In the Year 2525

Album: In the Year 2525 (1969)
Charted: 1 1
  • 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 followup 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    James - Murdock, FL
  • 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 it's 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."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 62

  • Seventhmist from 7th Heaven“In the year twenty-eighteen, Rick Evans died, never again to be seen…”
  • Richard from Somerset PaIn The Year 2525 was our graduating class song in 1971. Great lyrics, forceful beat inspirational in nature. Back then there was no internet to listen to songs. Maybe the future is getting better... let's hope so-
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyFifty years ago today on July 18th, 1969, "In The Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)" by Zager and Evans was the #1 record on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, it's was in it's first of five weeks in the top spot...
    The rest of the Top 10 was:
    #2. "Spinning Wheel" by Blood, Sweat and Tears
    #3. "Good Morning Sunshine" by Oliver
    #4. "Crystal Blue Persuasion"* by Tommy James and the Shondells
    #5. "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)" by Jr. Walker and the All Stars
    #6. "One" by Three Dog Night
    #7. "Color Him Father" by The Winstons
    #8. "The Ballad of John and Yoko" The Beatles
    #9. "My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder
    #10. "Love Theme from 'Romeo and Juliet'" by Henry Mancini and His Orchestra
    * And from the 'For What It's Worth' department; the last three weeks that "In The Year 2525" was at #1, the #2 record for those three weeks was "Crystal Blue Persuasion", and that would be it's peak position on the Top 100, following it's three weeks at #2, it spent two weeks at #3...
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaRocco(NY); it's not about philosophical lyrics -- it's about a catchy beat & humorous scifi look at our future. . .
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaI loved this song in my early teens. I called a radio station to ask them to play, "2525 by Sacred Heavens"; when they finally figured out what the hell I meant, the DJs laughed, while correcting me on the title, then played it in the next set. . . Of course, I was taping it!

    This is eschatology done right!
  • Mark from Lunenburg, Ma.I was 15 (about the most impressionable age I can think of), close to leaving the cocoon of small town and family and entering that scary, effed up world that was 1969. And the late 60's WERE a scary time. Assassinations, riots, protests, the generational chasm and the spectre of Vietnam hanging like a dark cloud over it all. Without even trying to understand the lyrics, Zager & Evans haunting sound coming out of the radio that summer had a sense of foreboding that was almost frightening. I can remember that feeling today. Any song that can do that is landmark.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxI guess Bob in Oceanside was ignorant of the fact that the spoken word passage at the end of 'Nights in White Satin' was meant as a bookend to the spoken word passage that open the 'Days of Future Passed' album. Pay more attention, kiddo.
  • Reg from Colorado Springs , Co

    Is the year 6565 here now..and are we way ahead of this song?

    I was listening to the Song 2525..and it hit me ..we now have designer Babies taken from a strong Egg & a strong Sperm …..mating in a test tube or dish.

    As in the Days of Noah--Genetic Engineering was King

    Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days. And also after that, when the Fallen Angels came in to the daughters of men,(and implanted Invitro-Fertilized Eggs) and they bore to them (Nephilim), they were mighty men who existed of old, men of renown.
    :5 And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    Mat 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall be the coming of the Son of Man.

    The song written by Rick Evans in 1964 or 62..is quite Prophetic in at least this area

    In the year 6565, ain't gonna 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 is coming, should have made it by then
    Maybe he will look around himself and say
    Guess it's time for judgement day
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxI was only 7 when I first heard it and the “9595” line caught my attention and scared me. I thought they were talking about 1995. Pay more attention, kiddo.
  • Rocco from New York City, NyMy previous comment can also apply to "Dust in the Wind". *SNORE*
  • Rocco from New York City, NyAs deep and profound as a puddle of spit. It's as though two stoned college students read their first text on existentialism. *YAWN*
  • Adrian from Johor Bahru, Malaysia2525-1969= 556 years
  • Tim from Springfield, MaToldi makes more sense than anyone else, a real enlightened interpretation
  • R. H. from Pauls Valley, OkKyle from MO: It's true that Earth will be here LONG after humans but I think humans will still be here in 500 years. And John from MD: Funny you should mention "Too much to Dream". I actually still have that 45. Sure gives away my age doesn't it? LOL
  • John from Beltsville, MdThis song is corny yet VERY spooky. Like "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" by "The Electric Prunes".
  • Kyle from Columbia, MoHey Reed,

    Not to be a pessimist, but a realist here....the Earth WILL be around in 2525....the Earth will be just fine...HUMANS on the other hand...we're the ones who are screwed. Just keeping things in perspective.
  • Pam from Andrews, TxI lived across the street in Andrews, TX from a cello player whose name was Mickey who was a member of the orchestra for this song. She played the piano at my high school for the choir. Her musical talent was superb. I didn't realize this song was recorded in Odessa. I loved the song, even before I knew Mickey took part in it.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyZager & Evans weren't the only act to have their only charted song hit No. 1; in 1958 The Elegants with 'Little Star' and The Silhouettes with "Get A Job" reached No. 1 but either act never had another charted record!!!
  • Reed from New Ulm, MnPaul---hate to be a pessimist, but i rather doubt this old earth will make it to 2525, sorry.
    i could be wrong, but i don't think so.
  • Lester from New York City, Ny'2525' was the #13 Billboard hit of 1969.
  • Rick from Odessa, TxThis song "In the Year 2525" was recorded in Odessa, Texas in 1969 on East County Road & 56th street @ Tommy Allsup recordings. I talk to Tommy tonight after a Bob Wills concert here in Odessa. And he verified my queston about this song. And by the way it is very good song.
    BUT in 1969 it was a GREAT SONG.
  • R.h. from Pauls Valley, OkDo your homework, Cyberpope! "Eve of Destruction" was written by P. F. Sloan and performed by Barry McGuire.
  • Wayne from Erie, Pa2525 may have been their only hit, but I did hear one other Zager and Evans tune on AM radio back in very early 1971. Another futuristic ditty call "Hydra 15000". It was a pretty weak song, but I assume it must have charted. Their one big hit left them severely typecast. Like Nimoy.
  • Paul from Cleveland, OhTo me...this song comes to mind about modern times. 2525 already seems to be here since machines are taking over our lives.
  • Mark from Syracuse, NyEverybody knows that the #1 Billboard hit of 1969 was "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies.
  • Adam from Boyce, VaGreat song. I agree to the alikening it to the Moody Blues. To me it kinda has that sound in it that you hear in the old spaghetti westerns..
  • Charles from Charlotte, NcThis is the only (U.S.) #1 sci-fi song. The band had a followup single but it failed to make the TOP FORTY.
  • Crystal from Lawrence, KsHey Toldi, are you drunk?
  • Toldi from Sydney, AustraliaWhats all this werbal masturbation, puttin"sh*t on this song..? It was recorded in the days when all Elvis could do was gettin' even fatter,Russia was pumping itself & China against civilisation after already suxesfully ruinig the east half of Europ, it was released two years before the Honda cb750, one year before in Prague (and only 11 years after in Budapest)the russian army proved again that theres no more efficient political tool than massmurder... What doo you wanna sing about in that time..? "why why Dylaila"
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaAn early rendition of pop angst with the seeming handbasket ride to hell the world was in. . .

    This & Orbison's "Eve of Destruction" summed up my feelings of despair throughout the 70's. . .

    I was a sci-fi nut, too, so this song spoke to me from two angles!
  • Dave from Des Moines, IaI love this song but it evokes the same haunting feelingds as Go Now and Nights in White Satin, both by the Moody Blues (See my comments under Go Now!) Something about all three of them is eerie, but I can't get enough. I don't know why anyone would rip any of them, all were brilliant pieces. And the bit about ten thousand years starlight far away is a reference to the fact that light from stars is seen billions of years later, and that time is relative.
  • John from San Antonio, TxTo Bob, Oceanside, CA,

    First of all, what do you mean by "set mode?" Both this song, and the music by the Moody Blues were wonderful. Were you living and/or aware at the time this music was made?
  • Cody from Tooele, UtDear Drew this part in the song "But through eternal night, The twinkling of starlight, So very far away, Maybe it's only yesterday" is like well i dont know how to put it it could go two ways A: hes talking about some other life form that has lived this or B: that maybe it has already happend maybe just mabye(he says as he stares off into space to look for future happenings)
  • Bob from Oceanside, CaMike, I agree: the song is incredibly creepy. I postulate it was a hit because of people saying to their friends "You won't BELIEVE the freaky song I just heard. Let's call the radio station and see if we can get them to play it again."

    And I think Drew's right also: it's very SET MODE = PRETENTIOUS there at the end, right up there with the spoken bit at the end of Nights in White Satin.
  • Jeannie from Kenosha, WiMy ex-husband claims to be the bass player on this record. I believe him because he's originally from Iowa which is not far from Nebraska, PLUS he has all sorts of old clippings regarding Zager and Evans and old photos of them.
  • Jvc from S.o.t. Border , Mexico

    You're right about that, AXL! :-) Agreed.
  • Jvc from S.o.t. Border , MexicoDefinitely a 'one hit wonder' and I greatly enjoy and appreciate this song; 'made an impact in me even back in my teens.

    21st Century technology is growing even more exponentially. Lord, have mercy upon us.

    According to Wikipedia: "In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)" is the title of a hit song from 1969 by the Lincoln, Nebraska duo Zager and Evans, which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks, commencing July 12. The song was written by Rick Evans in 1964 and originally released on a small local record label in 1967. Two years later, an Odessa, Texas radio station popularized the disc, which RCA Records quickly picked up for nationwide distribution.
  • Axl from Skegness, Englandi can't believe these negative coments about this song, this song is great
  • Zoseph from Jefferson City-darwin's Waterl, MoJust joined. I read over all the comments and am stunned. Is this some sort of random art form?
    I'll add that I was 8 when the song came out, so I wasn't listening with an educated ear, but it's still a very powerful song. Great record. I'm sad to see that it's still trendy to spit all over any song that is different, extreme, carries a message, etc. I hope the rest of this site has better comments.
  • Michael from Adelaide, AustraliaI first listened to this song on a compilation album about protest songs from 1964 - 1972 Released in Australia about a decade ago.
    The ending is very "Spanish Harlem" almost falsetto... but I just can't banish the song from my head! Doh! Even more freaky... It looks as though it will all come true!

    Suprised no one has compared it to, "We didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel...
  • Clarke from Pittsburgh, PaA one-hit wonder with an asterisk. The follow up, "Mr. Turnkey," was actually played on KQV, the Top 40 station in Pittsburgh at the time - and went absolutely nowhere, leading some to refer to the song as "Mr. Turkey".
  • Drew from Mount Laurel, NjI was 12 years old when this came out, and thought it was overblown even then. The worst part is the dramatic ending speech - "But through eternal night, The twinkling of starlight, So very far away, Maybe it's only yesterday" - what the hell is that supposed to mean?
  • Mike from Germantown, MdThis song is creepy...
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoSo bad it's good. Distopia for teenyboppers. Think it was on the radio when I first started listening to top 40 radio (WABC). Interesting that I don't hear it on the oldies stations very much despite being such a big hit.
  • Steve from Fenton, MoThis is a great song. Sorry, the Macarena is a dance, and not a very good one at that.
  • Michael from Andover, MnSorry... but the biggest one-hit wonder of all time has to be "The Macarena" by Los Del Rio!
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnZager and Evans' futuristic look became the quintessential one-hit wonder. Six weeks at the top and they couldn't survive another hit. Great lyrics.
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiai thought this song was written in 1066 just prior to the Battle of Hastings and released in 1938
  • Leonidas from Culver City, CaKeith... I believe you're referring to 1984. Neither that book or this song are really about the future. They both just set the timeframe in the future to give us a little distance from the pain that saying, "This is what the world is like."
  • Andres from Bahia Blanca, ArgentinaThere was another hit by the duo, but as always happens, people think charts end at #100 position. Since 1959 there has been a Bubbling Under The Hot 100 in Billboard, and "Mr Turnkey" hit #106 in october 1969. It spent 3 weeks in that chart. In those days, the chart ended on position #135.
  • David from Chattanooga, TnThe song was written in 1964, recorded in 1968.
  • Wayne from Beverly Hills, CaI'd consider this single to be the most famous One-Hit-Wonder in U.S. recording history. It spent 6 weeks at the #1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart in the summer of '69 - the year's biggest hit. After this spectacular chart debut, Zager and Evans never had another single make the Hot 100.
  • Ace from Kansas City, MoI bet Billboard is really proud of making this their number one song of the year. Doesn't say much for the radio programmers who kept playing this piece of swill either. This is the alleged song that kept CCR's Green River out of the number one spot that summer. I demand a recount. Oops, sorry. Didn't mean to sound like a Democrat.
  • Monty from Omaha, NeThis is the only #1 song from a group from Nebraska... and as a Nebraskan I wish these guys were from Ohio. Other Nebraskans of note, 311 and Manheimsteamroller, Brighteyes and Cursive... so there you go... at least Billy Ray Cirus wasn't from here
  • Wanda from San Antonio, TxKeith,
    Listent to the song again. It doesn't have anything to do with 1985...it starts with 2525.
  • Scott Baldwin from Edmonton, CanadaYes it is bad but "achy breaky heart" is even worse.
  • Keith from Slc, UtWhen I hear it, I am reminded of all the silly predictions made in the late '60s and early '70s about the environment. 1985 has come and gone, and we don't all have to wear gas masks to breathe . . .the only good thing about this song the the memory that this was the song they played the only time I ever danced with Lorie Leggio! So much for the 8th grade . . .
  • John from Elon, NcArguably one of the worst songs to ever hit #1 on the charts; running neck and neck with "MacArthur Park"!
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThis song was covered by the critically acclaimed UK techno-rock act Visage in the early 1980s
  • Blake from Chico, Cathe future seems bleak eh?
  • Janetlee from Panama City, FlI've thought for a long time now how ironic it is that in the lyrics where they say that "in 6565, you won't need a husband or a wife, because you'll pick your son and daughter from a long black tube", that this is ALREADY true in a sense. The first test tube baby was born in 1978.
  • Charles from Charlotte, NcThis song was originally recorded in 1962, not released until 1969.
see more comments

Francesca BattistelliSongwriter Interviews

The 2011 Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards isn't your typical gospel diva, and she thinks that's a good thing.

How The Beatles Crafted Killer ChorusesSong Writing

The author of Help! 100 Songwriting, Recording And Career Tips Used By The Beatles, explains how the group crafted their choruses so effectively.

Gary Louris of The JayhawksSongwriter Interviews

The Jayhawks' song "Big Star" has special meaning to Gary, who explains how longevity and inspiration have trumped adulation.

Amanda PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Call us crazy, but we like it when an artist comes around who doesn't mesh with the status quo.

QueenFact or Fiction

Scaramouch, a hoople and a superhero soundtrack - see if you can spot the real Queen stories.

Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go'sSongwriter Interviews

Charlotte was established in the LA punk scene when a freaky girl named Belinda approached her wearing a garbage bag.