Guilty Pleasure No. 55: The Dawn of Correction


The year was 1964 and folk singer Barry McGuire had just released a new song called Eve of  Destruction.  In Eve of Destruction, McGuire painted an apocalyptic view of the world and put a lot of the blame on the Cold War.  McGuire wrote about 18 year-olds being sent to war when they weren’t even allowed to vote.  (At that time, the voting age was 21.)  McGuire wrote about the nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia, saying that nuclear annihilation was just one push of a button away.  McGuire sang about the Civil Rights struggle and the feeling that all of the well-meaning protests hadn’t led to any real change.

Not surprisingly, this early protest song was as controversial as it was popular.  While many claimed that McGuire was one of the few singers willing to sing the truth, others said that he wasn’t being unpatriotic and excessively negative.

That’s where The Spokesmen came in.  The Spokesmen were a trio, made up of John Madera, David White, and Ray Gilmore.  Feeling that McGuire wasn’t being fair in his critique of the good old U.S., the Spokesmen released an “answer song,” one that addressed all of McGuire’s charges and which dismissed them all.  McGuire sang about the “Eve of Destruction.”  The Spokesmen decided that they would sing about the …. DAWN OF CORRECTION!

As the song’s chorus says: 

So over and over again, you keep sayin’ it’s the end
But I say you’re wrong, we’re just on the dawn of correction

What exactly is “the dawn of correction?”  I honestly have no idea.  But it probably sounded profound while the song was being written.  Plus …. destruction …. correction …. it rhymes!

Anyway, the Dawn of Correction was a minor hit when it was released, though it was soon forgotten about as the protest movement grew and teenagers in the 60s saw far more evidence to support McGuire’s vision of the world than the vision of the Spokesman.  Among music aficionados, Dawn of Correction has developed a reputation for being one of the worst songs ever written.

I have to admit though that, when I recently listened to the song, I kind of liked it, in much the same way that I like zero-budget polemical films and kitschy dance scenes.  It’s one of those songs that is so definitely rooted to one cultural moment that, from a historical point of view, it becomes rather fascinating.  It’s lyrics are just so strangely literal.  (It takes a certain …. something …. to try to put a positive spin on the policy of mutually assured destruction in a folk song.)  Even more than that, lead singer John Madera attempts to duplicate the raspy growl the McGuire used while singing Eve of Destruction and, even though he doesn’t succeed, there’s something oddly touching about how hard he tries.  With a Dylanesque harmonica playing in the background, the song is so determined to be “with it,” that you just know some government teacher in 1967 probably tried to reach her apathetic students by forcing them to listen to this song in class.  

Finally, to be honest, that chorus is kind of catchy.  Watch the band perform below and be sure to pay attention to the dancers.

Lyrics
The western world has a common dedication
To keep free people from Red domination
And maybe you can’t vote, boy, but man your battle stations
Or there’ll be no need for votin’ in future generations
 
So over and over again, you keep sayin’ it’s the end
But I say you’re wrong, we’re just on the dawn of correction
 
There are buttons to push in two mighty nations
But who’s crazy enough to risk annihilation?
The buttons are there to ensure negotiation
So don’t be afraid, boy, it’s our only salvation
 
So over and over again, you keep sayin’ it’s the end
But I say you’re wrong, we’re just on the dawn of correction
 
You tell me that marches won’t bring integration
But look what it’s done for the voter registration
Be thankful our country allows demonstrations
Instead of condemnin’, make some recommendations
I don’t understand the cause of your aggravation
You mean to tell me, boy, it’s not a better situation?
 
So over and over again, you keep sayin’ it’s the end
But I say you’re wrong, we’re just on the dawn of correction
 
You missed all the good in your evaluation
What about the things that deserve commendation?
Where there once was no cure, there’s vaccination
Where there once was a desert, there’s vegetation
Self-government’s replacing colonization
What about the Peace Corp. organization?
Don’t forget the work of the United Nations
 
So over and over again, you keep sayin’ it’s the end
But I say you’re wrong, we’re just on the dawn of correction

But I say you’re wrong, we’re just on the dawn of correction
 
So over and over again, you keep sayin’ it’s the end
But I say you’re wrong, we’re just on the dawn of correction

Previous Guilty Pleasures

  1. Half-Baked
  2. Save The Last Dance
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorns
  4. The Jeremy Kyle Show
  5. Invasion USA
  6. The Golden Child
  7. Final Destination 2
  8. Paparazzi
  9. The Principal
  10. The Substitute
  11. Terror In The Family
  12. Pandorum
  13. Lambada
  14. Fear
  15. Cocktail
  16. Keep Off The Grass
  17. Girls, Girls, Girls
  18. Class
  19. Tart
  20. King Kong vs. Godzilla
  21. Hawk the Slayer
  22. Battle Beyond the Stars
  23. Meridian
  24. Walk of Shame
  25. From Justin To Kelly
  26. Project Greenlight
  27. Sex Decoy: Love Stings
  28. Swimfan
  29. On the Line
  30. Wolfen
  31. Hail Caesar!
  32. It’s So Cold In The D
  33. In the Mix
  34. Healed By Grace
  35. Valley of the Dolls
  36. The Legend of Billie Jean
  37. Death Wish
  38. Shipping Wars
  39. Ghost Whisperer
  40. Parking Wars
  41. The Dead Are After Me
  42. Harper’s Island
  43. The Resurrection of Gavin Stone
  44. Paranormal State
  45. Utopia
  46. Bar Rescue
  47. The Powers of Matthew Star
  48. Spiker
  49. Heavenly Bodies
  50. Maid in Manhattan
  51. Rage and Honor
  52. Saved By The Bell 3. 21 “No Hope With Dope”
  53. Happy Gilmore
  54. Solarbabies

3 responses to “Guilty Pleasure No. 55: The Dawn of Correction

  1. Pingback: Guilty Pleasure No. 56: Once You Understand By Think | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 6/6/22 — 6/12/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

  3. Pingback: Guilty Pleasure No. 57: The Voyeurs (dir by Michael Mohan) | Through the Shattered Lens

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