A #SaturdaySong Revised

Earlier this week, my good blogging friend Jim sent me a link to a blog by Marla, who I’d not come across before. He did so because she had posted an article which included a song that means a lot to me, and he remembered that I had posted it myself. Indeed I had, in Tuesday Tunes 52. But this reminded me that I had also written a longer piece about it in my #SaturdaySongs series and, as I’ve recently shared a couple of those with you, this seemed like my cue for another. These date back to 2016 when I knew few of you who are actively following me these days, so I’m fairly sure that this will be a new one for you. This is that post, from 29.10.16 – as ever, I’ll return at the end for a few closing words (though probably not words of wisdom – that would be too much to expect!).

#SATURDAYSONGS 2: EVE OF DESTRUCTION

For my second #SaturdaySong I thought I’d go right back to where it started for me. Well, in a sense, anyway. I had started taking an interest in music from a very early age, as my Mum was a pretty good pianist and used to get me to sing along with her. Before my voice broke I was a passable boy treble, and performed on occasion for guests. No one would ever ask me to do that now! Although Mum’s repertoire was mostly light classical – I recall Santa Lucia being a favourite – my interest was much more aligned to pop music, and by the time the Beatles burst onto the scene in 1962 and reinvented the pop music world I was a firm fan. However, in those early days we were restricted to what was played on the radio – which was extremely limited! It wasn’t until the pirate stations began broadcasting that things began to look up. But it was a while before we had any kind of music player at home, and we used to take every opportunity to hear pop tunes on the radio and on TV – usually just the odd one in the midst of a variety show. This is a far cry from today’s ubiquitous music, and is very difficult for anyone who wasn’t around then to comprehend. The thought of listening on my transistor radio under the bedcovers to a late night broadcast from Radio Luxembourg takes me back to my youth, but my daughters just never understood what I was talking about!

As I mentioned in my post The Listening Booth earlier this year, the humble record player came to the rescue. My parents were a little late coming to that party, but they eventually did get one in 1966 or 1967 and my lifelong love of building my record collection began. Like most of us, I guess, I can still remember the first record I ever bought, and that is my song for today: Eve Of Destruction, by Barry McGuire. In that previous post I described this as having been ‘a massive number one hit’ but in researching this post I found that in fact it only got as far as number three here in the UK, although it did reach number one in the USA. Funny how our memory can create images that then become firm beliefs, isn’t it. The song was written by P.F. Sloan, who was a prolific writer of pop hits in the sixties, and was a protest song against the Vietnam War. It was recorded in July 1965 and was released at once, becoming an instant hit.

McGuire started his singing career in the New Christy Minstrels, who you may well remember for their song ‘Three Wheels On My Wagon,’ which was a regular choice on the old BBC Light Programme’s nod towards children, their Saturday morning show Children’s Favourites, hosted by ‘Uncle Mac.’ Today, that sounds a bit creepy, but this was the time before 1970s DJs started their laying on of hands! McGuire had a few other minor hits, but this song remained his real claim to fame. He became a born again Christian and devoted his musical life to making records in tune with his beliefs – nothing wrong with that but it did take him away from mainstream attention. As far as most of us are concerned, this song is his musical legacy.

The more alert among you will have spotted that this song was a hit a year or two before we had a record player at home. In those days, once a record had dropped out of the charts it was very difficult to find, and usually needed to be ordered from a specialist record shop – remember them? However, in Dover, where I was born, we had a covered market which was open six days a week. One of the stalls there sold secondhand records, and for the princely sum of 2s 6d (12.5p in today’s coinage) you could choose from their huge selection of recent hits. This is where I bought my copy of this song, and many others in the ensuing years. They cost about one third of the price of a new record, so if you were prepared to wait you could build a big library with your pocket money!

This doesn’t get played very often nowadays, as it was very much a product of its time, but I think it still stands on its merits. McGuire had an instantly recognisable growling voice, once described as sounding like Johnny Cash gargling ball bearings. Take a listen:

Or, to make the point that this was an anti-war song, try this:

And as a special bonus, and a little light relief, here’s the New Christy Minstrels song I mentioned:

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s trip through the cobwebs of my musical mind.

**************************************************

As I said in that piece, it was a reminder for me that our memories can play little tricks on us – well, mine certainly does – and things which we had long believed to be correct actually weren’t. In this case, it was a small thing, but at least I wasn’t trying to rewrite history, unlike some politicians! I still like this song, and the story which attaches to it for me brings back happy memories of my youth. Sadly, whilst the frontiers of war and destruction may have shifted since the 1960s, the song is a reminder that the human race spends far too much time and resources on trying to destroy itself. Come to that, the ‘joke’ song I also included in the original post is also related to conflict – it is all around us, and it isn’t just grown up boys with toys playing ‘Cowboys and Indians.’ Keep that in mind when you listen to these songs: even huge pop hits can carry an important message.

On that note, I hope you enjoy your weekend and don’t go overboard on today’s celebration of World Emoji Day (yes, really!) 😂🎉🍾

64 thoughts on “A #SaturdaySong Revised

    • Afraid so, Robbie! Glad you enjoyed the post. I’ve been though various stages of music devices – like you, a Walkman was one of those. It was fun, but having to take cassettes out with me always seemed a nuisance!

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  1. How wonderful your parents exposed you to music so early Clive.. All of ours played and instrument and now they say, “why did you let us stop”. we had to drag them to the lessons and got tired of it.
    He’s really awesome and don’t think I’ve heard him before.. raspy voice.. thanks for the fun 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Cindy. Sadly, I had no musical talent apart from that early singing – I couldn’t even play the recorder! A little ironic, really, when you consider how important music is to me. Ah, those days of taking the kids to music lessons bring back memories. We had one who was very talented on the violin and piano, the other was a very good tennis player. I can only lay claim to passing on the sporting genes!

      I guess this record was before you were born, so you’d have no reason to recall it. I’m glad you enjoyed the post 😊

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  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    This morning’s music post is a bit different … I’m re-blogging our friend Clive’s post from a few days ago. The song is Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction, one that I have played a few times here, and was planning to play again. Sadly, we humans never learn and seem to keep the world … on the eve of destruction.

    I chose to re-blog Clive’s post for a few reasons. One, his includes some interesting and fun personal memories. Two, he presents some fascinating trivia that I wasn’t aware of. And three … he not only makes it interesting, plays good music, but he makes it fun, too! Thanks, Clive, for your generous permission to share your post!

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  3. I should remember my first record, but I don’t have a clear memory of that. It would have been after 1965, though, as I was just a little kid in those days. My older brothers played records, but those didn’t belong to me. I think the first group I really got into was The Moody Blues.

    I do remember the Barry MeCguire tune. Not a bad video on the 2nd one, especially considering the date.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Moody Blues were a good place to start! I loved them, bought all of their albums. I’m glad you remembered this one – it has a place in pop music history, I think, and still relevant today.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is one of those songs that … never really loses its relevance, it seems. I’ve played it 2 or 3 times in the 3 years since I started doing music posts, and of late have been thinking about re-duxing it yet again, for some days … between the effects of climate change, our voting rights being taken away, the ever-increasing racism … it truly does feel that we are … “On the Eve of Destruction” … and that we’ve done it all to ourselves. Your post gives so much more background and interesting info than mine … would you mind if I re-blog it in the next day or two for my music post?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. this song was not familiar to me, but I have enjoyed listening to it. I wonder how much a person’s views of the world, such as about war, were influenced by music.

    I can’t remember the first record I bought, but I do recalling buying the album that had Free Ride by Edgar Winter on it, as well as all the albums by Tim Moore, my all-time favorite musician, and someone very few people have heard of. I did a long post about him several years ago, and I plan to repost it once I reach a targeted number of posts…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I do remember this song, but it was never part of my record collection. Just like your mum, my own mum was an excellent pianist and I was brought up on the classics until I discovered The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I haunted Chrisp Street market’s secondhand record stall every Saturday, lol.

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  7. If I could create an all time top ten favourites this would probably be repeated in there a couple of times at least. He had a distinctive voice, but this was a distinctive song with a message very much felt at the time. A repeat I really don’t mind as long as I don’t have to twiddle with the radio to get it.
    Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you for the mention, and welcome by my page!

    In reference to Vary Mcguire you said his voice was “once described as sounding like Johnny Cash gargling ball bearings” I wonder… the person that described his voice like that, how would they describe Leonard Cohen’s voice?

    As far as the New Christy Minstrels, I never heard the song you mentioned actually. I will have to look it up. But, I grew up listneing to them, specifically “Green, Green,”which I loved, so it was on repeat constantly until my father contemplated throwing the album out the window LOL

    Again, thank you for stopping by, and this was very interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re welcome – this revised post was prompted by you and Jim so it seemed only fair to give you some credit!

      I don’t recall who made that comment, but their view on LC would have been interesting.

      The song is in the third video, so you don’t have to look too hard for it. Or did it not play there?

      Glad you liked the post 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      • I can’t play videos on my computer at work or here. I am speaker less. I have ear buds, but they’re from the I phone 3 and work when they want to, and they also rip out of my ears in the middle of a good song because I breathe too heavily. So I don’t really have the ability to watch videos unless on my phone, and that’s being pleasant and overheating when I watch videos. So… videoless me for right now. Unless i hit a lottery I don’t play and become a kazillionaire, I can’t afford new ones of any of these items. But if I hit the lotto, I know exactly where the money will go! New phone, new speakers, 1 whole year of bills paid in advance, with some stashed away in case I need more for whatever reason, a new car (when my 21 year old one finally gives up on me), deep dive into my parents old house to find all possible records to play and a record player, actual internet and maybe tv, pay off the rest of my marital home and tell ex hubby to bye-bye as his name is not on it, allow my father to retire, maybe go back to school. and what’s left (which will be a lot as I’ve day dreamed about this for a LOOOONG time) will go for my retirement and traveling before I retire. That’s my goal. Too bad a winning ticket hasn’t smacked me in the face on the breeze yet. BUT IT WILL HAPPEN! Or not. but everything is as it should be right now… oh yea, I got side-tracked: I don’t have speakers to speak of. I’m sorry.

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      • I just went back and checked the post again. The others weren’t even there. Just eve of destruction. The others “you tube timed out” Refreshing the page twice did not help

        Liked by 1 person

      • Could be because of the way I access the internet. I cannot afford real internet so since I have unlimited data, I hot spot. Takes a minute for everything to load. That post took almost 5

        Liked by 1 person

      • It can be sometimes. If I use my phone directly, it’s faster, but when I’m tired, have a migraine, or just otherwise not able to see the little keyboard, I use the computer because I can type fairly accurately (my biggest errors are typically my own horrendous spelling), and I can type fast. Waiting for the computer to catch up is a different story, but I can type very fast. If we’re not counting spelling errors of my own making, I can type what I see without looking at the keyboard, I’ve typed entire papers while resting my eyes, I have been laughing so hard at times that I am legit crying and can’t see anything, but my fingers know the keyboards. They just do. And when I’m on a real keyboard, I can type as fast as I talk (which is extra fast) with about a 97% accuracy rate. If I try to keep up with my thoughts, I can do it, but it drops to about a 90% accuracy rate (again, not counting the spelling errors because I can’t ever remember how to spell certain things no matter how many times I have spelled it in the past including the word fence – I always spell it fense, but spell check finds it and tells me to fix it).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do most of my posts on a laptop. I don’t type properly, just index fingers, and I have to look at the keyboard. I only use the phone keyboard for WhatsApp and that’s enough for me!

        Liked by 1 person

      • OK. I’ve read some of the stuff that is online and it’s a bit confusing. I can break it down pretty easily if you need me to. As I said, I type fast so it would be no issue. But keep me in mind if you want me to teach you. I can legit teach you over comments too, I’m just that good 😉😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks. I’ve just found something which looks fairly straightforward so I’ll see how I get on with that first. I appreciate your offer, though, and am pleased to hear that you’re good 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope you enjoy it. Your introduction into the world of typing should be a lot more enjoyable than mine was. And I hope you enjoy it even if you don’t end up using it. It’s fun to learn new things!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah yes Clive I well remember listening to this one over and over again under the bedcovers. I could just about get Radio Luxembourg with lots of fiddling of dials! But I seem to remember the first singles I bought were the Yardbirds ‘Heart Full of Soul’, Concrete and Clay – Unit 4+2 and the Byrds version of the Dylan song ‘Mr Tambourine Man’. Followed up by ‘Albatross/Man of the World’ Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green). Those were the days 😃

    Liked by 2 people

    • There was an art to finding it, wasn’t there. And when you did, the signal would fade again. It was much better in the days of Caroline and London, till the government outlawed them. I only had one of those – Man of the World – and it still ranks in my all time top ten. Happy days indeed!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Clive, thanks for repeating this backstory about a great protest song. As I read it, I kept thinking of Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire.” His point was humans have long been their own worst enemy and will continue to be such. Or, as Mark Twain has been alleged to have said, “Common sense is not all that common.” Keith

    Liked by 2 people

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