The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

  2. Allthingsmusic

    Allthingsmusic Forum Resident

    I'm a fan of this one too! Always something about Ray's voice that draws me in. Horns work for me too!
  3. Pawnmower

    Pawnmower Senior Member

    Dearborn, MI
    "There's a Change in the Weather" is not a song I love too much. I enjoy the first two parts, though the 2nd part would be better without the female voice in there. I don't enjoy that style of singing. And I'm not big on the "see the holocaust" section. So it's alright, the changes keep it interesting, I just like the previous tracks more.
  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Where Are They Now?.

    stereo mix, recorded May-Jul 1973 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London
    (Sung by The Tramp)

    I'll sing a song about some people you might know
    They made front pages in the news not long ago
    But now they're just part of a crowd
    And I wonder where they all are now.

    Where have all the Swinging Londoners gone?
    Ossie Clark and Mary Quant
    And what of Christine Keeler,
    John Stephen and Alvaro,
    Where on earth did they all go?
    Mr. Fish and Mr. Chow,
    Yeah, I wonder where they all are now.

    Where are all the Teddy Boys now?
    Where are all the Teddy Boys now?
    The Brill Cream boys with D.A.s,
    Drainpipes and blue suedes,
    Beatniks with long pullovers on,
    And coffee bars and Ban the Bomb,
    Yeah, where have all the Teddy Boys gone?
    I hope that Arthur Seaton is alright.
    I hope that Charlie Bubbles had a very pleasant flight,
    And Jimmy Porter's learned to laugh and smile,
    And Joe Lampton's learned to live a life of style.

    Where are all the angry young men now?
    Where are all the angry young men now?
    Barstow and Osborne, Waterhouse and Sillitoe,
    Where on earth did they all go?
    And where are all the protest songs?
    Yes, where have all the angry young men gone.

    I wonder what became of all the Rockers and the Mods.
    I hope they are making it and they've all got steady jobs,
    Oh but rock and roll still lives on,
    Yeah, rock and roll still lives on.

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

    So after the announcement that there are some storm clouds on the horizon, the Tramp sits back to reflect. This seems very in keeping with the original Village Green album, where Ray did a lot of reflective thinking.

    The first verse also has a bit of a link to Celluloid Heroes, in that The Tramp is pondering where all the stars who have faded from the spotlight, but used to adorn the front pages of the world's press.
    Ray is really wanting me to do my research again with another list song, that has a bunch of folks on it, and groups of people. That isn't all the song is though so lets have a look at some stuff and see where we end up with this one.

    Ossie Clark - 1942-1996 - Swinging Sixties fashion designer
    Mary Quant - 1930- ..... - Swinging Sixties, London Mod fashion. We can thank her for mini-skirts and hot pants.
    Christine Keeler - 1942-2017 - Model and Showgirl
    John Stephen - 1934-2004 - The Million Dollar Mod, King Of Carnaby street. Fashion Retailer.
    Alvaro .... who knows?
    Mr Fish could be a Marvel supervillain
    Mr Chow .... Who knows? could be either the London or New York restaurants, but it seems possibly out of context
    Teddy Boys, Brill Cream Boys = Greasers, fifties rockers.
    D.A's - The Duck Tail hair-do .. so no need to guess what the A stands for.
    Arthur Seaton - The main character in the novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
    Charlie Bubbles - A Movie and Character, directed by and starring Albert Finney
    Jimmy Porter - I gather the main character from Osborne's Look Back In Anger
    Joe Lampton - from 1959 British film Room At The Top
    Barstow and Osborne are likely the characters from the western West Of El Dorado
    Keith Waterhouse - 1929-2009 - novelist, wrote many, but some may be familiar with Billy Liar and Worzel Gummadge
    Alan Sillitoe - 1928-2010 - novelist, he wrote the above mentioned Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and also Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner

    So for the most part we have an era there, and I reckon it probably reflects a part of Ray's life.
    I didn't know who an awful lot of those people were, but looking them up, it somewhat reinforces the idea that this has some links to Celluloid Heroes, although not super strong, they are there.

    The essential theme here is time moving on, and things of the past floating away. I think it is best summed up in the line
    I wonder what became of all the Rockers and the Mods.
    I hope they are making it and they've all got steady jobs
    I think it speaks to the pacifying of the rebel and the rejection of the rebellion to some degree. The rough boys grew up, got married and got jobs.
    I believe Waterhouse and Sillitoe were somewhat anti-establishment types, and I assume, but do not know, that they moved away from that at some point in their lives.

    This is a song of the passing away of people and things into history and folklore. It seems very much part of the whole Village Green theme.
    Certainly many of these names are remembered, even I know some of these people, and many I don't/didn't know, I am familiar with their work/legacy ... so again it has a slight reflection of Celluloid Heroes .... and the more we look at this catalog, the more it seems like a living, breathing object, that has so many connections, that start to make the whole catalog to seem almost like a thematic album, that loosely ties together to create the Ray Davies legacy of thought.

    Musically we come in directly with the piano and vocal, it starts off with the feel of a lament, but it sort of elevates itself to be a kind of exaltation.
    The way the chords are written has an almost hypnotic feeling. the piano rolls across the same chords and then moves on to pull us out of the dream.
    Then we get the organ coming in, as a sonic pad, that adds to the build and also gives us more textures to absorb.
    Even Ray's vocal lifts in its melancholy salute.

    The drums aren't mixed forward, but we can hear Mick punching the track along nicely, and it sounds like they were all getting into it, to be honest.
    Dave is also not mixed forward in the mix, but again you can hear him there chugging along the flow of music. Adding some nice syncopated guitar to put his stamp on it.

    A beautiful melancholy, reflective ballad that holds my attention, tickles my ears and pleases me.
    For me this is another great track, and the album is shooting 100% in my world.

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2021
  5. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

  6. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

  7. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    Mr Fish was a London boutique, named after the fashion designer Michael Fish (not to be confused with the UK weather man!) who founded it.
    Mr Chow was apparently another similar fashion designer, although perhaps less famed.

    Definitely worth scoping out today is Kinks fan Dave Quayle's 'I Wonder Where They All Are Now?' website, which exhaustively lists and explains the real people behind everyone mentioned in every Kinks song, including of course this track which the site derives his name from. He also had trouble working out who Alvaro was, until finally discovering it's Italian restaurateur Alvaro Maccioni. (EDIT: as I see @Vangro has pipped me to mentioning!)

    I wonder where they all are now …

  8. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

  9. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Last night I went to bed with today’s song turning in my head. An early favorite of mine when I first got Act 1 some thirty years ago and yet another of the beautiful piano ballads Ray became a master of in the early seventies, after all but neglecting the genre in the sixties. Where Are They Now ? was an immediate favorite because it was more or less exactly what I hoped (and expected) to hear when I purchased the record : nostalgia, Britishness, longing, melancholy, affectionate regrets, the passing of time, a logical extension of the Village Green Preservation Society themes and spirit. In many ways, the song indeed works as a little sister to Celluloid Heroes, it may not have the same depth, but it bears an endearing familiarity and a sense of kinship with all the names it drops along the way, and this familiarity turns into immediate emotion. It’s delicious and some lines are wonderful, especially when you don’t necessarily know the names but Ray still manages to give his non-UK listeners some context and atmosphere regardless. The “Teddy Boy” couplet is especially evocative, full of great images, ultra-specific but inclusive, it’s really great pop writing. Musically, I like the intro the best. In the first ascending/descending musical phrase, Ray opens time and space and then brings the whole concept of the song home. Brilliant stuff.

    Now, about last night. The song was in my head and I started to combine it instinctively with some old Kinks “lalalala la-la-la’s” I couldn’t place. “Where have all the Swinging Londoners gone… / Lalalala la-la-la”. It was driving me nuts, but then I realized it was from Johnny Thunder ! “Johnny Thunder/Lives on Water/Feeds on Lightning / Lalalala la-la-la”. Exact same chords (A / G / D), exact same notes, exact same pacing : the piano/organ/acoustic guitar riff that punctuates Where Are They Now ? is a perfect (self-) conscious replica of the Johnny Thunder hook… I guess it serves the purpose of subliminally triggering the nostalgia effect for anyone familiar with the 1968 classic LP. Furthermore, the intro melody also quotes the same song (“And all the people in the town”/”I’ll sing a song about some People” : same chords and notes), which I never suspected. Ray the meta-writer is in full force here. And then, of course, the Johnny Thunder character does reappear as the protagonist of the next song, One of the Survivors !! It could be too cute or precious, but I think it’s an incredibly effective trick. From day one, Where Are They Now ? triggered something in me, I instantly recognized it as what I hoped to hear, and indeed it was a direct bridge towards the past, expertly built by what must be the greatest self-referential writer ever. It instructs us about how Ray’s creative mind works and that he knows how to play with his listeners’ brains. When I fell asleep, I was more than ever in awe with that guy's talent and craft.
  10. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    A couple of things:
    Ossie Clark passed away in 1996, not 1946 (either that or he achieved a lot in four years of life!)
    The product that the greasers have in their hair is Brylcreem.

    But this is another great track - it actually pulls double duty as it is both a perfectly good standalone track, but it also leads us along nicely into the next track where we get an update on one of the teddy boys.

    By 1973, some might wonder if Ray could have included himself in the lyrics given that many might have wondered where The Kinks had gone. It's another track that sounds to me as if it could have come from 1970. A nice piano ballad that builds and draws you in. This track probably sealed the fate of "History" to become a long-lost outtake. Many of the names mentioned are still familiar to me, or at least ones that I recognise without having to look them up.
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Fixed... cheers mate. Typo obviously
    DISKOJOE and ARL like this.
  12. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    I love this song, there is literally no-one I can think of who would have even considered writing this lyric. The thing about it is, he's only writing about a relatively recent past - Charlie Bubbles is from 1968! But I suppose s lot had changed. There is ONE thing that really bugs me about how this lyric is structured though, and this it:

    Chorus 1 - Introduction
    Verse 1 - Swinging London
    Verse 2 - Subcultures
    Chorus 2 - Literature/Cinema
    Verse 3 - Literature/Music
    Chorus 3 - Subcultures

    I think Verse 2 and Verse 3 should have been swapped, having Arthur Seaton follow on from the verse about Teddy Boys just never seems right to me.
  13. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    This another song that has nothing to do with the eventual Preservation concept and, yes, it's another good one. I sense a pattern developing.
  14. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Another fantastic song. Fun music trivia fact - I'm pretty sure that the Mr Fish of the song designed the dress that Bowie wears on the cover of The Man Who Sold the World.

    I love that The Tramp hopes that all the rockers and the mods, the epitome's of teenage rebellion a la Quadrophenia, are doing OK and now have steady jobs!

    @Fortuleo beat me to the recycling of a snatch of music from Johnny Thunder, setting us up nicely for the next track!
  15. James H.

    James H. Forum Resident

    Runnemede, NJ
    I always wanted to know who or what is Ban The Bomb is.

    The only time I have heard that name(?) is the lyric in 'Cry If You Want' from The Who on the It's Hard album.
  16. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I presume it was one of the slogans of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, or CND, which gave us the classic 'peace' symbol.
  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Particularly after the Cuban Missile Crisis there was a Band The Bomb movement, and like @croquetlawns points out, it ties in with the No Nukes symbol, that is apparently considered a peace sign these days
  18. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident

    Where Are They Now
    A simply gorgeous song. No below par songs yet on this LP.
    Imagine writing such a song now, talking about the celebrities and subcultures from the previous decade or so. Hardly any of them seem to have gone anywhere.
  19. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    @Vangro again pipped me to the observation that what's always stuck out about this song is how recent the past it's eulogizing is: Ok a lot of the stuff is classically late 50s/early 60s (Angry Young Men and rockers etc) but other aspects are much more recent (when you consider that since this song was first performed in Jan 1973, it was almost certainly written in 1972).. not only is Charlie Bubbles just 4/5 years old at time of writing , but (as @croquetlawns already alluded to with his Bowie reference) I'd associate Mr Fish as much with the early 70s glam scene as I would Swinging London, which makes him pretty much a contemporary figure to when the song was penned!

    I find the topic of nostalgia and the way the recent past comes to be compartmentalized fascinating, so as a very rare example of the early 70s already nostaligifying the 60s, (as opposed to the 50s of which a full blown revival was already happening by then) I can't help but find 'Where Are They Now' a powerfully engrossing document, esp as it was written by someone who'd lived through it all now looking back at the grand old age of er..., twenty eight! Crazy. What really was the Swinging Sixties and Swinging London and how can it be defined? Some might argue that the real 60s was 1964-73, some that it began in the late 50s and it all over by the end of 1966 with the demise of Ready Steady Go! and when the US scene began to lead the way again. I always find year by year changes interesting, like how for instance a relatively short haired and neat 'mod' look was still acceptable until 1968, whereas after that long hair was pretty much de riguer for all: witness how The Kinks themselves reflected that change in the sartorial consciousness throughout 1969.. sorry, rambling here.. what I'm trying to say is that there are many different Swinging Londons to different people, and what was experienced as Be Here Now by those who were there in that present is a different thing again from what the same people recollected (and younger 60s orientated stylists have re-enacted) years, decades, half centuries later. Hmm that's still a ramble.

    I like how Ray references slightly more obscure and literate figures in this track.. imagine how much more dull it'd been if it had been listed more obvious pop culture folk like Jimi Hendrix or Emma Peel , it would have come off like one of Jasper Carrott's serious songs or something.. but through the types of people mentioned there's something deeper being reached for than a cheap 'Member when?' Proustian rush.. these figures in general didn't die tragic deaths at the altar of rock of have enigmatic leaving scenes, they more kind of faded away into everyday banality of safe jobs and everyday lives, (or the fictional ones enacted their one storyline and then passed into the cultural canon) which is perhaps a greater tragedy for the once iconic. The sense I feel that is being conveyed is what became of that zeitgeisty energy, that White Heat as Dominic Sandbrook called it (quoting Harold Wilson) in his retrospective of the High Sixties. And though the figures and scenes mentioned cover the breadth of the Long Sixties from the mid 50s to the early 70s, the strongest atmosphere I get from this song is of the early 60s, coffee bars, ban the bomb, beatniks, kitchen sink films, a black and white world but buzzing with unprecedented modernity and latent potential: the very era in which The Kinks themselves were forged of course...
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2021
  20. James H.

    James H. Forum Resident

    Runnemede, NJ
    Duh! I kept thinking Ban the Bomb was a person more than a slogan.
  21. LX200GPS

    LX200GPS Forum Resident

    Somewhere Else
    Where Are They Now

    Good question and even more pertinent 50 years later.

    Great song, a favourite of mine, and one of the best on the album. The line about where all the protest songs went gets to me every time. Old enough to remember when the pop/rock world was anti-establishment and many of the top acts sang protest songs. Now it seems the rock scene is part of the establishment, but rock 'n' roll still lives on.

    Always find Ray's vocal a bit low in the mix here which is a great excuse to turn up that volume!
  22. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

  23. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    ... perhaps not the types you generally associate with CND marches!
  24. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    I don't think I'd thought about it before but the peace sign was actually a British invention.
  25. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    I agree with @mark winstanley that this is a sister (or, obviously, "Brother") song to "Celluloid Heroes" with a focus on the once famous (or notorious). Of the various names, i was only familiar with Christine Keeler, probably because I saw the movie Scandal back in the day. I find the reference to the Rockers and the Mods interesting as concurrently, Pete Townshend had been working on Quadrophenia another set of songs telling a story but one that specifically focused on the Mods of the 1960s. Of course, the original Mods and Rockers may have got jobs but the Mod revival in England was just around the corner in the late 1970s and the film version of Quadrophenia was part of that (musicians Sting and Toyah Wilcox were in it). But back to the Kinks - a lovely ballad and no one looks back with such longing like Ray Davies.

Share This Page