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The Kinks What do Van Halen, the Raincoats, Mott the Hoople, the Pretenders, Elvis Costello, Big Star, the Fall, Herman's Hermits, the Jam, Kristy Macoll, David Bowie and Blur have in common?

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Introduction

What do Van Halen, the Raincoats, Mott the Hoople, the Pretenders, Elvis Costello, Big Star, the Fall, Herman's Hermits, the Jam, Kristy Macoll, David Bowie and Blur have in common? Not a whole hell of a lot except that they've all done songs penned by Raymond Douglas Davies of course. The Kinks songbook of the '60s is varied and strong enough to get such a wide range of groups as fans. The band rode in on the British invasion with loud, unruly rockers but soon turned into a quirky, nostalgic outfit that made their best work totally out-of-synch with the rest of the music world: only Donovan was as out-of-it musically but Davies had a better ear for melodies and more thoughtful lyrics. When the band started out with a string of hits including "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All the Night," it looked like they were on top of the world and ready to stay there. Problems racked the band though including, for Ray, nervous breakdowns, blackouts, and drunken fits. As Ray put it, there was "jealousy, greed, resentment, misunderstanding" not to mention his storing money in footware. It was the pressure of touring, mistrust of managers and record companies and worst of all, an incident with the powerful American Federation of Musicians union. ...read more.

Middle

If that ain't modern love, nothing is. It's probably their best-liked album and there's a lot of good reason why. The runner-up or other best-loved Kinks album has to be VILLAGE GREEN, even if it mean their commercial low-point (which ought to tell you something). Ray took the controls for the first time and this meant not only no Shel Talmy but no songs from Dave either (either ego or saved up for his solo LP, I guess). Ray wasn't depressed anymore it seemed and he wasn't a working-class hero either- he seemed to find a country respite. Daydreams were the order of the day with the title track(s), a great lyrical ode to an old buddy ("people may change but memories of people still remain"), going through photos, old trains, the riverside and a farm. Other than the eye-popping cover and centerfold, Ray's only flirting with psychedelic music was a run-in with the cat from ALICE IN WONDERLAND and a "wicked witch" but these were more little kid's games than freaked-out turn-on's. Ray was wistful and longing (except for the anti-religion "Big Sky" where Ray promises "one day, we'll be free"), like never before or after. Lovely, sweet and catchy and a long way from "You Really Got Me," it was only really "pop" music by association except for his "Smokestack Lightning" cop and his witch song. ...read more.

Conclusion

to a label that's ready to back you with money and break you in the States again (Reprise) probably had something to do with it too. In any case, Ray went on to make things worse with crass music, fine-tuned for the radio and a tour of South Africa while Mandela rotted in a jail cell. Nevertheless, all the years of disgrace can't take away from a few years where he bucked the system that had bucked him and made lyrical, beautiful music that's not heard at all nowadays. SINGLES THAT THE KINKS DID ARE:- Sunny Afternoon/I'm Not Like Everybody Else (1966) Dead End Street/Big Black Smoke (1967) Mr. Pleasant/Harry Rag (1967) Waterloo Sunset/Two Sisters (1967) Death of A Clown/Love Me 'Til The Sun Shines (1967) Autumn Almanac/David Watts (1967) Susannah's Still Alive/Funny Face (1968) Wonderboy/Polly (1968) Days/She's Got Everything (1968) Starstruck/Picture Book (1969) Village Green Preservation Society/Do You Remember Walter? (1969) Victoria/Brainwashed (1969) Lola/Mindless Child of Motherhood (1970) Apeman/Rats (1970) God's Children/The Way Love Used To Be (1971) King Kong/Waterloo Sunset (1972) ALBUMS: FACE TO FACE (1967) SOMETHING ELSE BY THE KINKS (1968) THE KINKS ARE THE VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY (1969) ARTHUR OR THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE (1969) LOLA VS. POWERMAN AND THE MONEY-GO-ROUND (1970) PERCY (1971) (Live At the Kelvin Hall came out in '68 but it's not discussed here because it was a rehash of old hits) Craig Hull Expressive Arts 11GJS ...read more.

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