The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Yes, no doubt that could be one way to read it. As we've seen, Ray's lyrics can often be interpreted in more ways than one.
     
  2. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Yes, it was a great experience. Because of it we we were able to travel to Europe where we met a Scottish couple in a Paris restaurant one evening. My wife at one point in the conversation mentioned that we were able to go on this trip thanks to Netflix and gave details. One of the guys exclaimed, "I watched that whole season for a week when I was sick!" It made the world feel a little smaller.
     
  3. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :D I vaguely recall Carole King being asked about this shampoo ad around the time it was running. She mentioned that she wasn't even sure who was in charge of Aldon publishing at that point, and that it didn't really matter because although this was a #1 hit, it was never part of her stage repertoire:

     
  4. idleracer

    idleracer Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    :kilroy: I can't think of anything that hasn't already been said, except that I've always wondered whether or not the bass line of this 1966 single might have at least been a subliminal inspiration:



    The Guess Who / It's My Pride
     
    SeeDubs, Steve E., ajsmith and 2 others like this.
  5. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I like that proto-punk record a lot but it never charted anywhere and I would be surprised if Ray had ever heard it.
     
  6. charliez

    charliez Charlie Zip

    That’s so funny - I was that guy! Nice to see you here! And glad you liked the show!
     
  7. Safeway 2

    Safeway 2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manzanillo Mexico.
    Picture Book- Memory and preservation are further explored in this incredibly catchy tune describing the family tradition of flipping through the picture albums. Ray takes the stance of bemused social scientist, finding the tradition amusing but fully accepting its significance. I'm old enough to remember photo albums (non digital) and I still occasionally drag them out of the closet to reminisce. Who knows? You might even see an old photo of "Walter"
     
  8. Audiobernd

    Audiobernd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austria
    Sorry to interrupt, but just wanted to say that all of you who said, "Harry Rag" was about cigarettes, were right.

    Carry on
     
    The MEZ, Zeki and mark winstanley like this.
  9. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    That sounds like my first impression of Come Together. It warmed on me though. :D
     
    mark winstanley likes this.
  10. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Had been thinking along similar lines and also if I wonder Ray could had any original Germanic thoughts in choosing the name Walter as I assume it may well have been popular there?
     
    mark winstanley likes this.
  11. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Very good call an audiovisual slice of Kinks pye is long overdue!
     
  12. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques Somebody's Bad Handwroter

    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Oh man I love seeing stuff like this. Of COURSE you’re a member of SHTV! I’m gonna have to seek out this show now
     
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Johnny Thunder.

    This is one of the songs that grabbed me instantly.

    There is somewhat a dual inspiration for the character in this track. We have Marlon Brando's character in The Wild One, and also a guy from Ray and Dave's hometown.
    Ray says - "All rebels look like Marlon Brando on a motorbike, but they don't wear a bowler hat," ... he also describes him as a Neal Cassady type character
    Dave says - "There was a guy that I knew that I thought Ray modeled Johnny Thunder after. He was a loner, and he'd drive around and didn't say much. In the middle of Muswell Hill, there's a big roundabout, where you go 'round just before the hill itself. It's very steep. This guy used to sped on his bike 'round the roundabout and the story has it one day his footrest hit the road and he toppled and that was the end of Johnny Thunder. But Ray has different memories of that."

    Apparently New York Dolls Guitarist Johnny thunders took his stage name from the song/character.

    Author Andy Miller speculates that this riff was used in The Who's Overture and Go To The Mirror.

    Ray has said that it "would be nice to hear The Who sing it"

    stereo mix (2:29), recorded Apr 1968 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    Johnny Thunder lives on water, feeds on lightning.
    Johnny Thunder don't need no one, don't want money.
    And all the people of the town,
    They can't get through to Johnny, they will never, ever break him down.
    Johnny Thunder speaks for no one, goes on fighting.
    And sweet Helena Dulette(Dulaine?) prays for Johnny.

    Ba ba-ba ba ba-ba ba,
    Ba ba-ba ba ba-ba ba,
    Thunder and lightning.
    Ba ba-ba ba ba-ba ba,
    Ba ba-ba ba ba-ba ba,
    Thunder and lightning.

    Though everybody tried their best,
    Old Johnny vowed that he would never, ever end up like the rest.
    Johnny Thunder rides the highway, moves like lightning.
    But sweet Helena just says, "God bless Johnny."

    Ba ba-ba ba ba-ba ba,
    Ba ba-ba ba ba-ba ba,
    Thunder and lightning.
    Ba ba-ba ba ba-ba ba,
    Ba ba-ba ba ba-ba ba,
    Thunder and lightning.

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Noma Music, Inc./Hi-Count Music, Inc. BMI

    Lyrics for "Johnny Thunder" kindakinks.net

    Johnny Thunder is the archetypical rebel, and we have a fairly sparse lyric in some ways. Whereas Ray had become a little more wordy over the years, here we have a lyric that is fairly short and to the point.

    As I was saying yesterday, I kind of hear a natural progression in these songs, and Ray has been looking at the photo album in picture book, and that has triggered more memories, and now he is remembering the biker dude from his past. The rebel of the town who probably captured all the young guys imaginations..... and likely lots of the girls also.

    Johnny lives his own life the way he wants to live it, whether rightly or wrongly, he wants to live outside the norm. He doesn't want to be another worker drone. He doesn't want to be anybody's hero, he just wants to live his life, the way he wants to.
    There is a sort of James Dean, Rebel Without A Cause thing going on here also. Johnny doesn't want to conform. The people of the town couldn't convince Johnny to settle down. Sweet Helena is praying for Johnny though.

    Johnny is a live to ride kinda guy, and I think the feeds on lightening lyric is speaking to racing around on his bike .... I wonder if we are looking at a Norton, BSA.... Harley? anyway ... The lyric is pretty straight forward and works well, but for me it is the music here that makes this one stand up.

    Again we have an intro..... Ray seems to generally write songs with the novelists approach, a beginning a middle and an end.

    We open with a short vamp on the D chord, and although I haven't done a transcription we have a couple of possibilities here..... it's either a suspended second and a suspended fourth that gives us out opening riff, or the relative chords to those inversions with an A and a G.

    The drums again come in beautifully, and the bass here is great. It has this excellent walking melody thing going on that really adds a backbone to the song.

    In some ways this is a more straight forward chord progression, but it does exactly what it needs to and we get this very memorable melody .... To be honest, in my mind this is another track that could have been a successful single.

    Again the arrangement works really well and it isn't really a standard layout for the song.
    The opening two lines don't get repeated in the second verse, we move straight to the third and fourth lines.

    The chorus is actually quite a simple affair with the ba babada ba ba ba and thunder and lightening.

    Again this song fits perfectly in with the flow, and I think it manages to maintain the loose thematic link well.
    I don't really have much more for this track, but I think it is a great song, and from my reading over the years, it seems like this is generally a favourite song on here for a majority of people.


     
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Johnny Thunder alt mix with studio chat.

    We get a little banter at the beginning.
    the song doesn't sound too different, but there are some subtle differences in the mix here. The drums are a little more forward, and the bass a little further back. Which actually seems to lock them more tightly together.

     
  15. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Here is the stereo mix

    Again a slightly different sound here, with the way the instruments interact.... and here the backing vocals seem a little more forward.

     
  16. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    There is also a music backing track on the big box, but it is apparently not available on youtube
     
  17. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Wow, I'd never really noticed how minimal the lyrics are! Great song nonetheless. And of course, the character that would return for Preservation.
     
  18. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Lalalalala-la-la ! I never get enough of the Kinks’ lalala’s and ooh-ooh’s. I could even go as far as saying they’re some of my favorite Ray Davies lyrics! And when you get to the “Babababababa” section, you understand why the Turtles would be hiring Ray as producer for their next – and last – LP.
    Anyway, that Johnny song is another little gem, an affectionate portrait of a colorful outcast, written with customary humor and wit. I totally hear how this song could be on Tommy (even though I don't specifically hear Go to the Mirror). I absolutely adore the wide sounding acoustic strumming/riff, it’s so full and sweet I guess it must be done on an acoustic 12 strings, right ? It does sound a lot like Supertramp’s 1977 hit Give a Little Bit.
    Yes. As we dive deeper into Side A, one consistent wonder is Avory’s drumming. I’ll admit that prior to this thread, I’d never noticed how prominent the drums are and how they consistently give edge and power to otherwise mostly delicate tunes.
     
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Same. I can't say I had ever really noticed his drumming prior to doing this thread
     
  20. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    The opening riff really reminds me of the opening of Eddie Cochran’s ‘Three Steps To Heaven’: I’ve never seen anyone else point this out, but it seems plain as pie to me. And surely that can’t be a coincidence: 50s era rebel who died young in a traffic accident: the James Dean/how Dave remembers the ‘real’ Johnny Thunder parallels are right there (although as we later hear in this songs sequel, the fictional Johnny Thunder lived to get old before he died).
     
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Nice pick. Not actually familiar with that song, but it has the same melodic movement in the opening guitar.
     
    All Down The Line and ajsmith like this.
  22. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Re: Ray saying this song would have suited The Who (which I totally hear): Roger Daltrey has for years said how much he always thought ‘Pictures Of Lily’ sounded like a Kinks song to him (must be the descending chord pattern) and even tried to get Ray to guest sing lead on it on one date during his 1994 ‘Daltrey Sings Townshend’ tour: Ray being Ray naturally refused, but I always thought it was a shame he didn’t take that opportunity to offer Daltrey a ‘Bargain’ and respond ‘Ok, I’ll do it: but only on the condition you record Johnny Thunder like I always wanted you to!’
     
  23. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    Johnny Thunder
    I'll be critical where the songs warrant it (I won't hold back when we get to the Kinks equivalent of Yellow Submarine or Maxwell's Silver Hammer... ) but this is another Kinks song I really love. Unlike the previous song on the album this has a slow chugging riff yet the lyrics are just as visual.

    If lightning is a bike reference there was a mid-powered BSA Lightning around this time. But I think the devil-may-care Johnny would more likely have ridden a high-powered Vincent Black Lightning which were made a decade earlier (and a bike I'd gladly swap a couple of non-vital body parts for :D ).

    One thing I note, which may not mean anything, is that this is the only song on the album apart from the opener that mentions God (God bless Johnny). I'm unsure why Ray included this in the lyric apart from poetic license.

    Anyway. I do love singing along to this song.
     
    Zeki, pablo fanques, zipp and 7 others like this.
  24. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Johnny Thunder
    Another great song that fits in well with the soft, idyllic mood. I agree with Ray that it would be a good fit for Daltrey and Sell-Out era Who.
     
  25. Orino

    Orino Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Ah nuts, falling behind.

    Picture Book

    Yes, this song probably makes less sense to young 'uns, now, when almost everything is photographed immediately, by everyone. Once a camera was an expensive, or luxury item. Taking a picture was only done for a special occasion. So a "picture book" (or rather "photo album", which admittedly doesn't scan as well) really was a collection of significant moments, even if it was just a particularly sunny day when the kids were all playing out. And in a physical photo album, months or years can pass between one or two pages.

    There's the rub. I recall when cheaper cameras came in and a woman I worked with brought in some (printed) pics of her baby nephew. Ok, cool. But there were about eighty pictures, taken literally one after the other, and she went through them one by one, and I wanted to scream..

    My point is, a single picture is more precious because our minds, memories, or our imaginations, fill in the gaps.. the act of remembering things is important too.. as is the act of (gasp) forgetting. I prefer the incomplete personal memories of good times, with only the odd photographic reminder to prompt a reminiscence. (I won't iphone film live concerts, for example.) I think that's what the song is getting at, or at least that's what it means to me.
    --
    And yes, what young person wants to think about ageing, or preserving memories, when life is 'happening'? Though the scowling teen in the family portrait will probably look back at the picture fondly in twenty years, while hating it at the time.

    No wonder this album is resonating with us, haha.. is there anyone here under 25? I mean, it resonated plenty with me at that age.. I just loved the songs, but the album then was already over 30 years old and maybe it seemed a safe relic, with nothing to really disturb the young psyche. But even as I get older I don't find VGPS melancholic or wistful.. it feels alive and vibrant.. even now, when I listen to it, to quote (sorry) Captain Kirk, "I feel young"..

    Johnny Thunder
    Not much to say here, except it's yet another excellent song that could possibly have made a single. Never read the lyric before, no huge surprises though. Nice to get away from the village green and gentle reminiscences we've had so far, onto tarmac and petrol fumes. While I can imagine oldsters tutting at this seeming surly tearaway, he feels like a romantic local hero of sorts.

    Is this album then not simply about holding onto the past, but preserving the confidence and optimism of youth? Your James Deans and Eddie Cochrans, after their premature deaths, were immortalised as forever hip, maverick young rebels. Johnny Thunder seems like another fixed-in-time memory, a youthful ideal, one whose non-conformism and autonomy is also worth remembering.
     

Share This Page

molar-endocrine