Wednesday, September 27, 2017

WACKY WEDNESDAY: The End of The World

No the world didn't end last Saturday.

(Or so they'd have you believe ...)

Once again some self-proclaimed Bible expert gave an exact date -- Saturday, September 23, 2017 -- when the world would go KABLOOEY as foretold by the ancients.

And now, this funky dude, "researcher" David Meade, says he made a slight miscalculation. The end will come in October. Meade now says.

That reminds me of a friend of mine who staunchly believed that Y2K would lead to a meltdown of civilization. When I chided him about this on Jan. 2, 2000, he said, "Well now I hear it's going to happen in a couple of months ..."

The history of religions, cults and weird beliefs in America (and I assume elsewhere) is full of Doomsdays that turned out to be duds. There are too many numskulls who believe this crap -- though there probably are too many of us who love making fun of it.

And a lot of musicians in recent decades have created a lot of songs dealing with the end of the world.

Here are some of my favorites.

Let's start with The Jefferson Airplane's greatest stab at apocalypse rock, "The House at Pooneil Corners." It was the final cut on their 1968 Crown of Creation album. The one with the mushroom cloud.

Everything someday will be gone except silence 
Earth will be quiet again 
Seas from clouds will wash off the ashes of violence 
Left as the memory of men 
There will be no survivor my friend 
Suddenly everyone will look surprised 
Stars spinning wheels in the skies 
Sun is scrambled in their eyes 
While the moon circles like a vulture 

This one by R.E.M. is overplayed, but I still love it. In contrast to the stern sincerity of The Jefferson Airplane, Michael Stipe dripped with irony as he rattled off the lyrics:

Six o'clock, T.V. hour, don't get caught in foreign tower
Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn
Lock him in uniform, book burning, bloodletting
Every motive escalate, automotive incinerate
Light a candle, light a motive, step down, step down
Watch your heel crush, crush, uh oh

Tom Waits caught a midnighjt boxcar to Pooneil Corner on "Earth Died Screaming," the first song of his 1992 masterpiece, Bone Machine.

There was thunder
There was lightning
Then the stars went out
And the moon fell from the sky
It rained mackerel
It rained trout
And the great day of wrath has come
And here's mud in your big red eye
The poker's in the fire
And the locusts take the sky
And the earth died screaming
While I lay dreaming of you

Here's a lesser-known song by a lesser-known artist, Phoebe Legere. "Armageddon a Go-Go" appeared on her 2002 album Last Tango in Bubbleland.

The anchor man has seven eyes
Seven horns and seven ties
He says "The end is near
In fact, it's here."
The sky rolls up and disappears ...

But more than 50 years later, my favorite is still the classic by the late Skeeter Davis. Technically, "End of the World" is not literally about the destruction of the planet Earth. There are no stars spinning wheels in the sky or raining mackerel or seven-eyed anchor men. But Skeeter's sweet voice and sad eyes tell a story of personal apocalypse that still makes me shudder sometimes.

Here's a live TV performance of Skeeter Davis singing her greatest hit.

The End?

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