englischlehrer.de  
VARIOUS TEXTS: A PROTEST SONG and THE ANSWER

Introduction:
One of the most controversial protest songs of that period (c. 1965) was 'Eve of Destruction', written by 19-year-old P.F. Sloan and sung by Barry McGuire.

It is protest song about political issues of the '60s. It was banned from many radio stations for its antigovernment lyrics, but still managed to hit #1 in the US. The song takes on racism, hypocrisy and injustice. The Kennedy assassination was an influence on the song.

Sloan wrote on his website: "The song 'Eve of Destruction' was written in the early morning hours between midnight and dawn in mid-1964. The most outstanding experience I had in writing this song was hearing an inner voice inside of myself for only the second time. It seemed to have information no one else could've had. For example, I was writing down this line in pencil 'think of all the hate there is in Red Russia.' This inner voice said 'No, no it's Red China!' I began to argue and wrestle with that until near exhaustion. I thought Red Russia was the most outstanding enemy to freedom in the world, but this inner voice said the Soviet Union will fall before the end of the century and Red China will endure in crimes against humanity well into the new century! This inner voice that is inside of each and every one of us but is drowned out by the roar of our minds! The song contained a number of issues that were unbearable for me at the time. I wrote it as a prayer to God for an answer.

I have felt it was a love song and written as a prayer because, to cure an ill you need to know what is sick. In my youthful zeal I hadn't realized that this would be taken as an attack on The System! Examples: The media headlined the song as everything that is wrong with the youth culture. First, show the song is just a hack song to make money and therefore no reason to deal with its questions. Prove the 19-year old writer is a communist dupe. Attack the singer as a parrot for the writers word. The media claimed that the song would frighten little children. I had hoped thru this song to open a dialogue with Congress and the people. The media banned me from all national television shows. Oddly enough they didn't ban Barry (i.e. McGuire). The United States felt under threat. So any positive press on me or Barry was considered un-patriotic. A great deal of madness, as I remember it! I told the press it was a love song. A love song to and for humanity, that's all. It ruined Barry's career as an artist and in a year I would be driven out of the music business too."

The left-wing folk establishment disliked ‘Eve of Destruction’ for different reasons, horrified that this arriviste was plasticising protest. Dave Van Ronk called it ‘an awful song’. Ochs was a tad more sympathetic, saying that it had ‘some very good lines’, but ultimately damned it as ‘tenth-rate Dylan’.




The Young Republicans and Citizens for Conservative Action vilified it. Randy Sparks, McGuire’s old colleague in the New Christy Minstrels, called it ‘communist fodder’ and promised to retaliate with his own ‘A Song of Hope’. A group called The Spokesmen recorded a rapid-response record, ‘Dawn of Correction’.

JOHN MADARA once said, 'We wrote the song on a Wednesday, recorded it the following Monday, and it was released by the end of the week. We did not have an artist at the time to record it, so we did it ourselves. We did take a positive stand with our lyrics and tried to answer Barry McGuire's statements in his lyric.' ....I was invited in 1966 to go on the Bob Hope tour to Vietnam with Joey. I always felt a little uncomfortable about the lyrics. After the trip to Vietnam, I saw what our soldiers were going through and how much the war made no sense at all. I definitely had some personal regrets with "The Dawn Of Correction" lyric. When we wrote the song, we were never for the war, we were just for America, and we felt that "The Eve of Destruction" was a slap against America. Because of the anti-war sentiment, "The Dawn of Correction" was obviously taken the wrong way.




Eve of Destruction’ by Barry McGuire, written by P.F. Sloan [1964]

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 tryin’ to say
Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ 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 sitting here just contemplatin’
You 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
You may leave here for 4 days in space
But when you return, it’s the same old place
The poundin’ of the drum, 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 tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend

You don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction
Mm, no no, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
of destruction.


Annotations:
* to tote - herumschleppen
* coagulating - gerinnen (Blut)
* to say grace - das Tischgebet sprechen
The Dawn of Correction, The Spokesmen [1965] / Songwriters: John Madara / David White / Raymond Gilmore


The western world has a common dedication
To keep free people from Red domination
And maybe you can't vote, boy, but man your battle stations
Or there'll be no need for votin' in future generations

So over and over again, you keep sayin' it's the end
But I say you're wrong, we're just on the dawn of correction

There are buttons to push in two mighty nations
But who's crazy enough to risk annihilation*?
The buttons are there to ensure negotiation*
So don't be afraid, boy, it's our only salvation

So over and over again, you keep sayin' it's the end
But I say you're wrong, we're just on the dawn of correction

You tell me that marches won't bring integration
But look what it's done for the voter registration
Be thankful our country allows demonstrations
Instead of condemnin', make some recommendations
I don't understand the cause of your aggravation*
You mean to tell me, boy, it's not a better situation?

So over and over again, you keep sayin' it's the end
But I say you're wrong, we're just on the dawn of correction

You missed all the good in your evaluation
What about the things that deserve commendation?
Where there once was no cure, there's vaccination*
Where there once was a desert, there's vegetation
Self-government's replacing colonization
What about the Peace Corp. organization?
Don't forget the work of the United Nations

So over and over again, you keep sayin' it's the end
But I say you're wrong, we're just on the dawn of correction
But I say you're wrong, we're just on the dawn of correction

So over and over again, you keep sayin' it's the end
But I say you're wrong, we're just on the dawn of correction


Annotations:
* annihilation - Vernichtung
* negotiation - Verhandlung
* aggravation - Verärgerung
* vaccination - Schutzimpfung




Assignments (Destruction):
1. What does P.F. Slaon accuse his fellow citizens of?
2. What is Sloan's greatest fear?. Do you think his fear was justified?
3. What does Sloan mean by 'twist the truth' and 'human respect..disintegrating'?
4. What does the songwriter mean by 'Selma, Alabama' and did he end up being right by his suggestion?
5. By the end of the song, Slaon accuses people of hypocrisy. In 'The Catcher in the Rye' Holden Caulfield also pokes fun of people being hypocritical. Was is it that Sloan and Caulfield want to expose?


Assignments (Correction):
1. What does the song suggest by 'man your battle stations' and why should people support such action?
2. 'The buttons are there to secure negotiation'. What does the song mean by this phrase? Do you agree?
3. Concerning the civil rights movement of the 1960s, which song do you agree with?
4. Which of the two songs would the majority of Americans identify with?



amazon.de 33 Revolutions Per Minute, A History of Protest Songs, from Billie Holiday to Green Day
by
Dorian Lynskey
amazon.de









© 1997-2017 englischlehrer.de × Alle Rechte vorbehalten. × Ausgewiesene Marken gehören ihren jeweiligen Eigentümern.
englischlehrer.de übernimmt keine Haftung für den Inhalt verlinkter externer Internetseiten.
1.709 (+4.597)pi × search powered by uCHOOSE