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In The Heat Of The Summer, song lyrics

Song: In The Heat Of The Summer
Lyrics: Phil Ochs(1)

Music: Phil Ochs
Year: 1965(2)
Genre: Folk
Country: USA

In the heat of the summer,
When the pavements were burning.
The soul of a city was ravaged in the night,
After the city sun was sinkin'.

Now no one knows how it started;
Why the windows were shattered,
But deep in the dark, someone set the spark,
And then it no longer mattered.

Down the streets they were rumbling.
All the tempers were raging.
Oh, where, oh, where are the white silver tongues,
Who forgot to listen to the warnings?
This song was originally posted on
On and on came the angry.
No longer following reason.
And all the stores were the target now.
Where just the other day they were buyin'.

Drunk with the memory of the ghetto.
Drunk with the lure of the looting.
And the memory of the uniforms shoving with their sticks,
Asking, "are you looking for trouble? "

"No, no, no," moaned the mayor.
"It's not the way of the order.
Oh stay in your homes, please leave us alone
We'll be glad to talk in the morning."
This song was originally posted on
"For shame, for shame," wrote the papers.
"Why the hurry to your hunger?
Now the rubble's resting on your broken streets.
So see what your rage has unraveled."

Baricades sadly were risin',
Bricks were heavily flyin',
And the loudspeaker drowned like a whisperin' sound,
When compared to the angered emotions.

And when the fury was over,
And the shame was replacing the anger.
So wrong, so wrong, but we've been down too long,
And we had to make somebody listen.
In the heat of the summer.


1 - Phil Ochs (1940 - 1976) biography.

2 - From the album, "I ain't marching anymore", released in 1965, comes the song description, "Scenes and images of the riots last summer in Harlem. As is ususally the case, the loudest bursts of outrage came from those most responsible for the debacle." Those riots occured in the summer of 1964.

3 - Harlem riot of 1964 information from Wikipedia