Zager & Evans were a Lincoln, Nebraska rock-pop duo of the late 1960s and early 1970s named after its two members, Denny Zager and Rick Evans, who met at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Artists Dave Trupp and Mark Dalton backed up the duo. Early Benders drummer Danny Schindler played with them until his tour of Vietnam in 1965. See photo The band also included Paul Maher on drums, until he split off of the band after their hit song "In The Year 2525."
Zager & Evans are best known for their popular "In the Year 2525." written by Rick Evans. The song warned of the dangers of technology, portraying a future in which the human race would at length be destroyed by its own technological and medical innovations and Divine wrath. The last stanza of the song intimates a continuing cycle of birth, death and rebirth of mankind.
"In the Year 2525" hit number one on the pop charts in 1969. It claimed the #1 spot for six weeks. It also topped the charts in the UK. It was number one on July 20, 1969 in the US, the date of the first manned moon landing by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. It was nominated for a special Hugo Award that same year. It sold over four million copies by 1970, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in July 1969.
The song was originally written in 1964 and recorded and released in 1968 on the Truth Records label. After a radio station in Odessa, Texas popularized the two-year old record, RCA Records distributed the song nationwide. Sales of the original hit recording (including singles sales, album usage and compilation inclusions) now total over 10 million units worldwide. The B-side of the single was "Little Kids".
The band signed with RCA Records, who claimed they were "The Next Big Thing", but follow-up singles, such as "Mr. Turnkey" (a song about a rapist who nails his own wrist to the jail wall as punishment for his crime) achieved only minor success. "In the Year 2525" was their only Top 40 song.
They also had records released on White Whale Records and Vanguard Records.
Zager and Evans no longer perform as a duo, but they both remain in the music industry and remain friends. Zager now builds custom guitars.
"In the Year 2525" has been covered by industrial frontrunners Laibach on their album NATO as well as gothic rock frontrunners Fields of the Nephilim and new romantics Visage. In addition to these two bands, Project Pitchfork also covered it in the early 1990s on their album Dhyani. Ian Brown has also made a cover in his 2009 My Way album.