Monday, April 28, 2008

take a look around ya boy, it's bound to scare ya boy..

I wonder how many people under about 50 years old have actually listened to Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction".

Go download it right now. I'll wait.

Every time I happen to hear this song on the radio, I continue to be amazed that it was actually a mainstream hit in 1965.

The vocals, intended as a scratch track but kept because the song was leaked out in unfinished form, are amazingly rough for a pop single of that era. Hoarse, gravelly, grunting, microphone-popping, half angry half just plain tired, it's got to be one the happiest accidents in the history of rock. Compare it to the relatively polished accompaniment.. it's like Captain Beefheart fronting the Turtles.

Starting out merely tired sounding, by the time the song reaches the line about "hate your next door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace", the spittle- and phlegm- powered aggression reaches a level that makes one expect balls-to-the-wall screaming to occur next. Unfortunately it does not. But the fact that it even came this close, in a genre otherwise associated with the Mamas and the Papas and the Fifth Dimension, is pretty damn awesome.