Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Barry McGuire

Barry McGuire
Barry McGuire is known for two things. The first was his hit single during the 1960s, The Eve of Destruction. The second is his rendition of a kids song entitled Bullfrogs and Butterflies. And the most amazing thing is that while completely different, both of those songs are entirely Barry McGuire.

While fame came with his 1965 hit, McGuires career actually started much earlier. Beginning in bars in the late 1950s, McGuire learned folk songs and played mostly because he couldnt believe he was getting paid for it. But in the early sixties McGuire became a member of the folk group, The New Christy Minstrels, playing with them for 3 years. During that time he penned the classic Green, Green for the group.

Leaving the New Christy Minstrels, McGuire floated until approached by Lou Adler, who put McGuire together with songwriter P.F. Sloan. The result, Eve of Destruction quickly rose to the Number one position on the charts. However, multiple factors, not the least of which was his hit being considered a fluke, inhibited his ability to follow that success.

In the early seventies, McGuire became a Christian and was baptized on Fathers Day in 1971. He quickly signed a recording deal with Myrrh Records, offering up three of the most memorable early albums of the Jesus movement, ==Seeds==, ==Lighten Up== and the live album with the Second Chapter of Acts entitled ==To The Bride==.

In the mid-seventies Word executive Billy Ray Hearn left Myrrh to start his own company, Sparrow Records. McGuire followed Hearn and several strong records including ==CMon Along== and ==Have You Heard==, as well as that famous record, ==Bullfrogs and Butterflies==. Then, finally out of contract and looking for a change, in 1984 McGuire moved with his wife to her native New Zealand.

I lived there until 1990, says McGuire. What happened was I got involved with %%World Vision%% there and came back to the states hoping to get involved in getting more kids sponsored.

While his work with World Vision in the United States faded out, McGuire continued his live performances throughout the early nineties. And then a chance reunion at a seemingly normal concert set the stage for a new phase in McGuires ministry.

{{Terry Talbot}} showed up one night, McGuire remembers. We were doing a concert somewhere and we started singing together backstage. It really worked. So in 1993, I started singing with Terry Talbot. Then we joked about working together and doing a record. Now we have. It is called ==When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth==.

In 1995 we did 35-40 concerts together. In 1996 we had over seventy booked. What we are doing isnt so much ministry. We just want to bring some joy and laughter to folks. There are lots of other good ministers out there. We just want to bring wholesome entertainment. And not everything we sing is necessarily Christian.

We will sing Help, Blowin In The Wind, When The Ship Comes In, McGuire continues. These songs can move people. We still do Eve of Destruction. It continues to be more true each and every year. Its more true now than it was when I recorded it.

When asked if he is where God wants him, McGuires response is typically upbeat and confident. I know that. Ive known that for quite a few years, now. I dont know where God is taking me. But I know I am right where God wants me. I know that God is in control of my life. One time a guy said to me, Youre a fatalist. I said, Absolutely. My faith is in the hands of my God and I know I can trust him. Is trusting God fatalism? If it is, then I am. (laughter). Its really simple. It takes all the pressure out of life.

Life goes on but sometimes we long for the past. Has that been a problem for McGuire, living with his past successes? No, Ive never missed them (the old days). They are great memories. I wouldnt change one of them. But I wouldnt want to do it again. Theyre nostalgic, wonderful moments when we get together, like with Annie (Herring) or Matthew (Ward) or Nellie (Greisen). We talk about the places weve been or the things we have done. Its misty eyes and warmth and hugs. But I dont think any of us would want to do it again. It was hard. Hard, hard, hard work. On the road 300 days a year. Its a tough way to make a living.