First Hit #1: September 25, 1965
Protest songs need emotion. It’s a simple matter, you need to sell the protest, and sound like you’ve got a vested interest in what happens. So, it’s probably for the best that reportedly the planned polished vocal never happened to Eve of Destruction. McGuire’s vocal on this song is pretty much perfect, capturing the anger and frustration that a decent protest needs to succeed. A protest against all the violence of the ’60s, starting with Vietnam and then going anywhere else they could think of, it perhaps isn’t as relevant to today as some protest songs might be, but then again it’s not trying to be a timeless classic. It’s about what’s going on at the time of recording, and while McGuire might update the lyrics for modern audiences in live performances, it’s probably more effective as a ’60s song about ’60s problems. There was something worth getting angry about, and it’s more difficult to get angry about general problems.