By Piper Blake
Web Content Contributor
The song “In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans was released in 1968. I recently came across this song and it got me thinking about how they came up with these ideas of the future. In the song there are references to apocalyptic scenarios that could possibly occur in our future depending on the path we take as humans on earth. “‘In the Year 2525” stayed at No. 1 for six weeks, according to SongFacts, which was longer than any other song that year and earned it the distinction of No. 1 record of the year 1969. This was even during the time that the Beatles and Elvis were making it big. This song was the only hit that Zager and Evans had. However, it is true that space exploration and dystopian worlds were highly popularized in 1969: “Planet of the Apes” was a highly recognized sci-fi movie that year, and the Apollo 11 touched down on the moon on June 20, 1969. I couldn’t find a definitive answer on how they came up with the ideas in the lyrics, so I want to analyze the lyrics to see how these dystopian ideas could have come about.
“In the year 2525
If man is still alive
If woman can survive”
World preservation has been a topic discussed throughout generations. Today, preservation is more necessary than ever due to excessive waste in our oceans, which is destroying ecosystems and causing global warming to occur more rapidly. There have been multiple predictions of when the world could possibly end. In the year 2000 all technology was supposed to crash, and in 2012 the world was supposed to be destroyed, but instead we only got a movie about the predicted 2012 catastrophe. The idea of the possible extinction of human life is not new, so I’m not shocked that this is incorporated into the song about the future.
“In the year 3535
Ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies
Everything you think, do, and say
Is in the pill you took today”
“A Brave New World,” Aldous Huxley’s book published in 1932, references pills that alter emotions. The pills he writes about allow the people of society to feel ecstasy when they are consumed. This caused those who did not take the pills to be depressed in a society that was ultimately fake. The song could be loosely referencing this dystopian book that already preconceived the idea of pills humans may have to rely on later.
“In the year 5555
Your arms are hanging limp at your sides
Your legs got nothing to do
Some machine is doing that for you”
This set of lyrics reminded me of “WALL-E,” which was released in 2009. It shows how earth has turned into a garbage dump and all humans have been sent to space. People rely so much on technology that they have been confined to chairs and can’t even walk for themselves. The idea of technology taking over our lives has been predicted since it entered our lives. The fear we have of technology is far less than our appreciation for it, so this is a possible outcome of the future.
“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’ whoooa”
The first “test tube” baby was born in 1978. That is a 10-year difference from when this song was released. It’s amazing to me that the song writer predicted this to be so far into the future, even though it was just around the corner. Test tube babies are possible because of the rapid growth in medicine happening each year. New things are always being discovered.
“In the year 9595
I’m kinda wondering if man is gonna be alive
He’s taken everything this old earth can give
And he ain’t put back nothing”
As I mentioned earlier, at the moment global warming and the waste crisis are the most pressing matters for world preservation. We like to take our resources provided by the earth for granted. Humans do the minimum when it comes to helping the earth by replacing what we have taken. Even in the late ’60s, it could be predicted that we could cause ourselves to become extinct.
The ideas brought up in this song aren’t necessarily new; however, they did make the people of that era question the path they were on. That is probably why it stayed No. 1 for so long. In society, we appreciate things that make us think about our mistakes, but that appreciation doesn’t last long when other things come along and draw our attention away from what is important.