“EVE OF DESTRUCTION” IN PROTEST . . . AUGUST 21, 1965 – Motor City Radio Flashbacks

Motor City Radio Flashbacks

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August 11th, 2017

From the MCRFB NEWS archive: 1965

‘Eve Of Destruction’ Has Its Day





This eastern world, it is explodin’, violence flarin’, bullets loading. 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 cha’, tell me over and over and over again my friend, ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.”…                                                                               


CHICAGO — Barry McGuire’s “Eve Of Destruction” may be too controversial for the city’s middle-of-the-road radio station, but it represents a new trend in music, according to WCFL and WLS, the city’s two rockers.

BARRY McGUIRE’S “Eve Of Destruction” on Dunhill Records. Released in 1965.

The record also has all the earmarks of being a hit in terms of retail sales. Bob Garmisa, of Garmisa Distributing Co., says he moved 17,000 copies of the record in the Chicago area in the past three weeks.

Fred Sipiora, of Sipiora One-Stop, said he’s sold 1,500 records of the song and has another 1,500 on order. “Dealers are starting to ask for the records,” Sipiora says.


WCFL broke the record in late July and was followed by WLS a week later. Some of the more conservative radio stations, however, are keeping hands off. Jack Williams, recently named program director at WIND, Group W’s powerful middle-of-the-roader, termed the “Eve Of Destruction” lyrics “sick.” “It’s not the sort of record we want to play for our audience,” Williams said. WIND evaluates its playlist weekly, and Williams said “Destruction” was voted down twice.

EVE OF DESTRUCTION” was written by P. F. Sloan; produced by Lou Adler, P. F. Sloan for Dunhill Records

At NBC’s WMAQ, Glenn Bell, program director, said, “We’re not playing it because it’s too hard for our middle-of-the-road audience sound.” Bell, however, said he felt the record will have the greatest impact on the world of pop music of any record issued in the past several years.

“If I were a Top 40 station, I would play it,” Bell said. “In fact, I would make it a pick.”


At kingpin WLS, Clark Weber, the station’s new program director, said “Destruction” had all the earmarks of a hit. WLS’ sister stations WXYZ, Detroit; WABC, New York; KQV, Pittsburgh, all put it on the air the same time.

Weber described “Destruction” as a “message record blending folk and R&B.” “It bites,” he said.

The WLS music man feels that the British hold on pop music may be on the wane and that “Destruction” may represent a type of music which will “move up to fill the void.”

WCFL’s program chief Ken Draper predicted flatly that “Eve Of Destruction” would be “a very big record.” “Pop music doesn’t create taste, it reflects it,” Draper said. He felt that “protest music” was already a trend. “It’s a little frightening, it makes us look at ourselves, but it’s here.” Draper remarked.

The WCFL programming chief said the McGuire record was nothing more than a logical follow-up to other “protest” disks done by such artists as Sonny Bono, Bob Dylan, Sonny and Cher and Jody Miller.

“Tragedy is nothing new to music,” noted Draper. “Operas are filled with it, and people consider it art. When people hear it in a pop song lyric, it shakes them up a little bit.” END


 (Information and news source: Billboard; August 21, 1965)

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