This song was composed by Vern Partlow in 1945. Partlow had interviewed nuclear weapons scientists for the Los Angeles Daily News in the early fall of 1945. They told him what the effects of a nuclear war might be like, which deeply alarmed Partlow, and led him to write this song before the end of the year. Immediately, it was a great success, then, after the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, many people feared nuclear warfare.

(Wheeeeeeeeeee! – Sound of bomb dropping)

(Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Alamogordo, Bikini)

I’m gonna preach you all a sermon about Old Man Atom, that’s me
I don’t mean the Adam in the Bible datum
I don’t mean the Adam that Mother Eve elated
I mean the thing that science liberated
The thing that Einstein says he’s scared of
And when Einstein’s scared, brother, you’d better be scared

If you’re scared of the Atom
Here’s what you gotta do
You got to get all the people in the world with you
‘Cause if you don’t get together and do it
Well, first thing you know
I’m gonna blow this world plum through

(Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Alamogordo, Bikini)

Now, life used to be such a simple joy
My cyclotron was just a super toy
And folks got born, they’d work and marry
And ‘Atom’ was a word in the dictionary
And then it happened

The science boys from every clime
They all pitched in with overtime
And before they knew it, the thing was done
And they’d hitched up the power of the gosh-durn sun
And put a harness on Old Sol
Splittin’ atoms while the diplomats was splittin’ hairs

(Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Alamogordo, Bikini)

But the Atom’s here in spite of hysteria
Flourishes in Utah, as well as Siberia
And whether you’re black, white, red or brown
The question is this when you boil it down
To be or not to be, that’s the question

The answer to it all ain’t military datum
Like who gets there firstest with the mostest atoms
No, the people of the World must decide their fate
They gotta get together or disintegrate
I hold this truth to be self-evident
That all men may be cremated equal

(Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Alamogordo, Bikini)

Yes, it’s up to the people, ’cause atoms don’t care
You can’t fence me in, I’m just like air
I don’t give a hoot about any politics
Or who got what into whatever fix
All I wanta to do is sit around
And have my nucleus bombarded by neutrons

Now the moral is this, just as plain as day
That Old Man Atom is here to stay
I’m gonna stick around, and that’s for true
But, ah, my dearly beloved, are you?
So, listen folks, here is my thesis
Peace in the world, or the world in pieces!

(Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Alamogordo, Bikini)

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