Monday, January 14, 2008

The Eastern World, It is Exploding

Alert readers will recall that in the run-up to the most recent Weekend Listomania I made fun of Barry McGuire's 1965 folk-rock protest smash "Eve of Destruction," a P.F. Sloan song that, back in the day, always struck me as low-grade kitsch at best. Apparently, I had forgotten this remake.



That's San Francisco Clash fans Red Rockers from 1984, and I've got to admit, it's a pretty great version; instead of the the whining suburban petulance of McGuire's original, there's actual righteous anger and dread here, not to mention big Byrdsian guitar grandeur. A shame about the Nuevo Wavo fashions, though.

I should also mention that in the early 80s, my skinny tie band used to do a, shall we say, slightly less than reverent version of the song. If memory serves, we actually sang it as "You may leave here for 4 days in space/But when you return, you can't find a parking space."

8 comments:

Brooklyn Girl said...

"You may leave here for 4 days in space/But when you return, you can't find a parking space."

Those aren't the lyrics?

A few years ago, I was walking down Third Street when an exasperated driver leaned out the window of his car and asked one of the local fortune tellers if she saw a parking space in his future.

steve simels said...

Fortune teller, eh?

How does she do in the stock market?
:-)

TMink said...

Very Byrds! And the singer walks past the camera just like Mick Jones would! If ya gotta copy someone, Byrds and Clash are two of the bands worth copying.

Trey

return of the plumber said...

Steve's band from the 80's was named the Floor Models and their version of "Eve Of Destruction" was wise ass and wonderful.

Re: the Red Rocker's version of Eve: Very very Byrds like and did anybody notice that somebody who looks suspiciously like Phil Simms was in the band?

Mark said...

Phil Ochs once said that he thought "Eve Of Destruction" was pretty silly, but he would have liked it better if the line had gone "Eat your next door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace."

Oh, and not to be a snot, but the Red Rockers were originally from New Orleans. They did record for the fine San Francisco-based 415 Records label, so maybe they relocated to the Bay Area later on.

TJWood said...

Oh, and not to be a snot, but the Red Rockers were originally from New Orleans. They did record for the fine San Francisco-based 415 Records label, so maybe they relocated to the Bay Area later on.

According to this website, Red Rockers did relocate to San Francisco in 1981 and signed with 415. They disbanded in 1984 after the album Schizophrenic Circus, with two members relocating to Boston and ending up in the acclaimed Boston band the Raindogs.

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Anonymous said...

Folks, a little respect (if anyone is still reading this posting). PF Sloan, nee Schlein and hailing originally from Hicksville LI, wrote Eve of Destruction as a 19 year old Jewish kid living with his parents in LA and contemplating a career as a rabbi. The music publisher he worked for, Trousdale (owned by Lou Adler), handed him a copy of Another Side of Bob Dylan and basically said, "hey kid, gimme 10 just like this." Sloan, who'd already been earning his keep for years as a contract writer to Screen Gems and r'n'b label VJ, presented the songs, but Adler refused to pitch them, finding them too far out (or maybe whiny) by prevailing LA scene standards. None the less, Barry McGuire, a rising star just out of the New Christy Minstrels (for whom he wrote their hit Green, Green) was looking for material for his debut on Dunhill, Adler's new label. He took Eve (intended as a B side) and a half dozen more. The released version includes a scratch vocal, rushed out before McGuire could go back and finish it properly. For contrast, note the Turtle's contemporaneous Byrd-y version of Eve, along with their other Sloan covers such as Let Me Be, the gorgeous and perfect You Baby, and Can I Get to Know You Better (first sung by Betty Everett). Eve was a huge international hit and essentially destroyed both Sloan's and McGuire's careers. So sad, given that PF Sloan wrote many of the truly finest pop songs, hits and otherwise, of the 60s.

AP