Tom Nichols is a professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, the man who stands perpetual watch at The War Room and a five-time Jeopardy! champion. Tom is also a guest judge in this year’s ACW contest for best lyric (existing or adapted) about the Bomb.

To help prompt new entries, I’ve asked Tom to suggest a few of his favorite lyrics. Here they are:

Over the past year, I’ve been teaching a course on Cold War culture, and my students have done some great sleuthing. Of course, it’s no surprise that Roger Waters of Pink Floyd was a big worrier about nuclear weapons, and during 1983 (the annis horribilis that was worse than we knew with things like the Able Archer scare), Waters wrote a song called “Two Suns in the Sunset:”

I suffer premonitions,
confirm suspicions,
of the holocaust to come;
The rusty wire that holds the cork
that keeps the anger in
gives way
and suddenly it’s day again;
The sun is in the east,
even though the day is done.
Two suns in the sunset — could be the human race is run.

I think I may have mentioned this one last year, but I’m bringing it up not only because it’s a great one, but because for nearly forty years I never realized that the Steely Dan song “King of the World” was about nuclear war; specifically, it’s a song by a guy in a shelter broadcasting to the wasteland looking for other survivors:

Hello one and all
Was it you I used to know
Can’t you hear me call