Tag Archives: The Kinks

The Kinks – Strangers (1970)

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Beloved by diehard Kinks fans, ‘Strangers’ featured on their 1970 LP Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One, but was never released as a single. The Dave Davies line “If I live too long, I’m afraid I’ll die” was inspired by his old school friend George Harris. They were going to start a band, but Harris succumbed to bad habits and eventually died of a meth overdose. “Strangers on this road we are on/we are not two we are one.”

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The Kinks – I Go To Sleep (1965)

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The Kinks Kinda

The Pretenders may have made this song their own with their inferior cover, but ‘I Go To Sleep’ was in fact another piece of genius from Ray Davies. The lo-fi demo feel of the track gives it a real sense of modernity. It would be released as a bonus track on a 1998 reissue of their sophomore album Kinda Kinks. However, the Kinks never in fact played the Davies demo. Have a great weekend.

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Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (2010)

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Arcade Fire photo

For me, the title track is the best song on Arcade Fire’s 2010 grandstanding album The Suburbs. I can hear The Kinks, I can hear Bowie… need I say any more?

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The Doors – Love Street (1968)

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The Doors

Last week’s Mark/Almond Band post had me thinking about The Doors and the keyboard work of Ray Manzarek. Sadly, Manzarek passed away last year. Preceded by ‘Hello, I Love You’, ‘Love Street’ was the second track on The Doors’ 1968 album Waiting for the Sun. The album’s opening tribute to The Kinks signals something less gloomy to the Lizard’s prolific output the year before. The whimsical ‘Love Street’ was where Jim Morrison lived in Laurel Canyon with his girlfriend Pamela Courson.

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The Kinks – You Really Got Me (1964)

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The Kinks yeah

Written by Ray Davies for The Kinks, ‘You Really Got Me’ was one of the earliest rock tracks built around power chords. As such, their third single is seen as a progenitor of the punk single and became a blueprint for a swathe of rock music that followed. Protopunksters Lou Reed and Iggy Pop would take note.

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Cowbell – Never Satisfied (2012)

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Cowbell

Garage rock today still bears the hallmarks of White Blood Cells (2001) and the subsequent mainstream success of The White Stripes. The influence of the duo’s format and stripped-down set-up is evident in the work of Jack Sandham and Wednesday Lyle’s Cowbell. At the same time, the sound of ‘Never Satisfied’ reveals a glorious echo of bands like The Kinks, Small Faces, The Zombies etc.

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The Kinks – Death Of A Clown (1967)

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Dave Davies

On The Jam’s All Mod Cons, English Rose‘ followed their rendition of ‘David Watts’. But on The Kinks‘ 1967 album Something Else, the original Mr. Watts was succeeded by ‘Death Of A Clown’. In 1994, I took a train home from London Waterloo. It was late and I’d had a skin full. I park myself and sitting right opposite me is Ray Davies. After convincing myself it was true, I told him how much I loved his work. He thanked me and I inferred that he (and his female companion) would just love to chat. I recall telling him how much I liked the “that song… you know, the one about the clown”. I was not at my most lucid. He said he didn’t know what I was talking about. I’ve since realised that this was one of the few songs written by his oft-feuding brother Dave. And to make things worse, I’d selected a song in which Ray’s first wife sings the supporting vocals. The sun set on my Waterloo conversation.

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Cockney Rebel – Tumbling Down (1975)

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It was glam rock, but not as others were doing it. Listening to The Psychomodo is an unusual experience to say the least. Unlike the 1970s music hall of The Kinks, Steve Harley’s Cockney Rebel were never able to convert their variety show Englishness into overseas success. I skip the more celebrated goofiness (‘Mr Soft’), decadence (‘Ritz’), prog (‘Cavaliers’) and carnival (title track) to pull out the album’s relieving and closing ballad ‘Tumbling Down’. The ‘song’ goes to show how unimportant lyrics can be – “Me, I regard it a tortuous hardship that smoulders/like a peppermint eaten away/will I fight, will i swagger or sway?” The Beasties would have liked that one.

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The Kinks – Sitting in My Hotel (1972)

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Off the Kinks’ superb-but-often-overlooked 1972 album, Everybody’s in Show-Biz, ‘Sitting in My Hotel’ draws on Ray Davies’ life as a performer and the reality of chauffeur-driven jam jars and lonely hotel rooms. Quite beautiful. Have a great weekend.

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