Rock 'n' roll fans in the Boston area won't be allowed to hear the folk-rock song "The Eve of Destruction" unless they choose their radio stations carefully. Two of Boston's three "top-forty" stations have decided that the song is too controversial for their listeners' ears, although one won't admit it.
Written by P. F. Sloand and recorded this summer by Barry McGuire, the song describes a world in decay, under threat of nuclear disaster, and without human aspect. After each verse beats out the 20th century's troubles at a Bob Dylan- like pace, its refrain entreats the listner to realize that the world is indeed on the eve of destruction.
Last week the song was number one on station WABC in New York, and the WABC-TV show "Hullabaloo" declared that it was number one across the country. But not Boston.
Banned in Boston
In August Bostonians not only listened to the song, they loved it. "This song is so popular," WBZ disc jockey Bruce Bradley told his listeners during one show, we're gonna play it three times tonight." But one week later the station stopped playing it altogether, WBZ made no public statement on the ban, and it remained on the station's hit list as number one. One Sunday morning, when Dave Maynard played through the top thirty songs in order, he simply stopped at number two and went on to the newseast.
WBZ's program manager Dan Griffin denied yesterday that the song had been taken off the air by the station. He said that it had simply lost popularity. But Warren Mower, the station's promotion director, said that the song had been withdrawn from the air during the stations weekly record review because "its lyrics and mood were questionable."
Other sources at WBZ, who asked not to be identified, said the song was banned by executives of the Westinghouse Corporation, which owns the station.
Late in August Ken Carter, of station WORL, publicly announced that his station would not play the song because its lyrics were "unpatriotic." Later the station was picketed and after a scuffle with violent demonstrators at the station, Carter was sued.
Only station WMEX continues to play the song, rating it number 18. Disc jockey Arnie "Woo Woo" Ginsberg said that it was a "good sound that might express feelings of a kid about to be drafted.