Because you can hear "Joy to the World" only so many times, here's the contrasting point-of-view. Set up by an excerpt from my memoir of growing up in the '60s (which will finally be out early next year!). The video provided comes from a network teen music show on NBC called HULLABALOO. Like SNL, it featured a weekly guest host, someone kids would find totally cool. This week's guest was Jerry Lewis. No wonder no one watched HULLABALOO. I also love in this video that to sell the theme of the song, Barry McGuire is surrounded by burned out cars and Go-Go dancers. Enjoy the excerpt and the video.
1965 was really the last year of the 1950’s. We still thought and acted like we were in The Donna Reed Show or Ozzie and Harriet. There was an innocence that steadfastly persisted despite pesky flashes of reality – riots, a war, civil unrest, drugs, teen rebellion.
But we were growing more and more uneasy, to the point where we had to finally take action: We sang.
My generation could not have a thought or a feeling or bowel movement without singing about it. So out of this unrest came “the protest song.” Bob Dylan and Joan Baez were the vanguards, but the tune that perhaps had the biggest impact was “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire. Barry McGuire had been the lead singer of The New Christy Minstrels, a wholesome collection of apple-cheeked young goody-gooders who sang about hayrides and gooseberry preserves. McGuire veered somewhat from the Hootenanny by singing a tale of imminent world doom. Within weeks it was the number one record in the country. Written by P.F. Sloan, the lyrics were filled with cheery bon mots like “the world is exploding”, bodies are floating in the Jordan River, the button could be pushed at any moment, and the world will soon be in a grave, De-lightful!
The song fed directly into the terror and foreboding fear we all lived with every single day… although it wasn’t so terrifying that we didn’t buy the record and dance to it at parties.