Eve Of Destruction

Album: Eve Of Destruction (1965)
Charted: 3 1
Play Video
  • The eastern world, it is 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 fears 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,
    And 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 four 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,
    You don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

    No, no, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction. Writer/s: P. F. Sloan, Steve Barri
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 36

  • Josie Porraz from CaliforniaI first heard Eve of Destruction in 1965. It was the same time as the Vietnam War. It didn't hit home like it does today. It's over 50 years old, but it's still very prevalent. I can't stop listening or playing it. Nothing has changed today.
  • John Ripley from U.k.I am 86 I have had a good life, if someone had told me when I left school 71 years ago I would be so lucky I would not have believed them.
    But this song hits the nail on the head we just don't deserve what we've got sadly there is no way back.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer: http://www.oldiesmusic.com/news.htm
    Songwriter P.F. Sloan (born Philip Gary Schlein) died Sunday (November 15th, 2015), shortly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was 70...
    A meeting with Elvis Presley in Hollywood at the age of 13 caused him to become a musician, but after initially trying his hand at recording, he found success as a composer, usually with Steve Barri...
    His hits included "Eve Of Destruction" (#1 in 1965 for Barry McGuire), "A Must To Avoid" (#8 in 1966 by Herman's Hermits), the Turtles' "You Baby (#20 in 1966) and "Secret Agent Man" (a #3 hit for Johnny Rivers in 1966)...
    His autobiography, "What's Exactly The Matter With Me," was published last year...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 20th 1965, Barry McGuire performed "Eve of Destruction"* on the NBC-TV program 'Hullabaloo'...
    At the time the song was at #1 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had peaked at the top spot {for 1 week} just the day before on September 19th and it stayed on the chart for 11 weeks...
    He had two other Top 100 records; "Child of Our Times" {#72 in 1965} and "Cloudy Summer Afternoon (Raindrops)" {#62 in 1966}...
    * Five years later in 1970 the Turtles' 17th & last Top 100 record was a covered version of "Eve"; its two weeks on the chart were spent at position #100.
  • Lee from Stockton, CaIn the movie documentary, "The Wrecking Crew", the record gets a different meaning by Barry McGuire of what this song was about. Also a different explanation of how it got played first on the radio.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 31st 1965 Barry McGuire performed his only other Top 100 record, "Child of Our Times", on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    And on that very same day the record entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #82, it remained on the chart for four weeks, peaking at #72...
    The week before "Eve of Destruction" was at #34, and that was its 11th and final week on the Top 100...
    Barry McGuire celebrated his 79th birthday sixteen days ago on October 15th {2014}.
  • Tommy from Tupelo, MsWhew, 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?'.
  • Matthew from Toronto, OnDon'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.
  • Danny from Bronx, NyJeff (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.
  • Ken from Philadelphia, PaI 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.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny'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 from Sauquoit, NyThe "Eve of Destruction" answer song : 'Dawn of Correction' by The Spokesmen, it entered the Top 100 on Sept. 18th, 1965 and peaked at No. 36...
  • Bill from Originally Toledo, OhWalking a perimeter in SEA in 1971 we air force SP's would watch the LERPS coming back from their patrols at dawn and crossing the wire....one of my troops put this on a cassette and played it as they came past us - they loved it.I'll always think of this as my generation's ballad. MSGT Bill
  • John from Cincinnati, Oh(Dawn of) Correction: The song had to be written in 1965, not 1964, and after June, because it refers to events that took place in 1965 including the march in Selma (3/65) and "four days in space" (6/65).
  • Alan from Syracuse, NyHal Blaine did not play on everyone's records. Just the ones that were hits.
  • Alan from Syracuse, NyI remember when this song was temporarily banned from the playlist of WNDR in Syracuse,NY. It was over the lyric line "you can hate your neighbor, but don't forget to say grace." After awhile, perhaps a couple weeks, it was returned to airplay.
  • Fred from Laurel, MdThis song is kind of ironic in the light of intervening history, because, while the Cold War has ended, the nuclear threat has not. And of course, the Eastern World is still "explodin'", but for any of you who may be new to history, Benjamin Franklin wrote about this, for crying out loud--the Eastern World has always been a powder keg, and probably always will be. So you could argue that the song is still relevant after forty years. But then, if we were on the "eve of destruction" 40+ years ago, and we're still here, just how long is that evening, anyway? Could it be that our greatest, most immediate fears are often unfounded, or greatly exaggerated? Of course, there's still plenty of trouble in the world, but the song isn't quite so mundane as to be about that--it's telling us that the end is imminent! Right around the corner! Many may tell you that it's even more true today!! Please remind them that people have been claiming as much not for years, not for decades, not for centuries, but for MILL-ENN-I-A!! And tell them to get back to you in another 40 years. But this is still a great song!
  • Fred from Laurel, MdThis is maybe the first of what came to be called "socially relevant" songs to make it big on the US charts. It's very similar in spirit to Dylan's, "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall," written out of the fear surrounding the Cuban missile crisis of Oct. '62. It has had a fair number of covers, esp. in the first few years of its existence, often with Selma, AL replaced with the latest racial hot spot of the time. I heard an early cover by a west-coast band, I think it was either Every Mother's Son (1-hit: "Come On Down to My Boat, Baby"), or maybe Jan & Dean, on their album, Folk 'n' Roll. In this version, Selma became Watts, Calif. (The Watts riots of '65 inspired Frank Zappa's "Trouble Every Day" on the Freak Out album--great song--check it out if you dig Eve Of Destruction!)

  • Bob from Roseville, CoJeff,
    The Mamma's & The Papa's hand't arrived in L.A. yet,while McGurie was getting higher.
  • Farrah from Elon, NcI think this song is wonderful. Barry McGuire really captured the feeling of what was going on at the time. Even though I wasn't around when the song was recorded, I can say that this is a true classic.
  • Kev O'carroll from Helensburgh, ScotlandThe Pretty Things recorded a stompin' version of this.
  • Michael from Carbondale, IlThis song is so raw and powerfull. It still stirs people. His voice and the lyrics are unmatched for thier intesity and emotion. All of that over 4 little chords and a harmonica riff.
  • Stephan from Pw, Nyim 16 and i hink that this is a great song, it just has to do with the type of music you listen to i happen to like this type of music
  • Bryony from Near Brighton, England"This record probably sounds kind of dorky to young people when they hear it now"
    I was 16 when I first heard this song and I'm 18 now. There's no way that this song could be considered "dorky" by any right-thinking person, especially when the peace it promotes is still missing in our society. It's a shame that 43 years on, it's still relevant.
  • Bryanthemadposter from Washington, MiYears later Michael Roe would "borrow" the guitar introduction of this song for his song "The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes, and the Pride of Life" that he recorded with the 77's. On his live album, "It's For You", Roe mentions this and plays the first verse of "Eve of Destruction" before going into "The Lust . . ."
  • Dirk from Nashville, TnThis record probably sounds kind of dorky to young people when they hear it now. But my god, was it explosive to hear it on the radio in the 1960s. It was absolutely a hand grenade among most of the other AM-radio drivel of the time. People would get quiet and turn up the volume and actually listen to the words. It was totally shocking to hear some man screaming a social criticism of an American community (Selma, Alabama) on commercial radio. It just wasn't done.
  • Greg from Victoria, CanadaGood song for sure. Given the cold war atmosphere and the escalating war in Veit Nam it had some punch.
  • George from Richmond, VaOne of my favorite "war protest songs" three years later I was in Nam. Go figure.
  • Jeff from Staten Island, NyThere is a cool cover by punk band, The Dickies
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnOne of the quintessential protest songs of the 60s. If the song was recorded in Minnesota, the line Selma, Alabama would be changed to Red Lake, Minnesota, where there was a major school shooting.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, Scthis song is a great one you don't hear that much, and considering the issues of the day, it was and still is very relevant.
  • Julian from Oakland, Arthe raspy voice gives the song an eerie feeling and it makes it truly great.
  • Scott from Nyc, NyI think the raspy voice makes the song sound more believble. It seems like the singer is really angry at the world.
    Thanks
    -Scott
  • Ken from Leicester, NcHal Blaine on the drums!!! He played on everyone's record...
  • Steve from Willmar, MnAbout a year later a band came out(don't remember their name)with a song called"Dawn of Constuction" Also Barry Mcguire was on a PBS program,and deleted the part about Selma Alabama,and put in Columbine
  • Jeff from Oscoda, MiOriginally recorded by the Mama's & the Papa's. McGuire's vocal was dumped over the original vocals. If you listen carefully you can still hear them in the background.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Director Nick Morris ("The Final Countdown")

Director Nick Morris ("The Final Countdown")Song Writing

Nick made some of the biggest videos on MTV, including "The Final Countdown," "Heaven" and "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)."

Amy Grant

Amy GrantSongwriter Interviews

The top Contemporary Christian artist of all time on song inspirations and what she learned from Johnny Carson.

Loudon Wainwright III

Loudon Wainwright IIISongwriter Interviews

"Dead Skunk" became a stinker for Loudon when he felt pressure to make another hit - his latest songs deal with mortality, his son Rufus, and picking up poop.

Ian Astbury of The Cult

Ian Astbury of The CultSongwriter Interviews

The Cult frontman tells who the "Fire Woman" is, and talks about performing with the new version of The Doors.

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.

Crystal Waters

Crystal WatersSongwriter Interviews

Waters tells the "Gypsy Woman" story, shares some of her songwriting insights, and explains how Dennis Rodman ended up on one of her songs.