The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Oddly, The Kinks didn't seem to perform this hit single live much at the time if at all (never seen any listings for it, though surely they must have given it a go??) but they revived for a while in 1977:

     
  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I was thinking about this, because I thought it seems like a likely live track..... I wondered if the layering just seemed to much to get across in a live format?
     
  3. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    'Star Wars' actor Mark Hamill to team up with The Kinks' Ray Davies for special talk in London

    A few years ago, Star Wars luminary and Kinks mega fan Mark Hamill made the universe-colliding admission that he took the opportunity to sing the refrain of 'Supersonic Rocket Ship' while sat between Harrison Ford and Alec Guinness on the set of the Millenium Falcon (hmm that was in 1977.. maybe the Kinks were subliminally aware and that why they added it to their set that year??). While sadly there is no recorded evidence of this event, earlier that year Hamill had managed to sneak in his Kinks collection onto his appearance in the pilot for the show 'Eight Is Enough' (his role was re cast when it went to series due to his stars aligning with his Star Wars destiny). Evidence below:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
  4. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    The Kinks made their last in person appearance on Top Of The Pops for 11 years when this song became a hit, during which they were augmented to a 6 piece with ex-Animal Dave Rowberry on keys (think Gosling was on the Marimba). It sadly doesn't exist but there's a cool photo of the event in the BBC box that I can't find online anywhere. Apparently there was a ruckus with Slade backstage which led to Ray pouring beer over Noddy Holder's head! Wonder if there was a bit of a 'we're old hands now threatened by Englands newest hitmakers and working class heroes so we'll show them who's boss' thing going on there. If there was I guess it wasn't misplaced as Slade were very much on the ascendant whereas as we all know this song marked the end of The Kinks as a functional contemporary chart act in the UK (one off comeback with 'Come Dancing' much later aside).

    On that note, for UK fans 'Supersonic Rocketship' is such an odd one because a lot of us grow up knowing all the Pye hits in order from the many comps that are naturally sequenced that way, and it seems so neat that they end with Apeman, the last big chart hit and the last single on Pye. Except.. it wasn't. There was one more medium sized hit 18 months later that because it was on a different label, I (and I bet many others) always tend to forget about. It's odd to consider that the Kinks in fact didn't neatly fizzle out as a UK chart act with the turn of the decade like so many of their contemporaries (Hermans Hermits, Dave Clark 5, Dave Dee and many others), and that this proves that they could have been contenders well into the new decade like say The Hollies, except somehow it didn't work out that way. I do wonder if picking 'Celluloid Heroes' which a is a more album orientated (or FM radio as I believe they said in the US) cut as the next single did them in.
     
  5. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Avid Gary Steel (any relation to Casino Steel of the Boys, by the way?), the Lovin' Spoonful were a great band that I remember listening to since I was a wee lad & is one of my favorites & is worthy of your further exploration. However, they weren't like the Kinks & not "better" than them.
     
  6. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of young

    Location:
    Molde, Norway
    I should be so lucky or perhaps not :D The Boys were a great band, tho.

    I shall and will check the Spoonful out and as I wrote to the chap that started the other thread that it would/will be my pleasure if they're actually to my liking.

    But yeah, I don't expect Kinks Kwality exactly ;)
     
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  7. luvtotha9s

    luvtotha9s Forum Resident

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Supersonic Rocket Ship...Such a great tune. I love the flow and feel of it. It's very catchy and I find myself singing it to myself a lot...well alright!
    Definitely a top tier Kinks song...Bravo Ray Davies
     
  8. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "Supersonic Rocket Ship"

    If we go back to the idea that Showbiz might be Lola vs Powerman Part 2, then this one could fit in. We identified that "Lola" and "Apeman" were hit singles by the fictional band. Now the fictional band needs another hit single, and they do that by combining their last two! This has the near-calypso feel and escapist theme of "Apeman", and borrows the "I pushed her away..." part of "Lola" for the main hook. I don't think it's as strong as either of the previous hits - the verse end/pre-chorus bit seems a little weak until you realise it's not the main hook. It is a very enjoyable track though, unmistakably The Kinks, and probably a good Pointless answer if you are ever asked "name a top 20 hit for The Kinks".

    BTW Happy Thanksgiving to all our US contributors!
     
  9. DISKOJOE

    DISKOJOE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    "Supersonic Rocket Ship", a nice, bouncy song with lyrics that you can take at face value, but may have the usual Ray twist ("....nobody has to be hip or out of sight....Out of Sight, man!!"). I was shocked to learn that it made the Top 20 in the UK, seemingly light years since "Apeman" (I was equally shocked that "Apeman" only made it to #45 here in the US).

    No one here has made has made the ironic comment that "Supersonic Rocket Ship" was not included in the 1976 RCA compilation. Ray informed the suits at RCA that they could run foul of UK consumer laws if they titled it The Kinks Greatest Hits since they were no actual "hits" on it, so the title got changed to The Kinks Greatest Celluloid Heroes.

    Kudos to Avid Ajsmith for finding that video. He should be given a pith hat & go all around the corners of the former Empire, scouring dusty shelves for any evidence of groovy tv footage that Auntie Beeb junked so long ago. Somehow the video worked even in its degraded state. I do have to say that the guy who launched himself off the Eiffel Tower was killed. He was trying to be a human flying squirrel.

    Off topic, but seeing that clip of Willie Wonka reminded me of my first replacement hip operation. I saw both Wonka movies recuperating, the Gene Wilder one & the Johnny Depp one. I preferred the former. To bring this back to the topic at hand, the clip reminded me of the little train ride that Ray inflicted upon us in Return to Waterloo.

    Finally, I would like to recommend to Avid Gary Steel, as well as the other Avids, the book Sick on You by Andrew Matherson, one of the funniest rock & roll books that I have read & in which Casino Steel plays a part.
     
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  10. Martyj

    Martyj I come for the regatta, I stay for the arm sweat

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    I've bolded your quote because it rationalizes this song's place within the overall concept of life as a touring band: the point in experience where--ahem--intoxicants are brought in. "A little trip?" That's pretty obvious right up front. Getting stoned is the great equalizer--no second classes, minorities, squares, hipsters, etc. When you are as high as a kite we're are all friends. Heck, a rocket ship even resembles a doobie. Ray knows exactly what he's doing with this song in sharing with the listener the experience of being in a rock band and getting high on the road between gigs. But if one wants to see it another way, hey, that's cool, too.
     
  11. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leeds, UK
    Supersonic Rocket Ship

    I love this. I'm not very familiar with the rest of the album (though I could pick "Celluloid Heroes" out of a line-up) and I'm finding it all a bit too much to digest right now but I do want to say that this song brilliantly picks up their run of great pop singles where "Lola" and "Apeman" left off, and the lyrics are fun and idealistic. Great steel drums. Such a catchy tune.

    I'll be back to talk about the Preservation albums which are chronologically the last Kinks albums I have in my collection, and I know them quite well and I like a lot of the songs on there.
     
  12. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami Beach FL
    Supersonic Rocket Ship: Another great song. A little bit of a repeat of some of his earlier themes, I guess this is just Apeman in outer space, but we have all already acknowledged that he is revisiting some of his earlier favorite topics, so why sweat that. It’s a fun little number, what with the Caribbean sound to it. Interstellar-rasta I suppose.
     
  13. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    Suprophonic Pocket Chip

    I knew of this being a minor hit and their last in the UK for many years even before I heard it & at one point I even had the German 7" P/s pictured at the top of Mark's post before passing it off to a friend.

    An enjoyable song even if slightly lightweight however I don't see any reason why enjoying it should be a guilty pleasure!

    In some ways it's like the little brother of Apeman as both betray what is claimed to be Ray's West Indian tinged vocal, percussion and John Gosling's Marimbas.

    Unlike our headmaster I never thought of it as being about Ray's Percy but it does show Ray's caring, inclusive and humanitarian side even if it is all just in fun.

    Looks like it slips into 3rd spot for me on this LP as it is a fun song with breezy words a compact arrangement and beautifully played.
     
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Good point. That makes a lot of sense to me
     
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  15. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    That's trying pour a quart in a pint pot there.
     
  16. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston TX
    “Supersonic Rocket Ship” – I guess I’m the turkey who’s the designated downer on this song. It’s nice to hear Ray put forth some idealism in his lyrics for a change, but it’s delivered in a somewhat cliched manner -- talking in generalities about “equality” and “no suppression of minorities” -- that he would have avoided a few years earlier. I seem to recall reading an interview from this era where he said the worsening problems of the times required being more direct. But as we go along in the Kinks katalogue, I seem to hear the strident, unnuanced voice of Derek, the self-righteous, preachy, finger-pointing protester from Arthur, increasingly showing up in Ray’s writing (and not to its improvement IMO).

    Having said that, @Mark Winstanley and others have suggested the possibility that Ray is actually mocking not only the “hip” and “out of sight” trends of hippies and the counterculture of the time, but also their idealism. Maybe he’s satirizing the magical “supersonic rocket ship” of peace and love that dreamers believed would take us all to the land of equality and no suppression of minorities. After all, John Lennon’s “Imagine” came out the previous year. And around this time, Ray was germinating Preservation, which has a pretty dark view of idealistic promises.

    @Martyj ’s theory that the little trip is about getting stoned makes me consider that Ray could simply be enjoying getting high, where you’ll laugh until you cry. Or is he actually mocking the hippie drug culture? I don’t know!

    Musically, it sounds like the Apeman and Lola spawned a child midwifed by Mungo Jerry, and unfortunately, “Apeman” is not a favorite of mine. Perhaps a killer chorus would have won me over, but alas, I don’t hear it. So the hit is the skipper on this side for me.

    Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! To the others…Happy Friday Eve!
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
  17. Martyj

    Martyj I come for the regatta, I stay for the arm sweat

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    Regardless of Ray’s motivation--whether mocking or endorsing--isn’t it so typically “kquirky Kinksian" for the band to do (possibly their only?) stoner song some 5 years after the height of its fashion? And rather than swarth it in psychedelia or a cliched heavy metal arrangement, they offer it up as a bouncy, playful, quasi-calypso song?

    Far out, man. Outta sight!
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
  18. donstemple

    donstemple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maplewood, NJ
    Supersonic Rocket Ship

    Although this was a hit for them, and in that Avengers movie, it is a new song for me! The Kinks Kalypso run starts from I’m on an Island and goes through Apeman to Supersonic Rocket Ship. Are there any others that I missed along the way? That this sort of faux Caribbean voice and feel?

    Musically, if you take the horns out, this could easily fit in with Lola. The horns place it firmly in this era though. Overall, this seems like it was meant to be the single — it seems more cleanly produced than the other songs on the album. And for that, it almost seems out of place on this album. The bridge or chorus or whatever of this song reminds me of another Kinks song, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I do wish it had a better chorus, but that acoustic/banjo/national guitar plucked riff that repeats is so damn good and catchy, that I almost don’t mind the lack of a great chorus.

    Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate today!
     
  19. Zack

    Zack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Easton, MD
    Am I the only person who is going to say wait a minute, this song is kind of a mess both musically and lyrically? It's a funny little ditty, but rocket ships are obviously supersonic and they don't go faster than light, and you hardly need to pull up your overcoat tight. The "Outtasight, man - far out" part also baffles me. If he is sincerely trying to be hip, he's failing, and if he is mocking hipness, he's kind of failing too. He definitely wants to get away somewhere, like I'm On an Island and Apeman, but bringing "equality and no supression of minitories" into it further muddies the waters. Love the "giant phallus" theory! The "wasted and wanted to have some fun" theory seems most plausible, but that's not the way Ray usually rolls. He famously can't hold his beer, and he left the hard stuff for Dave. Nice little track -- a fine mess! -- but if we overdo the analysis we'll be chasing our tails sooner rather than later.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
  20. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Neil Young’s ‘Roll Another Number,’ New Riders ‘Panama Red’ etc etc are still on the horizon. I don’t think it was close to being past the height of fashion!
     
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Not to forget Cypress Hill and Hits From The Bong, with what I actually thought was a nice use of Dusty's Preacher Man intro
     
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  22. Martyj

    Martyj I come for the regatta, I stay for the arm sweat

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    No doubt stoner songs continued over the years, and do so today. By the early seventies there were plenty...but IMO drug songs lost their edge when they became expected. Predictable. Perfectly acceptable for rock bands to do in 1972. I guess I'm thinking in terms of when they were more ground breaking, uncomfortable subjects for music marketed to the youth market. Sixties stuff, such as the Byrds Eight Miles High or at least a half dozen Small Faces tracks, circa 1966-68.
     
  23. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

    I was utterly charmed by this song, back when it came out, and more importantly, so was my then-girlfriend, who played it constantly. I tend to like Rays "shy" voice, if that's the right way to characterize it, and the occasions like this when his humor, and sense of justice, are gentle. Of course, I love his savage wit, too, but this tune is quirky and quixotic, and downright... nice, in a way only The Kinks could pull off so well.
     
  24. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Ray Davies writing a stoner song? Don't think so!
     
  25. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Funny how every time he wants to get away, the Caribbean instruments, rhythms and melodic style come naturally to him… When we discussed Apeman, I remember some opposed Ray’s use of the Caribbean accent. I did not comment on it primarily because I don’t hear it (for me to hear accents in English, they have to be very strong, like cockney, Texas or Scotland) and because I think you can do a calypso track, complete with west indies rhythms, colors, instruments (steel drums, marimbas) and accent without it being offensive, if the theme fits. Especially in Ray's case, who clearly equates it to a sense of escapism. Myself, I’ll admit I was eagerly waiting for our Supersonic Rocket Ship day to suggest the following six tracks EP:
    Karibbean Kinks : 1/ I’m on An Island 2/ Tell Me Now So I’ll Know 3/ No Return 4/ Monica 5/ Apeman 6/ Supersonic Rocket Ship
    I would not oppose buying this !
     

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