The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.

  1. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Free-Form Sunday so I’ll jump into the MTV thing. When it first came out I had been living as a Mountain Man so, as I didn’t have electricity (!), I sure as hell didn’t have cable. But I then moved to Tokyo (with lots of electricity !! and the neon that goes with it) and, on the very first morning in my new neighborhood, came across a sign for the Peppermint Cafe and a declaration that it had MTV videos.

    So that’s where I first saw it (Neil Young and the Shocking Pinks ‘Wondering’, Billy Idol ‘Rebel Yell’ etc). The Master (who became my good friend) would receive videotaped MTV programming sent by a friend of his in L.A.

    I was enamored with it initially but was looking more for what Mark describes above (bands playing live). This would have been 1983? I think. (Yes, I just checked the Shocking Pinks song. August 1983. I started at Sophia University in September ‘83.)

    Then, later, Japanese tv had a show called ‘Best Hit USA’ that played the videos.

    Anyway, I was burnt out within two years (Live Aid time frame) and found myself completely disinterested in music videos. So from mid-85 it was back to records.
  2. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident


    Here is a short excerpt from a 1983 BBC production called Scenes From A Video Marriage, directed by Julien Temple. The full broadcast is called It’s All True. I have this on VHS in English, but all I could find on YouTube is this German dubbed version. It’s pretty bad, to be honest, and stars Ray and Mari Wilson. It may also include Thora Hird, veteran British actress and Alan Bennett favorite, as Mrs. B. When Ray is shocking the sportscaster it’s because he is reporting an Arsenal loss!
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2022
  3. Michael Streett

    Michael Streett Senior Member

    Florence, SC
    Thus quoth The Buggles: Video Killed The Radio Star. Yes. (sorry :D)

    It’s no accident this was the very first video aired when the network debuted in 1981.
  4. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Cape May, NJ
  5. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Ray on breakfast tv promoting State Of Confusion

  6. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    We get a brief glimpse of Frank Bough in that clip. Frank always looked like your grandad, but he was only 50 years old at that time. Strange that they end up talking about VGPS and Arthur - neither album charted in the UK and were probably very little known in the UK. Then we get "you haven't actually written a proper rock opera yet" - erm, Preservation, Soap Opera and Schoolboys would like a word!
  7. Brian x

    Brian x half-animate bean

    Los Angeles
    Free form Sunday/speculative edition

    Having literally turned my head away, walked out of bars, etc in order to avoid watching MTV in the '80s, I found myself a tangential witness to its peak and demise.

    It started with a high school friend directing B roll for a Susanna Hoffs video, led to traveling the world with various music video directors (as video budgets ballooned to stellar, madly unsustainable levels) and basically ended with Napster.

    One of my "jobs" (really just a series of ad hoc gigs) was to listen to a track, help the director come up with a concept, write it up into a pitch, and throw it into the pool of pitches from which the record company would award the job.

    Working w/ musicians including Bowie, Cranberries, Ozzy, Garbage, etc etc there was rarely any input from the artists on the videos' stories or visual design. Usually it was a director saying something like "I see a bunch of headless bodies somewhere in Vietnam," then me writing up a concept around it, then dealing with the record company's notes, then the musicians showing up & doing what the director said.

    I don't know if there's anything in print about how much RD influenced Julian Temple's concepts for the *dancing* videos, but if he played an important creative role he would've been a major outlier. (Which is what RD is in general so it wouldn't surprise me).
  8. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Come Dancing

    As I previously mentioned, a chance outing of the Come Dancing video on Entertainment USA seems to have had played a big part in this becoming a UK hit after it had been ignored on original release. As Ray once said, "the great thing about being an international band is that you are always famous somewhere else".

    Many memories around this single and, although I'm too young to remember the dance halls Ray was referencing here, when this single was released I was working in a large office and there were about fifteen or twenty older women also working there and the themes expressed in this song would be very familiar to them. They were working class south Londoners mostly from Southwark and Bermondsey and spoke exactly like Ray's mum in the song. I was foolish enough to mention this to one of them and received a withering look in response. They would listen to pop radio from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm every working day and when the song began to receive air play it would start them off reminiscing about this and that. I don't ever remember hearing a new Kinks single as much as this one but that may well be because I had no choice but to listen to pop radio five days a week. I had just moved to Muswell Hill when I bought this. It was the last Kinks single I would buy.

    Come Dancing is one of Ray's finest songs and the accompanying video is pure genius. A no-brainer-automatic qualification for my Kinks Greatest playlist.
  9. CheshireCat

    CheshireCat Forum Resident

    Come Dancing
    A great record by The Kinks. Ray's lyrics evoking his themes of nostalgia, urban regeneration and family all tied up in an irresistibly catchy tune. So many great little parts, from the spoken segment, to Dave's powering chords towards the latter part of the song. A deserved place back in the upper reaches of the charts. A shame it was a last hurrah, I see it being mentioned as the last great Kinks single, but there's several more of those to come. Anyway, Come Dancing is great, the video is great, and Ray's knowing 'wink' at a double-entendre of the title. Everything you'd want from The Kinks. Pretty well stayed in the setlist until the very end of Ray's performing years.
    Another great song, can't add any more than already said, especially by our Headmaster.
    Don't Forget To Dance
    A favourite from the album (and Mum's favourite), and if it wasn't in Ray's 'Come Dancing' musical - it should have been. A shame it never gained the traction that the 'jukebox musical' did. A beautiful song, and Ray's delivery is perfect. I can tell why it wasn't a big follow up hit though. A bit too good, and a bit too long perhaps. Maybe they should have released 'Property' instead.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2022
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  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    With today's little MTV sideline, here's a 1983 Ray interview on MTV

    Sorry it's one of those annoying only view on youtube things... it goes for about 8 minutes
  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    How fittingly Kinksian then that the Kinks blow their commercial career by releasing arguably their best Arista song as a single and at the completely wrong time to boot!
  12. donstemple

    donstemple Member of the Club

    Maplewood, NJ
    :eek: I, for one, did NOT see that coming!
  13. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    Free form Sunday:

    Last night I dreamed I was looking at the UK Record Collector writeup for the "How Are You" single, like those that @All Down The Line kindly posts. David Crosby was there, and referring to both that song and my own compositions, said derisively, "I write much longer melodies." I guess the guy is a jerk even in other people's dreams! :laugh: (For the record, I do love his music).

    Hmm...maybe I'm spending too much time on SHMF...
    I find this interesting! How did you feel when you saw the final videos? I suppose it was a range of "they pulled it off" to "terrible"? Do I understand you were involved working with the musicians? If so, I'm sure you have some good stories!
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2022
  14. Brian x

    Brian x half-animate bean

    Los Angeles
    Generally the ones I worked on turned out well, though I'm still not a huge fan of the genre, ironically. There were a couple that included dialogue/dramatic sequences I wrote, so that was a thrill.

    But yes the best thing was hanging out w/ the musicians, & going to the shows -- sometimes to film, sometimes just to watch & hang. In the spirit of free-form Sunday, & to indulge in some self-aggrandizing old man reminiscences, my favorite story from that time...

    I was working with a director, writing his video concepts and also supposedly *co-writing a film with him,* which consisted of following him around all over the world and having him shout out *cool concepts* between takes. He didn't pay much, but compensated me with various perks, including showing my unproduced scripts to various Hollywood players.

    Anyway, he booked Heart's Filthy Lesson/Strangers When We Meet, & I was on set to *consult* when he told me he'd given David Bowie one of my scripts. An hour later, he ran over and said "he's reading it." Half an hour later: "He likes it!" Half an hour later: "He wants to talk to you!"

    So the first words one of my half dozen absolute rock & roll gods spoke to me were "you're brilliant, man, can I be in your film?"

    The movie never got made, even with DB attached to star. But those words kept me working through the worst setbacks and lowest lows that followed. I still think back on them when I'm feeling like a fraud. David ****ing Bowie. The whole detour into writing music video pitches was justified by that.
  15. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Cape May, NJ
    That is really cool what you did!
  16. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Cape May, NJ
    What a great story! Do you still write scripts, screenplays?
  17. Brian x

    Brian x half-animate bean

    Los Angeles
    ha, thanks. I mostly write for tv/streaming now.
  18. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    I actually like a fair share of what I have been listening to from Ray's solo stuff!
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Very Cool
  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Heart Of Gold.

    stereo mix, recorded Jan 1983 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Growing up isn't easy to do,
    Especially for one who always knew,
    You would always come up second best.
    Is that why you have such bitterness?

    The apple of your father's eye,
    And always by your brother's side.
    Then a little sister came along,
    And you found all the affection suddenly gone.

    But underneath that cold exterior
    I know you've got a heart of gold.
    So aloof, so superior,
    But you've got a heart of gold.

    Watch out, don't get caught in the crossfire.
    Watch out, she's still growing up, she's in a rage,
    I guess she's reached that difficult age.

    Growing up is very hard to do,
    Everyone watching your every move.
    Your private life always on view,
    But jealousy never really suited you.
    But I know that

    Underneath that rude exterior,
    There's got to be a heart of gold.
    Underneath that hard exterior,
    Is a little girl waiting to be told,
    You've got a heart of gold.
    She's got a heart of gold.

    I couldn't understand your attitude.
    I only wanted to take a photograph of you,
    But I was shocked when I heard what you had to say.
    You picked up my camera, threw it away,
    I didn't really mean to ruin your day.

    Now I see you've got a little girl of your own.
    Little princess certainly grown,
    And there's a man, he's smiling at you.
    He must have been the one who always knew.
    You had a heart of gold.

    Underneath that rude exterior,
    You've got a heart of gold.
    So aloof, so superior,
    But you've got a heart of gold.
    Underneath that rude exterior,
    You've got a heart of gold.
    Underneath that hard exterior,
    You've got a heart of gold.

    Watch her, she'll give you a broadside,
    But I know that inside,
    She got a heart of gold.

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray Music Ltd.

    This is a somewhat Muswell Hillbillies type song, that kind of feels like an Alt-country type track... perhaps Americana... I don't know, genre's leave me blank to be honest.

    According to Ray this was written about the birth of his daughter with Chrissie, Natalie, in 1983.
    Ray said "I wrote about it imagining I was a photographer, but really it was about Chrissie having her first baby. Both she and Princess Anne seem to be quite anonymous people at times."

    John Mendelsohn said "in a better world, 'Heart of Gold'...would have been an even bigger hit than 'Come Dancing.'".

    I don't know if this is Chrissie's real story, or in fact if it is a hybrid of people. Some have said that there are some Princess Anne moments in the song, but I am not altogether sure of that.
    But either way, a sad portrait is painted of someone who was the light of their father's eye, until the next daughter came along, and everyone loves the new kid, it's always the same it seems... and the youngster always gets spoiled, because the older kid broke all the barriers down, and the parents figured they were starting to get this parenting thing down, and things relax.

    The basic premise is of someone who has a beautiful heart, but the circumstances of the world have created that hard outer crust, and sometimes it may seem that they are as hard inside as they are outside. Regardless of male or female this can often be the case sadly....
    Ray asks if the withdrawal of love as a young girl is what caused the bitterness inside, and goes on to describe her as cold, hard, rude and fronting with a superiority complex ... and I can't imagine any female I have ever known being particularly happy with being described that way, but in typical Ray fashion, he manages to soften it up to where it isn't a series of insults, but a series of understanding acknowledgements of the who and why, and to good effect states in many different ways that she has a heart of gold, and don't be fooled by the facade.... the necessary facade to not feel too vulnerable in an ugly world ... this woman has a beautiful heart, but she may hiss at you if you come at her in the wrong way ... and I know guys like that too.... "we are all of us in the gutter, but some of us looking at the stars" ....

    There are quite a few angles to this lyric. We start off with the description of how this woman arrived at the point she was at.
    The hint that this is someone famous comes with the lines about "Everyone watching your every move, Your private life always on view".
    Then we have part of the softening process of the way Ray wrote this. Sure you have this rude, hard exterior, you're just waiting for someone brave enough to get close enough to see, and say, that you have a heart of gold.

    Ray plays the photographer in the song and the next verse is a little opaque with the references to just wanting to take your picture and I didn't understand attitude and was shocked at what you said... it leaves me slightly unsure of the angle there.... but the camera being thrown away and the apology for ruining her day, seems to merely indicate that she wanted a bit of privacy in the moment.

    But then the lyric becomes very relatable...
    I see you have your own little girl now, and you are all grown up now, little princess...
    There's this man smiling at you, and it appears he is the one who was brave enough to step into the ring, because he realises that you have a heart of gold, and the bluff and bluster didn't scare him off.

    The last lines are interesting because I wonder if the context has now changed to the daughter/baby spoken of. Watch out, because she will give you a broadside.... that moment in life when you realise what a hard thing dealing with a child is, and how the flow of life will likely come back at you.... This beautiful little baby is going to grow a crust of her own one day, and that is going to hurt you, but just remember when it happens, that underneath that facade she is still your baby girl, and she has a heart of gold.

    This is a typically unusual portrait, and Ray paints it beautifully, and it brings home the point that one of the great things about the way Ray writes his lyrics, is the fact that he generally seems to come at it from an odd angle, shedding light into dark areas that we haven't necessarily seen from the perspective put forth.

    The further I go through this album, the more it seems like a concept that has been scattered...

    Come Dancing - the opening reflection
    Heart Of Gold - seeing their true love and the seed of their future
    Labour Of Love - working hard to keep it together
    Definite Maybe - the world interrupts
    Young Conservatives - societal changes interrupt
    Cliches Of The World - fairly self explanatory
    Property - it's all over
    State Of Confusion - his world is falling apart
    Don't Forget to Dance - her reflections on opportunities lost
    Long Distance - his reflections on a call that isn't going to come....

    I don't know... that's probably silly, but I think about these things. That order probably wouldn't work anyway :)

    Anyhow.... the music
    The song builds up into a neat little country-type jaunt.
    Ray sings this with a sweet compassion and a melody to hang your hat on.
    We have this sort of somewhat jolly track that bounces along like a car ride in the country.
    We get layers coming to give us some really nice tickling of the ears.
    The bridge changes it up nicely, without losing the feel, and Ray's delivery has a part apologetic, part annoyed with himself delivery.
    We roll back around to the somewhat joyous flowing beauty.

    This is a wonderful little song.

    Smiler, CheshireCat, The MEZ and 19 others like this.
  21. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I like this, but it's a shame that Ray and Dave's vocals don't blend better in the chorus - they feel a bit disjointed. I'm enjoying side 2 much more than side 1!
  22. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    I'm a little confused (happens a lot) but who is the little sister to come along to replace Anne in her father's affection?
  23. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    You're brilliant, man, can we read your script ? :)

    Heart of Gold… This was my instant favorite when I got the album and a decisive song for me, because it proved that the Kinks, my Kinks, were always around the corner, in any given LP, no matter which one, no matter when, no matter what everybody else was saying. And it proved true., as I have favorites everywhere, on Word of Mouth, on Think Visual, on Phobia, on the box sets, on the bootlegs, on the CD EP’s, er, even on UK Jive… And this song was the eye opener, because it’s set in an old comfortable Kinks style, a bouncy pop slightly alt. country vibe, exactly what I need to feel perfectly at home. It could be on Lola or Show-biz (think Motorway) with very little change, resonator guitar and all, amiable strumming, minor chord changes, subtle and warm Ray delivery and phrasing, customary shambolic brotherly blend, this is perfect (and I've just noticed that the guitar lick after the "watch out" section is almost note for note the John Gosling piano bit at the end of Strangers). The Chrissie Hynde thing’s never fascinated me all that much, and it seems the lyrics are very specific. In those cases, I always react the same way : I don’t have the slightest fascination for celebrities life but I do register that it’s specific and intimate, I get the feel of that intimacy without trying to figure things out. The sentiment of a good Kinks lyrics always makes its way into the melody anyway. The verse here is a case in point: it starts like an agreeable promenade, then shifts towards more emotion (descending bass, minor chord change) before coming to terms with things and launching into the sympathetic (but quietly humorous ?) chorus. Love the bridge too and I adore the sound of it all, this smooth almost Eagles type of sound, embellished by gorgeous bass and wonderful harpsichord touches. My favorite song on this record will always be Don’t Forget to Dance, but this one’s close behind and proved the Kinks of old were always there, somewhere, and would be there, scattered in all the records, up until the very last one. And yes, the pun is intentional !
  24. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    I had a bit of a revelation about this one a couple of weeks ago. It's about someone who was a happy little kid until a younger sibling came along to take the attention away from them. Remind you of anyone? Is Ray actually writing about himself here??

    I'll write some more about this one later, when I'm not sitting on a beach...
  25. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    From this first time I heard this in 1997, I've always been struck by how (given it's inspiration, I would say definitely 100% intentional) Pretenders-esque in delivery it is, in particular one song, the near contemporary Back On The Chain Gang.. seriously, with the breezy verse/chorus, and the minor jangling of the bridge, (to me anyway) it's practically a Rutles style (and that's not meant as a diss) 'writing around' of the 1982 Pretenders hit that I'm convinced was done entirely on purpose by Ray as a form of tribute to Chrissie.

    Something related that just struck me: not to get too pride before a fall self congratulatory about it, but it speaks highly of Kinks fandom I think that I've never once seen Chrissie being pilloried in that sexist way that the likes of Yoko and Courtney Love often are: I'm actually surprised I've never seen that happen (not that I think it would be a good idea or want to inspire anyone!).

    Last edited: Jun 6, 2022

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