The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

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

  1. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter


    stereo mix, recorded 27 Aug, 1975 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    In a deep dark jungle, long time ago
    Lived a lonesome caveman
    He was a solitary soul
    And he spent his playtime
    Chewing meat from bones.
    He didn't know how to talk much
    He only knew how to groan
    Then he lifted up his hands and reached to the sky
    Let out a yell and no one replied.
    Frustration and torment tore him inside
    Then he fell to the ground and he cried and he cried.
    But then education saved the day.
    He learned to speak and communicate
    Education saved the day.
    He thanked God for the friends he made.
    'Cos everybody needs an education
    Everybody needs an education.
    Black skin, red skin, yellow or white,
    Everybody needs to read and write
    Everybody needs an education.

    Thank the day when that primitive man
    Learned to talk with his brothers
    And live off the land.
    He left his cave and he moved far away
    And he lived with his friends in a house that they'd made
    He learned to think and to work with his brain
    And he astounded his friends with all the knowledge he gained

    He wrote it down on a rock that he found
    And he showed all his friends and they passed it around
    And then education came that day.
    The day it came was a sacred day.
    Education came that day
    He thanked God for the friends he'd made.

    Well man built a boat and he learned how to sail
    And he traveled far and wide
    Then he looked up above saw the stars in the sky
    So he learned how to fly.
    Thanks to all the mathematicians
    And the inventors with their high I.Q.s
    And the professors in their colleges
    Trying to feed me knowledge
    That I know I'll never use.
    Thank you sir for the millions of words
    That you've handed me down and you've told me to learn

    But I've got words in my ears and my eyes
    I've got so many facts that I must memorize
    Because education's doing me in
    I want to stop but my head's in a swim
    Education drives me insane
    I can't recall all the facts in my brain.
    Education came that day
    The day it came was a sacred day
    Education saved the day
    He thanked God for all the friends he made.

    Teacher, teach me how to read and write,
    You can teach me about biology,
    But you can't tell me what I am living for
    'Cos that's still a mystery.
    Teacher, teach me about nuclear physics
    And teach me about the structure of man,
    But all your endless calculations
    Can't tell me why I am.
    No you can't tell me why I am,
    No you can't tell me why I am.

    Everybody needs education,
    Open Universities, education.
    Every race, every creed, education.
    And every little half-breed.
    Every nationality, education.
    All the little people need education.
    Eskimos and pygmies need
    And even aborigines, education.

    Well, physics and geography, education.
    Philosophy and history, education.
    Science and biology, education,
    Geometry and poetry, education.
    Well, education, education, education, education

    (Repeat 'education' till end)

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

    The lyrics here leave me with a lot to say, but I don't think I am allowed to say them on this site, so the bulk of my thoughts on the lyrics will have to remain unsaid.

    Education has proven to be extremely important over the centuries, and it is no accident that oppressive society structures have wanted certain groups to remain uneducated at certain points in history.
    Thankfully for the most part, those issues seem to have gone by the wayside, as they should.
    Though we have some folks wanting to remove essential elements from education now, which is an insidious evil.

    If one can read, write and do mathematics, one is armed to interact with the sharks in the tank of life, and without that, you are instantly put in a position of being unarmed.

    Here Ray goes through a little story about a caveman (there are still people that live in caves by the way) and his progression to being an educated person.
    Then he gets to the point where he is being fed so much information that he is overloaded with info, and starting to be unable to retain all the information.
    The most important part of schooling is learning how to learn. There are certainly some important basic elements, but a lot of schooling is about showing someone how to research things for themselves.

    Probably the most poignant line in the song for me is, you can teach me all these formulas and give me all this practical functioning information but "you can't tell me what I am living for"... So often to me that is the most important part of the equation, because without that, it makes all the extraneous information somewhat redundant, and for the most part that seems why we have moved to the point of teaching kids to be good consumers...... and office clerks lol and Norman comes back to mind.

    Anyway, there is a lot of interesting stuff in the lyric here, but I don't think I can really talk on it without causing an issue, so I am going to let it slide, and say, to some degree I like the idea of the lyrics here and the way Ray looks at the pluses and minuses, and comes to the ultimate realisation, that despite some drawbacks it is an essential thing.

    Musically we start with some power chords and organ in a sort of dirge like arrangement... I think in order to give a dramatic and somewhat powerful opening.
    Then we move into a barroom piano type thing, and the vocal comes in.

    Ray gives us a delicate and thoughtful vocal, as the song underneath him starts to swell in dynamics.
    As we move into a change an organ swells underneath and we get the punchy guitar back in.
    Then we move into a sort of rock kind of chorus.

    Then we get a reprise of the piano opening, with Ray singing we need education.

    Then we get a revisit to He's Evil from Preservation, in terms of the chords and music. Ray moves his story along over this.

    The song moves into another section, and it all flows smoothly. This track has Ray revisiting the idea of a long, fairly constantly changing track, and the transitions are smooth and it all works pretty well really.

    Mick gives us some excellent drums here as well. The band is essentially working as a solid ensemble, and aside from a couple of flourishes on keys, the band is working as a unit.
    Around the 4:50 point we get a nice lead break from Dave, and that leads into a nice punchy, but short section.

    Then we move pretty quickly into what is the outro, which comprises of the band slowly revving up on a particular pattern with Ray singing a line and the chorus of backing singers singing education.
    This builds into a big rave up, and we get a pretty showtune kind of ending with the education repeat phrase.....

    I don't mind this song, it is musically ok, and its construction and arrangement works pretty well... but I find some of the lyrics a little irksome, and the "education" vocal repeats are a little annoying after a while.
    I don't think that the song works as well as it might, and it ends up just being a bit long, and that isn't something I am normally particularly bothered about.

    For me this is a song the aims high, but misses the target

  2. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Molde, Norway
    Lucky is my middle name. You of all people should know that, pops :D
  3. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    I don't totally agree with @The late man 's BB's vs Kinks take. I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Beach Boys, although the Kinks are my first love and despite having a huge depth of appreciation for the work of Brian and the Boys, as a fan I feel BBs fandom and scholarship is a pretty crowded field that I don't often play in, whereas with The Kinks there's much so much less written and debated about them (considering what massive hitters artistically they are) that I feel more confident mouthing off. Anyway, I think that something lyrically that The Kinks and Beach Boys have in common (particularly in this early to mid 70s era, in fact) is that they are lyrically very honest and direct, actually to the point of deceptive banality where the lyrics may seem trite on the surface but are in fact more profound for not aiming for anything more poetic.

    A Beach Boys/Kinks personnel comparison I recently landed upon: some might not agree, but I think it kind of helps explain to someone versed in the better documented Beach Boys interpersonal dramas to get a handle on the Ray and Dave dynamic: Ray is like Brian AND Mike rolled into one, whereas Dave is like Carl AND Dennis!
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2022
  4. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Molde, Norway
    Hah! NOW I finally know why that part sounded familiar. Thanks for the daily lesson, headmaster!
  5. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Molde, Norway
    No wonder I'm a Dave-man, then! Those two are the best :D

    Great point n post, BTW.
  6. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member


    Ray sure packs a lot in here to the lyric which is interesting though the most profound moments are both times he questions what he is living for and why he is.
    As stated the song is a bit long (I guess to fit in all the lyrics) and we get the constant repetition of the title line towards the end as a tool to remind us that Education can become a factual avalanche and remain a too constant factor for some.
    I don't mind it musically especially Mick and Dave and will add that I do enjoy how Mr Avory sounds here though overall the topic and lyric have a hard time maintaining my full interest and attention for the duration
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2022
  7. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Is your last name Wilbury?
  8. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    "Education" has a definite feel of Ray saying I'm Going To Write An Epic And Important Rock Song Now, but it doesn't really convince me. It's not bad but it struggles to hold my interest, to be honest, and ends up a bit Jesus Christ Superstar. The lyric strikes me yet another entry in the ongoing Ray Davies Vs. The Modern World saga and has a few frankly dodgy lines.
    Ex-Fed, Wondergirl, Smiler and 12 others like this.
  9. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    Dear @Fischman,
    The first posts are in, and I guess you were right about being on your own today… How I wish I could stand by you just like you did for me two (school)days ago! I wish I could now endorse your proposed Education bill but sadly, it won’t happen. This track is obviously the centerpiece of Schoolboys in Disgrace. At 7mn+ run time, it’s probably the longest Kinks song of them all, and that’s without counting its reprise for the Finale. It’s ambitious, grandiose and meant as a big set piece both for the LP and for the stage show. I hear it, I see it… I don’t feel it.

    Like Sir Winstanley, I think it falls short on most of its ambitions. It just doesn’t have the scale or the breadth of vision. It’s well crafted, I suppose, and well performed, but it sounds like it’s born out of purpose, rather than out of inspiration. Labored and strained, unusually heavy handed, full of intent but short on depth. It’s another song in which I hear a big Elton John influence, and even a big “Elton John band” influence, in the style of some background vocals, some Davey Johnstone guitar tones, the epic piano parts, an appetite for proto-disco bombast. But I’ll take Love Lies Bleeding or Bitter Fingers (the two Elton songs it reminds me the most of) over it any day of the week.

    Agreed. This is the make of break song of the record. Were it half as great as it’s meant to be, the LP would’ve been hailed as a masterpiece at the time and would still be held in high esteem today. But it didn’t and will not happen. Of course, some fans still adore it, but I think there’s some objective truth to this piece falling short of its ambition: Education just can't be a deep cut, it’s a grand statement. And grand statements need validation (popular, commercial, critical, historical, whatever) to achieve their proposed greatness.

    Things I like nonetheless:
    - The opening backing piano part already playing the chorus. That’s a nice structural touch.
    - Ray’s singing is fabulous in that same piano section. In command of every little nuance and modulation.
    - The first segue towards the He’s Evil throwback bit is a nice surprise. I enjoy it, I enjoyed it when I first noticed it (I heard He's Evil a few months after Education) , though I’m not sure it makes a whole lot of sense, given who’s supposed to sing the He’s Evil chant on Act 2. Maybe Ray should’ve used the real Flash theme instead but anyway, we get the idea just fine.
    - Mick’s re-entry in the “teachers teach” section is indeed brilliant in both sound and feel. It’s an old Kinks trick but it works every time.
    - Dave’s guitar sound is strangely middle of the road for most of the track (an issue I also have with much of the Sleepwalker record) but its grit and power are back with a vengeance just before the 5mn mark, for one of his trademark irresistible low notes staccato solos. This launches my favorite part of the song, the “You can’t tell me why I am” section, with more great singing. Alas, it’s then ruined with a reprise of the “E-du-u-ca-tion” refrain, complete with awful background singing and a terribly corny rhythm acceleration (we’ll get more of the same in the Finale).

    Ultimately, it is a real disappointment of a song and maybe the first time Ray’s creative instincts failed him : one can dislike some of his previous work but it’s hard to deny he almost always hit the mark he was shooting for. This time, I don't think he does. And because of the pivotal nature of the song in the LP, I'll argue the Schoolboys in Disgrace legacy – or lack of – is the direct result of it.
  10. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Molde, Norway
    You may call me Zimmy.
  11. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident


    The longest track in the entire Katalogue?

    It starts off well with its foreboding indications of an oncoming epic, and I like the way it gradually progresses and builds and tries to tell a story, and then turns it around to the personal view of the protagonist. It's fine probably up until the 5 minute mark but then it starts to get a bit show-tuney, and once the full choir comes in and it speeds up into that frantic finish it's gone a bit over-the-top for me. And then we get that end bit again later in the record!

    I would have preferred it if this track had ended differently, and then the frantic speeding up finish could have been saved for the finale.

    Lyrically there are obviously a few words in there that wouldn't pass present day filters but probably wouldn't have raised an eyelid back in 1975. It certainly tries to be an epic with a big historical sweep, but maybe Ray had already written that song, and chose not to use it? ("History"). It's a good effort but doesn't quite reach the status it's aiming for.
  12. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Molde, Norway
    Only a fool views history thru today's lenses or something to that effect :D

    The real problem with the song, is that it is way too long and that it doesn't really go anywhere really interesting. Great drumming doesn't save a quasi-epic from overstaying its welcome.
  13. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Without looking it up, name the other Kinks song that mentions "nuclear physics". (There may be more than one, but only one is springing to mind)
    Ex-Fed, markelis, DISKOJOE and 4 others like this.
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Ha, I'm struggling to keep my eyes open, never mind think lol

    Pass :)
  15. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident


    7:08 in length, normal Ray vocals, “in a deep, dark jungle…”, tinkling piano, solid bass. Hmm, a bit more interesting the 4th time around (I essentially ignored it the first couple of times). Is Ray trying to recap the entire history of learning, beginning with cavemen learning how to emit sounds and form language? (I take my interesting comment back as I’m now just hoping for the song to end.)

    Guitars roar in at , “thank the day when the primitive man,” (how many “man” suffixes has Ray worked his way through? Quiz question!).

    Lyrically? I have my doubts whether there’s a fan out there that has the lyrics to this song down pat.

    That’s the end of Side One. Verdict: not impressed so far.
  16. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Going off topic here, but this is an interesting point to me: I have little interest in and zero natural inclination towards mathematics, and I've long wondered why at my school, unlike other courses which were optional, we HAD to take mathematics up until 4th year (15-16 years old): I can only speak for my own education here, but I suspect this stipulation or something like it is duplicated across many other educational systems: anyway, I still wonder about that because although I understand the need for a command of arithmetic to get by in everyday life, all the later stuff we covered at GREAT length in high school (long division algebra and God knows what else) though I learned it by rote and got decent grades at the time, I had completely forgotten about within weeks of the exams and I've never had cause to use in my adult life, esp since I've definitely not gone down the STEM route in my career. It seems like a complete waste of my time in retrospect that I kinda resent being forced to take ! However I appreciate that perhaps I'm missing something in regards to that stuffs application to everyday adult life outwith STEM specialised occupations. Any illumination on this welcomed!
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2022
  17. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    There's one more song on side one! Not that it's likely to change your mind if you don't like what you've heard so far.
  18. GarySteel

    GarySteel Bastard of old

    Molde, Norway
    Really? :biglaugh:
  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I wouldn't disagree with that.
    I think the later stuff, which I have very rarely used, is more about connecting wires in the brain, than necessary in day to day life.
  20. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Oh! That’s the one that I never get past the intro. Forgot about it.
  21. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Interesting point: though it's an outtake from 3 albums ago, 'History' would have really fitted thematically with this album. It's kind of a short LP too, they could have fitted one more on. I could actually hear it an opener or closer for this album.
  22. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    I certainly admire Ray's ambition. "Education", I believe, was intended as a big statement song central to this project. It really provides a rationale for the entire concept - the importance of education and how humankind went from the cave to the sophisticated world we all live in. Rock n roll is generally more "Hot For Teacher" than a song like "Education". And the Kinks certainly seemed to be putting together another mini-epic in this song. I prefer a song like "The Hard Way" because it is succinct - musically and lyrically but I still find "Education" pretty fascinating.
  23. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    We need to make sure we get the right change from Tom the grocery boy!
  24. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Am still thinking about all the generic references slapped on by Ray in his song titles; and thinking how I do the same (though it’s usually The Newspaper Guy or The Headband Psycho etc).

    Man vs Mister:
    Tin Soldier Man
    Plastic Man
    A Well Respected Man
    Session Man
    20th Century Man
    Artificial Man
    (buried in song) Primitive Man


    Mr. Churchill Says
    Mr. Songbird
    Mister Pleasant
    Mr. Reporter
    (in song) Mr. Black
  25. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    'Mr Big Man' from the next LP is a double threat!

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