May 21, 2012

The Turtles - Eve of Destruction (1965)

This song was written by P.F. Sloan when he was only nineteen years old. In 1964, Phil “Flip” Sloan wrote this song in a style similar to what Bob Dylan was putting out at the time. After being rejected by The Byrds, it was given to the group who usually recorded their rejected material: The Turtles. It didn’t do well.

Luckily for Sloan in the long run, it would soon be recorded by Barry McGuire and become a nationwide hit. Personally, I’ve requested my local radio station to play The Turtles’ version of the song, but they always insist that they “don’t have it”. Because of this, I assume there’s many people who don’t realize The Turtles ever recorded the song, let alone put it out before McGuire’s version. Although it lacks the grit and punch of McGuire’s, it’s nice to hear it being done by this group.

There’s also a great history of today’s song, as told by P.F. Sloan himself, which I encourage you to read here.

album art

The Turtles - Eve of Destruction (1965)

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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 ya tell me over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, ya don't believe we're on the eve of destruction

Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say?
And can't you feel the fears that 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 ya, boy; it's bound to scare ya, boy; and ya

Tell me over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, ya 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 four days in space
But when you return, it's the same old place
The poundin' of the drums, 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

Aw, no, no, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction


  1. Thanks again, ABLYAM! Great timing on this one (just shared on Twitter a mo ago).

    1. It's wonderful how music can be relevant decades after their initial release, but it can also be quite sad, depending on the context.

  2. Well you can add me to the list of those who never knew the Turtles recorded the song. Thanks for enlightening me! Not a half bad version either.

    1. Excellent! I'm glad I could help spread the '60s music. That's what this site is all about. =)