The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. jethrotoe

    jethrotoe Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    It's a re-write of an unreleased Ray song from 1966 called "Yes Man."
     
  2. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Interesting. Would love to hear that. With this 1969 recording they certainly make it sound like an earlier tune.
     
  3. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Unsurprisingly ‘Plastic Man’ was far from a regular in The Kinks live sets, although according to this link they somewhat incongruously busted it out during their 1981 Reading Festival show. Not sure if I actually believe that, but it’d be cool if they did. Don’t suppose anyone knows if there’s a recording out there?

    The Kinks Setlist at Reading Festival 1981
     
    mark winstanley and croquetlawns like this.
  4. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    I checked this out w/Doug Hinman's All Day and All of the Night book & the only songs mentioned were YRGM, ADAAOTN & "Lola", the latter not mentioned at that set list link.
     
    mark winstanley and ajsmith like this.
  5. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Yeah, at best (if it’s not entirely fictional) that online set list can’t be complete, as they would have done a longer set than 6 songs at a festival and they would also probably have done a majority of post 60s songs (with ‘Lola’ a given). Still, I hold out a hope that’s there’s truth to the ‘Plastic Man’ listing, the thought of a 1981 version boggles the mind…
     
  6. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Plastic Man
    I make no apologies for loving this song. It's is so very funny and from seeing the Beat Club video of their performance, you can see Ray is getting a kick out of it. Like is this song a send-up of a hit record? I'm thinking perhaps. "Let's see what we can get away with." I mean "plastic bum"...no other song in the world has backing vocals echoing "plastic bum". Hysterical.

    I love the exaggerated cockney accent and the twangy western guitar that leads off the song.
    sure, maybe the song is a bit novelty, but I don't care. It's catchy as all get out!
     
  7. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    A-ha! that's the song I was thinking of when listening to Plastic Man. I was too tired to come up with it though, so thanks!
     
    ajsmith, Fortuleo, FJFP and 2 others like this.
  8. A well respected man

    A well respected man Some Mother's Son

    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    Thank you guys!

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    You got that right! :D
     
    ajsmith, sharedon, Wondergirl and 2 others like this.
  10. skisdlimit

    skisdlimit Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    Nice post! :righton: Interesting observation about "Lady Madonna" I hadn't thought of, but can definitely hear on second listen. In fact, I could probably list several Kinks/Beatles counterparts (all the better to bore you with):

    You Really Got Me/Twist and Shout (out and out rockers even though one of these is a cover)
    A Well Respected Man/Nowhere Man (similarly titled and themed)
    Dead End Street/Eleanor Rigby (both about lost people - their fans perhaps?)
    Waterloo Sunset/Here Comes The Sun (perfect pop songs referencing the sun)
    Lola/Hey Jude (stadium singalong anthems)
    Ape Man/I Am The Walrus (animal silliness with a bit[e] of social satire)
    Victoria/Her Majesty (same subject, maybe?)

    Well, I digress (and don't really expect anyone to agree)...as for "Plastic Man" I err on the side of liking this tune (it's gotta be that plastic bum! :laugh:), even though I do acknowledge it as being one of their lesser singles, certainly when compared to the greatness of something like "Days" released not too long before. I haven't got much else to add here other than to say that some of the analyses above are very good, and a joy to read. :)
     
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    King Kong.

    mono mix (3:21), recorded early Mar 1969 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London

    I'm King Kong and I'm ten feet long,
    Got a big six gun and everybody is scared.
    I'm King Kong, got a hydrogen bomb,
    I can blow up your houses so you better beware.

    Everybody wants power,
    Everybody wants fame.
    Everybody wants money.
    La-la-la-la-la, King Kong.
    La-la-la-la-la,
    Little man's weak and big man's strong,
    Everyone wants to be King Kong, oh yeah.

    I'm King Kong, I got so much money,
    I can buy anybody who gets in my hair.
    I'm King Kong, and I'm big and strong,
    I can blow up your houses so you better beware.

    Everybody wants power,
    Everybody wants fame.
    Everybody wants money.
    La-la-la-la-la, King Kong.
    La-la-la-la-la,
    Little man's weak and big man's strong,
    Everyone wants to be King Kong, oh yeah.

    I'm King Kong and I'm ten feet long,
    Got a big six gun and everybody is scared.
    I'm King Kong, got a hydrogen bomb,
    I can blow up your houses so you better beware.

    Everybody wants power,
    Everybody wants fame.
    Everybody wants money.
    La-la-la-la-la, King Kong.
    La-la-la-la-la,
    Little man's weak and big man's strong,
    Everyone wants to be King Kong, oh yeah.

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray Music/Carlin Music Corp.

    We open with a ringing clean guitar, and then we get this grunty staccato punch in from the band.
    We know instantly that this is a very different song to the a-side...... in fact it sounds pretty different to anything that the band had done prior.

    It is hard to avoid T Rex comparisons with this track, although at the time this was released, T Rex was an acoustic type folky duo to the best of my knowledge, and they were called Tyrannosaurus Rex.
    At this point T Rex didn't sound like the band most know and love, but I believe Marc Bolan still sang somewhat the same..... I never actually bought any of the pre-Ride A White Swan stuff, although I have always meant to. Ride A White Swan seems to be where the band moved into a rock/glam sound that made them famous
    So here we have Ray using the almost signature Marc Bolan seventies vocal, and perhaps giving T Rex the inspiration to move in another direction, because although the vocal has a very Marc Bolan feel about it, with the odd vibrato being the main link, the cartoonish lyrics, and the rock and roll sound seems to preempt T Rex's seventies sound..... anyway, I am sure some of you guys are much more familiar with the history surrounding all these speculations of mine, so please fill us in on the details, because this is a really interesting twist, and we are at another Kinks Krossroad, where the band changes their sound and style once again.

    The lyric here is really interesting too. We have this somewhat cartoonish setting, but essentially it speaks to power. We have King Kong here seeming to represent either a powerful person.... I guess a kind of John Wayne or Chuck Norris type character ... for want of a better example ... or perhaps even a subtle dig at the US, as a powerful player on the world stage.
    Anyway, however we interpret the lyric, it isn't what it initially might seem. It is certainly not just a comic book picture. It speaks directly to power, fame and money, and King Kong is merely used as a picture of something/someone larger than life, that can control and/or destroy everything in his/its path.
    It seems the line I got a Hydrogen Bomb, seems to speak directly to either the US, or the arms race.
    This song is a lot more lyrically heavy than a rough listen may suggest.

    Musically this is a great song. For me this should have been the a-side, it is powerful, catchy, and a move forward by the band, rather than the retro-sounding Plastic Man..... but yet again we get the a-side and the b-side being tied together somewhat, here, with them being somewhat cartoonish characters being portrayed in other ways.

    The driving rock here appeals instantly to me, its my bread and butter, and the arrangement is excellent. The changes as we go through the song keep me engaged and the sections flow smoothly into each other.
    To be honest, I only heard this track for the first time while I was exploring the 3 disc Village Green album, because as odd as it may seem to everyone here, I had never listened to disc three prior to this thread, and I think I only listened to it all the way through once, perhaps twice, and this song is obviously very different to the material that is actually tied to the Village Green.

    Anyway, this is a great track, and I guess it is also a song that only really hardcore Kinks fans knew/know. So many gold nuggets in this great bands catalog.

     
  12. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

  13. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    King Kong
    Really great rock song, almost glam rock before glam rock existed. Should have been the a-side
     
  14. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    You've just said everything that I had to say! A Kinks highlight.
     
  15. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "King Kong" is just brilliant. That it sounds like it was recorded in a toilet even adds to its charm. Proto-metal, proto-glam, garage rock - call it what you will - it's a riot. I love Ray's appropriation of the Bolan warble (particularly on "hydrogen boooooooomb"), I love the cowbell in the pre-chorus section and I love Dave's guitar solo. Just everything about it from lyrics to performance is great.

    It's the kind of obscure B-side you dream about finding. Never heard a stereo mix until just now, and it sounds pretty good to me.
     
  16. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    GREAT write up by Mark. Covers it really well.

    I agree this should have been the A side: if they were looking to put out a Big Dumb Metaphor single designed for chart action in 1969, better surely to look 3 years ahead to glam than 3 years backwards to music hall quirk. Did you know if actually WAS an A-side in 1972 in the US? It was the single from Kronikles! With Waterloo Sunset on the B-side! A very canny choice with T Rex riding high even Stateside that year, though it still flopped.

    The Kinks – King Kong (1972, Vinyl)

    Marc Bolan did mention Ray confessing to the corkscrew haired one to copying his singing style on one track in an interview that's somewhere about on Youtube and has been linked to on this forum before, don't have it bookmarked but if anyone's able to locate it would be appreciated. However, Bolan remembers the track that Ray mimicked him on as being 'Victoria'! I always thought Ray was going for a more Canned Heat thing on that, so I dunno if Bolan just misremembered the song in question or if that was also a (less successful) attempt at Ray does Marc.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
  17. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    King Kong: now here ya go! Even includes a bit of cowbell, doesn’t it? First time listen for me and, quite frankly, I think the decision to have Plastic Man the A-side was nuts when this was on the same piece of vinyl. Every single person who hears this would instantly be singing, “I’m King Kong...” And it wouldn’t be banned by the BBC.
     
  18. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    It shouldn’t be possible to recycle Sunshine of Your Love and invent T-Rex in the same song but hey, they’re the Kinks, they can do everything! As noted by all, Ray’s singing of the verse must be a very conscious nod to Tyrannosaurus Bolan, but the drone-sy guitar wall of sound is something else altogether, the unlikely bridge between mid-sixties psychedelia and early seventies heavy rock. Ray was rarely psychedelic but sometimes tempted to go glam, and this song is a credible attempt at both, in the great transitional year of 69. On this thread, we've often marveled at the Kinks’ thematic concept singles but musically, the contrast between Plastic Man and King Kong is almost shocking! They seem to come from different planets, and I like the idea they were separated as part of two different compilations. In general, in the Kinks fandom, you have Kronikles people and Great Lost Kinks Album peuple. I’ve often proudly admitted being a Great Lost Kinks Album guy myself, as I’ve never even owned Kronikles. But in this case, there's no march: Kronikles King Kong is a monster rock’n roll track, by far their heavier song since All Day and All of the Night, and in my opinion, the fact it only exists (officially) in glorious metallic mono only adds to its intimidating mystique.
     
  19. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    I've always appreciated this fan video mash up which sets the song to clips from Japanese pop artist Tadanori Yokoo's short cartoon 'Kachi Kachi Yama' (1965). Yokoo's animation is a kind of lurid spoof on Western pop culture and power fantasies and it goes PERFECTLY with the bombast of this track imo:

     
  20. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Plastic Man

    I agree with Mark that this seemed to be an artistic pre Something Else throwback which may (or may not) have been a calculated way to get a hit?
    Either way i don't care as it's a pretty great song with excellent backing vocals and instrumentation to burn.
    If it's being suggested that Ray is lyrically parodying the very fans that may well buy the record and therefore sabotaging sales then I would say to you that if true most wouldn't even see themselves in the lyrics even if they were Plastic Men!

    Edit: Especially on the Beat Club video Ray sounds cool similarly to Steve Marriott.
    Disclaimer: Forgive me if it is not a different vocal!
     
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Yea, that's weird. I've known Victoria for forty years, and T Rex has never come to mind
     
  22. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Now this is more like it! "King Kong", one of the great B sides of all time by anybody. T. Rex before T. Rex, although Marc Bolan was slowly creeping towards stardom in the last few singles prior to "White Swan" w/the introduction of the electric guitar in songs like "The King of the Rumbling Spires". Perhaps Mr. Bolan took some inspiration from this song in his plan for stardom. You can also hear traces of another band that was to big in the UK at least, Mungo Jerry, in this song.

    Going back to "King Kong", this song rocks, swings, has interesting lyrics & should have been the A side. You don't have to labor to explain its greatness. It just rocks. One of the highlights of Kinks Kronikles & maybe Stan Corwyn & his merry men at WB/Reprise should have pushed it as a single even though the Kinks had left for the greener grass but duller corporate home of RCA.
     
  23. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    Location:
    Murrumbateman
    King Kong
    Yet another Kinks favourite that I first heard on Kronikles (and what a brilliant kompilation that was!). I love the Kinks and I love hard rock, so this song is in the sweet spot for me. I’m equally proficient at air singing, air guitaring and air drumming to this song which shows how highly I rate it :D:D And I think it was silly of them to not release King Kong as a single.
     
  24. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Sounds like someone was near squared up in the middle without his box but pain aside rotated the strike with a leg bye adding one to the tally!
     
  25. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Boredom That You Can Afford!

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Well, I do hear a bit of a warble in this version:


    What? I'm assuming that Avid All Down the Line is talking cricket. Reminds me of that Monty Python sketch where everyone is talking WWII movie cliches. When this discussion gets to "Cricket" remind me to ask him what the terms in the song mean.
     

Share This Page

molar-endocrine