|Zager and Evans|
|Origin||Lincoln, Nebraska, United States|
|Labels||RCA Victor, White Whale Records, Vanguard Records|
Zager and Evans was a US rock-pop duo of the late 1960s and early 1970s named after its two members, Denny Zager (born 1944, Wymore, Nebraska) and Rick Evans (born 1943, Lincoln, Nebraska). They are best known for their 1969 hit single "In the Year 2525", and the fact that they never had another national hit record again.
Denny Zager and Rich Evans met at Nebraska Wesleyan University, in 1962. They were joined by drummer Danny Schindler (later of the Benders) in the Nebraska band the Eccentrics, until Schindler's tour of Vietnam in 1965. Evans also left in 1965, and reunited with Zager in 1968.
As Zager and Evans, the duo were backed by another Nebraska native, Mark Dalton, on bass. Their first drummer, Paul Maher, was later replaced by yet another Nebraskan, Dave Trupp. (Trupp and Dalton were also the rhythm section in the Liberation Blues Band and backed Evans on some solo demo material prior to Zager and Evans's recording of "In the Year 2525" in 1968.)
Written by Evans, "In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)" warned of the dangers of technology, portraying a future in which the human race was destroyed by its own technological and medical innovations. The last stanza of the song suggests mankind undergoes a continuing cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
"In the Year 2525" hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969, ultimately claiming the top spot for six weeks. It also hit #1 in the UK. "2525" topped the charts at the time of two major cultural events: the first moon landing on July 20, 1969, and the Woodstock Music Festival a month later. The record sold over four million copies by 1970 and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in July 1969.
"2525" was originally written in 1964, but not recorded or released until 1968, on the Truth Records label. After radio stations in Lincoln and Omaha made "2525" a regional "break-out" hit record, RCA Records signed the duo and released the song (with "Little Kids", also written by Evans, as the B-side) nationwide. Zager and Evans also immediately recorded an album of the same name, again using Trupp and Dalton as the primary rhythm section. "In the Year 2525" remains popular on oldies stations; sales of the original hit recording (including singles sales, album usage and compilation inclusions) are estimated to total over ten million worldwide.
Zager and Evans are now considered to be one-hit wonder artists. Despite "2525"'s huge success (it was even nominated for a special Hugo Award), follow-up single "Mr. Turnkey" missed the US and UK charts altogether, as did their subsequent releases. As of 2018, they remain the only artist ever to have a chart-topping hit on both sides of the Atlantic and never have another chart single in Billboard or in the UK ever again. (The third single, "Listen to the People", did manage to scrape into the Cashbox chart, at #100, while "Mr. Turnkey"/"Cary Lynn Javes" (double A-side) and "Help One Man Today" both charted in Australia, at #86 and #94 respectively.)
After the success of "2525", White Whale Records released a record titled The Early Writings of Zager & Evans and Others, featuring recordings of the Eccentrics on side one and a band called J.K. and Co. (who had no connection to Zager and Evans) on side two. After releasing two albums on RCA, Zager and Evans moved to Vanguard Records in 1971 for a final record.
Rick Evans later released an album for Truth Records titled I Need This Song where he duetted with a singer named Pam Herbert. In the late 1970s he formed his own label, Fun Records, and released an album titled Fun Songs, Think Songs containing both new material and re-recordings of Zager and Evans material.
Zager now builds custom guitars at Zager Guitars, which is based in Lincoln, Nebraska. Evans has largely stayed out of the public eye, but resurfaced for some online commentaries about "2525" and his recent life in 2013.
|Year||Album||Billboard 200||Record Label|
|1969||2525 (Exordium & Terminus)||30||RCA Victor|
|The Early Writings of Zager & Evans and Others||-||White Whale Records|
|1970||Zager & Evans||-||RCA Victor|
|1971||Food for the Mind||-||Vanguard Records|
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Record Label||B-side||Album|
|1969||"In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)"||1||1||1||2||RCA Victor||"Little Kids"||2525 (Exordium & Terminus)|
|"Mr. Turnkey"||106||-||-||86||"Cary Lynn Javes"||Zager & Evans|
|"Listen to the People"||-||-||-||-||"She Never Sleeps Beside Me"|
|1970||"Help One Man Today"||-||-||-||94||"Yeah 3 2"|
|"Crutches"||-||-||-||-||"Plastic Park"||Zager & Evans|
|1971||"Hydra 15,000"||-||-||-||-||Vanguard Records||"I Am"||Food for the Mind|