible advances (not impossible in 2500 years, I guess…)

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In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus) – Zager and Evans

4545 — Widespread unemployment for dentists forecast

It’s unclear whether or not Zager and Evans believe that there will be starvation in the year 4545 – they say there will be nothing to chew, but that could also mean that we take all our nourishment in pill form.

More disturbingly – for anyone who isn’t a musician, at least – apparently there will be nothing to see, implying that the year 4545 will be marked by a year long eclipse and blackout. Alternately, it’s possible that Zager and Evans were members of the music video backlash before there was music video, or that the future they project is simply so incredibly boring that one wonders why they bothered…

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In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus) – Zager and Evans

3535 – Humanity embraces better living through neurochemistry

In the year 3535, it appears that humanity lives in a brave new world where psychiatric drugs are mandatory – not so much prozac nation as prozac planet. And these drugs, well, they make lying impossible, so either we’re all much more guarded or we’re all much more blunt.

Either way, it makes me think of the film Equilibrium, because you’d probably need that sort of police force to run such a state.

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In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus) – Zager and Evans

2525 – Something happens. Really.

Today’s entry in the Rock ‘n’ Roll History of the World could just as easily find a home in the Daft Lyrics Database.

You see, although Zager and Evans were quite happy to prophesy on at 1010 year intervals from 2525, they seem to have somehow forgotten to specify just what would actuallly happen in that year.

Either that, or what man and woman will find in the year 2525 is the year 3535, which seems to suggest that 2525 will be the year in which the human race develops time travel, thus making the doom-saying of the rest of the song trivially easy to sidestep.

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In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus) – Zager and Evans