The Kinks: Life Goes On

21 Jun

The Kinks: Sleepwalker

The Kinks' 1977 album Sleepwalker

Birthday greetings to the man behind the Kinks, Ray Davies, who celebrates No. 67 today.

Here’s hoping Davies takes his birthday wishes literally, even if that’s not how he would have written them.

So many of Davies’ best lyrics, and they are numerous and hard to choose from, are tinged with double entendres, irony or satire. For instance:

  • “Well, I’m not the world’s most masculine man
    But I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man
    And so is Lola”
  • “We are the Village Green Preservation Society
    God save Donald Duck, vaudeville and variety
    We are the Desperate Dan Appreciation Society
    God save strawberry jam and all the different varieties”
  • “My girlfriend’s run off with my car,
    And gone back to her ma and pa,
    Telling tales of drunkenness and cruelty.
    Now I’m sitting here,
    Sipping at my ice cool beer”
  • “I think I’m so educated and I’m so civilized
    ‘Cos I’m a strict vegetarian
    But with the over-population and inflation and starvation
    And the crazy politicians
    I don’t feel safe in this world no more
    I don’t want to die in a nuclear war
    I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man”
  • “My bank went broke and my well ran dry.
    It was almost enough to contemplate suicide.
    I turned on the gas, but I soon realized
    I hadn’t settled my bill so they cut off my supply.”

You can listen to Davies’ work all day and all of the night — and he’s recorded enough music over the last 50 years to do just that — and not tire of it, then discover something missed on a cut played numerous times. It’s like watching a favorite movie over and over and over, and getting something new out of it when you watch it again.

Davies, from a 2011 story by Rachel Cooke at the guardian.co.uk (link below): “It’s not that I write in secret. I’m not an Emily Dickinson. But it’s a private world for me . . . not so much now, I’m more open these days. But when I started out I was shy about it because I suddenly had ideas that people were actually listening to. It was quite a big thing.”

From the liner notes of their 1964 self-titled album, their very first: “(Ray Davies) is the leader of The Kinks . . . He composes, listens politely to what the others have to say about his compositions, and then insists that they record exactly what he wrote in the first place.”

That’s how it went for most of the next 30-some years, except Ray probably listened to brother Dave less and less politely, and vice versa, until the band broke up in the mid-1990s. God couldn’t save The Kinks forever. But as Ray might say: Life goes on. Here’s hoping it goes on and on and on for him, and he keeps writing music about it.

Ray Davies interview from May 2011

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2 Responses to “The Kinks: Life Goes On”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Song Of The Weekend: Ray Davies – “I, The Victim” « Ed Robinson's Blog - November 5, 2011

    […] The Kinks: Life Goes On (davidjmarkowitzmusic.wordpress.com) […]

  2. “I, The Victim” – Ray Davies | Ed Robinson's Music Appreciation Blog - July 27, 2013

    […] The Kinks: Life Goes On (davidjmarkowitzmusic.wordpress.com) […]

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