|"In the Year 2525"|
German single cover
|Single by Zager and Evans|
|from the album 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)|
|Released||1968 (on Truth label)|
|Recorded||1968, Odessa, Texas|
3:10 (Truth label)3:15 (RCA label)
|Zager and Evans|
|Zager and Evans singles chronology|
"In the Year 2525" is a 1969 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. Zager and Evans disbanded in 1971.
Zager and Evans were a one-hit wonder, recording artists who had a number one hit and then never had another chart single. They did this in both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart, which is rare. As of 2018, they remain the only artist 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 ever again. Their follow-up single on RCA-Victor, "Mr. Turnkey", failed to hit 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 humanity has survived to that point, it would witness the subsequent events in the song. Subsequent verses pick up the story at 1010-year intervals from 3535 to 6565. In each succeeding millennium, life becomes increasingly sedentary and automated: machines take over all work, marriage is obsolete since children are conceived in test tubes, and thoughts are pre-programmed into pills for people to consume. 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: 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, humanity has likely been wiped out as punishment for depleting the world and not putting anything back into it in return.
The song ends in the year 10000, with Earth plunged into "eternal night" and man's reign finished, noting that in another solar system far away, the same scenario may be playing out, as the first verse repeats 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 has been covered at least 60 times in seven languages. A notable version of "In the Year 2525" is sung by the Italo-French pop singer, Dalida; another one by the UK new romantic group Visage; another one by Greek singer Takis Antoniadis in the 1970s. Another version, with different lyrics, was used as the theme song for the short-lived science fiction series Cleopatra 2525. The song was also covered by the British metal band Fields of the Nephilim.
It also features in the closing credits in the Scottish film from 1996 Small Faces.
The song was included in the controversial 2001 Clear Channel memorandum, a document distributed by Clear Channel Communications to every radio station owned by the company. The list consisted of 165 songs considered by Clear Channel to be "lyrically questionable" following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The song is featured prominently in scenes from the fictional sub-story in the 2009 comedy film Gentlemen Broncos.
The song is parodied 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.