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

    This sounds feasible
     
  2. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I have noodles cooking, when they're al-dente, I'll let you know :)
     
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  3. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    That is a very good point and unlikely to be a mechanism not considered for Ray's self preservation.
    In 1993 Mick Jagger was interviewed by a journalist (upon the release of Wandering Spirit) who gave the opinion to Mick that he could write the most nakedly open and heartfelt lyrics and it would by and large not be noticed or even written about whereas for someone like Bruce Springsteen it would be clearly spotlighted.
     
  4. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manhattan
    Black Messiah

    Two one-dimensional songs in a row. Pity, as the opening eight lines are so promising. As our grand poobah opines in his wonderful (and diplomatic) summary, Ray is either going for a Big Idea or a big joke. I thought he could/should have gone the grand statement route, but it seems as though Ray loses interest in his own songs too frequently. He’s not exactly crawling across the floor in his underwear trying to find a rhyme for orange. I can’t help thinking a Randy Newman or John Prine would have written a much more challenging (and fun) lyric. For me the nagging question is, Why can’t Ray flesh out his ideas anymore? These just are not fully formed thoughts/lyrics and we’ll be seeing more examples of this in future (near and distant). In his prime he was to many the poet laureate of rock & roll, a top lyricist; this seems to begin petering out in the mid-seventies.
    Feeling much better now, so let’s return to the song at hand, shall we? I am actually fonder of it now then upon first hearing it in 1985. The music keeps me, if not wanting more, well, not wanting less. The cod-reggae, Dave’s choppy chords, Ray’s paranoid vocal in the open, all winning. They might have been having a laugh with this one. On further inspection of the lyrics, which I probably haven’t looked at in donkeys years, I don’t find them or their author to be racist. A mixed up, muddled up mess, maybe, but nothing more. As the kids say, a ‘bad optic.’ Offensive is the Dr. Phil lyrics tacked onto the end. Did I mention I like this song?
     
  5. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    No idea but @Wondergirl stated it doesn't rise.
     
  6. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manhattan
    I’m finishing up the Jon Savage book ‘England’s Dreaming’ and had to chuckle (inaudibly, I’m not a madman) when Tom Robinson was mentioned. EMI, after the Sex Pistols debacle, signed TRB for some street cred. Here’s Mr. Savage: ‘Robinson had recorded for Ray Davies’ Konk label with soft rockers Cafe Society: as well as a business headache, he’d picked up Davies’ music-hall inflections and knack for lyrical reportage.’ It may have been more a migraine.
     
  7. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    True but it may well be more a case of opportunism than stupidity!
     
  8. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    boys! BOYS! this thread will be shut down not because of possible racist lyrics but for bad puns.
     
  9. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Location:
    Australia
    I am only commenting here on members posts and not Ray at all.
     
  10. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Ah! I get it now. Sorry, I misread your original comment.
     
  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Rock And Roll Fantasy.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    B-side
    • "Artificial Light" (U.K.)
    • "Live Life" (U.S.)
    • "Get Up" (Canada)
    Released 19 May 1978
    Recorded July 1977 – January 1978 at Konk Studios, London
    Genre Rock
    Length 4:58
    Label Arista 189 (U.K.)
    Arista AS 0342 (U.S.)
    Songwriter(s) Ray Davies
    Producer(s) Ray Davies

    stereo mix (4:58), recorded Jan 1978 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Hello you, hello me, hello people we used to be
    Isn't it strange, we never changed
    We've been through it all yet we're still the same
    And I know it's a miracle we still go, and for all we know
    We might still have a way to go

    Hello me, hello you, you say you want out
    Want to start anew, throw in your hand
    Break up the band, start a new life, be a new man
    But for all we know, we might still have a way to go
    Before you go, there's something you ought to know

    There's a guy in my block, he lives for rock
    He plays records day and night
    And when he feels down he puts some rock 'n' roll on
    And it makes him feel alright
    And when he feels the world is closing in
    He turns his stereo way up high

    He just spends his life living in a rock 'n' roll fantasy
    He just spends his life living on the edge of reality
    He just spends his life in a rock 'n' roll fantasy
    He just spends his life living in a rock 'n' roll fantasy
    He just spends his life living on the edge of reality
    He just spends his life in a rock 'n' roll fantasy
    He just spends his life living in a rock 'n' roll fantasy

    Look at me, look at you
    You say we've got nothing left to prove
    The King is dead, rock is done
    You might be through but I've just begun
    I don't know, I feel free and I won't let go
    Before you go, there's something you ought to know

    Dan is a fan and he lives for our music
    It's the only thing that gets him by
    He's watched us grow and he's seen all our shows
    He's seen us low and he's seen us high
    Oh, but you and me keep thinking
    That the world's just passing us by

    Don't want to spend my life living in a rock 'n' roll fantasy
    Don't want to spend my life living on the edge of reality
    Don't want to waste my life hiding away anymore
    Don't want to spend my life living in a rock 'n' roll fantasy

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

    This song charted at 30 in the US and Canada, and it is the most successful single of the seventies in the US except for Lola. In Canada Apeman did better, and Supersonic Rocketship did better in the UK, Germany and The Netherlands.
    So essentially the bands biggest chart hits of the seventies end up being Lola, Apeman, Supersonic Rocketship and Rock And Roll Fantasy, in that order.

    This was the lead single from the Misfits album, and being quite successful, it seems slightly odd that the album didn't chart as well as Sleepwalker, but we see these odd chart anomalies all through the Kinks catalog, so we're probably not surprised.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dave says "It took nearly a year to put [Misfits] together, a couple of band members left, and Mick [Avory] didn't really want to do it. And [Ray and I] got together like we had so many times before, playing Chuck Berry records, having a laugh. And two songs came out of it, '[A] Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy' and 'Trust Your Heart,' which pulled the record together. That could very easily have been the end of [the band]. But there was something not yet resolved."

    Ray Davies has since said, "'A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy' a very personal song about Dave and I." He has also claimed that "A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy" inspired by both a Peter Frampton concert he attended and the death of rock 'n' roll legend Elvis Presley in 1977. He said, "It's a Method acting songwriting job. I use personal things to get something else out of me... Elvis Presley died last week and it all just added up."

    Ray has also said "I was trying not to be a hit machine - and we've certainly achieved that with a few albums. But we wanted to expand and find a new fan-base - and hopefully, we'd still be excited by the music. Things like "Misfits" and "A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy" a bit later were attempts to do both; music we got a kick out of, and also improve the fan-base."

    While he was writing the song in 1977, he learned that Elvis Presley had died, which influenced the lyric. He was staying in New York at the time, and when he looked out his window late at night, he saw a single light on in one of the buildings. Davies imagined that light being the apartment of an ardent Elvis fan, which became the character Dan the Fan in the song.

    The Kinks were falling apart around this time; guitarist Dave Davies wanted to stop touring, and keyboard player John Gosling and bass player Andy Pyle had decided that Misfits would be their last album with the group. Ray Davies explained in Rolling Stone: "The song was almost a homage to them; if you listen to the lyrics, it's about someone leaving the band because they've given up the cause, and the two brothers will find a way through this."

    -------------------songfacts and wiki---------------------------------------------------------

    This is another very personal song that Ray expands into a sort of eulogy for Elvis, and the possible breaking up of the Kinks..... To some degree Ray is pondering if they are too old to be playing rock and roll anymore..... and I think that he comes to the conclusion "no".... but let's see where we go here.

    The opening verse is almost directly a conversation between Ray and Dave. Initially it is a reflection that they have never really changed, in spite of all the stuff they have been through together. We have the thought that it is a miracle that they are still together doing what they do, and almost prophetically suggesting they may still have a long way to go.

    The second section we have Ray addressing the fact that Gosling and Pyle have left, but also the fact that Dave was in the throws of considering stopping touring, and possibly calling it quits. It ends up taking the form of Ray trying to convince Dave to stay, because they may still have a long way to go.

    For me this is the beauty of this song... It is a beautiful and gentle conversation between two brothers for the opening section, and it has an intimacy that is palpable.
    The next section tells us how important rock music is to some people, and although it may not seem like it from their position, struggling to keep it going, and wrestling with all the issues they had in front of them, what they do for a living does make a difference.

    The chorus essentially reinforces this. Rock and roll is a form of escapism that is desperately needed in an ugly world, and they provide that escape from reality. So although it may seem like it is just some songs, there are people that need it, to stop them from leaping from their high rise apartment.

    The next verse addresses this idea of leaving the band. I think we are looking at Dave here, but the lyric is really apt for Dave and Ray. The idea that they have nothing left to prove....
    We also get the reference to Elvis Presley, "The King Is Dead, Rock Is Done" ... no matter what the modern mentality towards it, or him for that matter, the whole arena of Rock music would likely not exist if not for Presley. All the white boys that started playing rock and roll music essentially stand on the shoulders of this giant, who broke down race barriers, and for anyone that studies what went down in those early years, it is well documented that even the black musicians of the day consider Elvis to have been incredibly important for them, and allowing their music to be exposed to the huge white audience that had been hidden from it for the most part. Also Presley proved to dubious record companies that this so called "black music" was music that all could enjoy, and for the companies, more importantly, It would sell. The industry considered rock music to be a passing fad, and were looking forward to getting back to nice music, and that's why when Elvis got drafted, Buddy Holly died, Jerry Lee had his issue, and Chuck Berry went to jail, the record companies inserted the semi-crooning pretty boys to take their place..... but the thing was, the people wanted to have that verve and energy of rock music, and when the UK bands came and served it back to them, slightly modified, it exploded again.... and this was Elvis Presley's legacy from his early Sun and RCA years. That is the actual reason he was referred to as the King, even though it is a term he rebuked.
    Here Ray shows a due tip of the hat to the guy that took this taboo music by the scruff of the neck, and brought it to an audience it had been hidden from, particularly in light of his tragic death.....

    Ray also states that "You might be through, but I've just begun"... it may sound strange, and I guess to folks that don't really see too far past the sixties output it would seem even more odd, but essentially it is somewhat like Ray is saying that for the last 13 or 14 years they have explored all the highways and byways of music that they have, and he feels he has a handle on who he is, and what he is doing, and this sentiment is reinforced by "I feel free, and I won't let go".

    The last line of that verse ties into the beautiful change up, that's essentially revisiting an earlier part of the song, but in such a grand and beautiful way that it sounds new and fresh.
    In a last effort to get Dave to stay
    "Before you go, there's something you ought to know"
    This is where we get to Dan the fan .... and frankly, Dan is a Misfit, and the only thing really keeping him alive is looking forward to a new album from his favourite band. Certainly this isn't a healthy mentality, because no matter how good, or popular, every band and artist will one day retire, or die, or just move on, but the world is an ugly place, and for all its potential, it never reaches it, so we end up with a plethora of people wrestling with a life based in reality, but dreaming of the fantasy .... it makes me think of @fspringer 's excellent post the other day of the hidden rigors of high school, where nobody felt like they fit in, whether they tried to or not, and everybody thought they were the only one struggling.... whether rightly or wrongly we all have our escape pods.
    I loved that reference up the top that I had not heard before, about Ray looking out into the night in New York about the time Elvis died, and seeing this one light in a room, and it becoming Dan the fan. I can imagine the thoughts and emotion involved in the untimely passing of a rock legend and the thought that the one lonely light was this heartbroken fan consoling themselves in the recorded legacy of the artist that "got them by".... and wondering, where do I go now?.....

    This whole section comes to a conclusion that could be read in a couple of ways, but I think the context and resultant history gives us one...
    "Oh, but you and me keep thinking
    That the world's just passing us by"
    After all the years of playing music, and digging deeply into, and exposing their souls for all to see, it seems like they may have wasted their lives.... are they doing the right thing? Is there any point? Have we ever reached anybody, and managed to share that little piece of ourselves we're willing to give up?
    The answer comes before the, sort of, question .... Dan is the one you know about, but there are more. The comfort, encouragement and joy that you give people may never be seen, or perhaps only slight glimpses, but it isn't about seeing it, it's about just doing it....
    If you're living your life being true to yourself, and you interact with other people, you will impact their lives... that is both comforting and scary ... and the even more odd thing is sometimes you will never even know, and it is only because of the occasional, perhaps even only once, that it is brought to your attention.

    This is like a sister song to Misfits, in a way, and it digs in different ground to a degree, but it is at the very least a really interesting glimpse into a hotel room with Dave and Ray considering their future, and their past, and what do we do now.
    "Don't wanna spend my life hiding away anymore" - it's time for the masks to come off. The characters were fun, but it's time to get real. We have people who support and follow us, and they experience, or muster the courage to get through life through our songs, I don't want to live in a fantasy anymore, the edge of reality is a great song, but people need us to be real, and get down to it......

    Perhaps I'm drawing some long bows there, but that's pretty much how I see this lyric. It was interesting when we came out of the sixties material that many said Ray lost his subtlety and charm lyrically in the seventies, but I personally just don't see that. I'm sure there are plenty of songs that fit into that mold, but there were plenty of songs in the sixties that fit there also, so it becomes a moot point. There are a wealth of fantastic lyrics in the seventies and beyond, but of course, the context of how one looks at them may alter that perception.

    Musically this is another wonderful piece of music, and the arrangement is absolutely fantastic.

    We open with that organ, and it slides into the picture like a morning sun rising. It gently comes in and swells into a full chord. A couple of bass notes add to the feel nicely.

    As that opening chord fades, we get the keyboard playing staccato chord stabs gently in the background, with this really nice swooping bassline .
    Meanwhile Ray is delivering this beautiful delicate vocal that has a nice breathy quality and enhances the opening even more.
    On the last line we get one acoustic guitar strum, and a really nice measured drum fill.
    At the start of the second verse we get this nice simple guitar.... just playing one note with a bend, that is echoed as harmony in the opposite speaker.... simple, but really very effective.
    It repeats again a little later in the verse and then just before the end we get this really nice delicate little run, that again is just perfect.
    This leads us into the next section... which is probably another verse, but somewhat works like a bridge.... this is another Ray song that doesn't necessarily have a traditional structure, and the sections are more like flowing sections than verse, chorus, bridge type sections... but anyway..

    This next section builds us into the heart of the song, and we get this excellent dirty rhythm guitar pumping up the dynamics, again with some really nice drum work, that adds to the building feel.... in fact the drums here are excellent.
    There are a lot of nice little bits and pieces going on all through here.
    We hit what is essentially the chorus, at about 1:45 mind you, which is just not very usual for a single.... as documented by Roxette, don't bore us, get to the chorus, not that I agree with this sentiment, but that is the popular opinion......
    Another thing Ray does here that is not usual for a seventies rock song, is we have this elongated chorus that goes for over a minute..... personally I find it to be quite engaging, but I guess some folks may find it too much, but for me the building dynamic and the delivery of it make all the difference.
    At the end of the first run through of the chorus we get this excellent rhythm guitar that is using its percussive qualities to add to the feel. At the end of the second run through we get the same percussive guitar, but we also have this ascending lead guitar line that enhances this even more.
    We get the first line of the chorus again and it has this feeling of resolve or something like that, and then the dynamics all fall away to a gentle verse that builds back up halfway through.

    Then we get to, for me at least, the magic moment of the song, and as much as I like the lyric, as explained up top (the dan the fan bit :) )the music and the arrangement is like a gust of refreshing air. It sweeps into the song and everything just lifts. It is a stunning piece of writing and arranging that moves this song to another level that if I was hearing it for the first time I just wouldn't expect..... almost like, up to this stage this is a good song that has this reflective feel about where we are at this time, but when this change comes in, it lifts it up into a masterclass piece of songwriting ....
    We get a little swirl of synth? and the rhythm of the song unites and solidifies, and a glorious backing vocal chorus comes in singing as a layered vocal chord. It is likely somewhat Beach Boys in styling, but I hear a hundred percent Kinks.... this section also has this pulse in there that is compelling. Part of the vocal sounds double tracked too, and it all just sounds excellent.
    Essentially it is a rerun of the earlier bridge/alternate verse, but here it moves to a new dimension like a completely different section.

    Halfway through this section it moves back into the regular groove of the song and runs into the chorus.
    This chorus is also more full, and we get some lovely lead guitar from Dave. We also get that percussive guitar and what was initially just the ascending lead guitar line, we get this fully kind of orchestrated, in a band sense, section, that embellishes the original lone lead guitar, and again it takes the previous section and raises it to the next level.

    We resolve and the intensity drops and we move into another brilliantly used retard, and this takes us into a reflection of the opening keyboard, but this timeI think it is the synth.... either way it sounds sensational and works beautifully.

    This is another masterclass of songwriting from Ray, with the music beautifully flowing with the narrative of the lyric, and the use of aural variants to make subsequent sections bigger and better than the earlier versions.
    When the vocal is reflective, so is the music, and the whole idea of the song is based in a reflection of where are we? and where are we going?... frankly if these Misfits sessions had only produced the title track and this one, they were worth the effort. If these had been released purely as an A and B side, it would be equal to any single ever released in overall quality.

    So again Ray manages to write this song that is semi-autobiographical, and yet ties it into the fans who listen to the band. Somewhat managing to capture the magic of a live performance, where the band and audience feed off each other to keep moving forward.

    Another must have track for any Kinks compile..... and a closer listen and examination lifts this up from already solid ground. If Misfits is the Waterloo Sunset of the Arista era, then Rock and Roll Fantasy is the Shangri La.

     
  12. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland
    Another fantastic write-up by our fearless (and diplomatic!) leader. A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy is a fantastic song and an obvious choice for the lead single, and I'm glad that it was a success, at least by 1970s Kinks standards! This is one of the few songs on the album that I can remember just by seeing the title, no matter how long it is since I've played it.
     
  13. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I couldn't find a single mix
     
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  14. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques Somebody's Bad Handwroter

    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Clearly a masterpiece in song and write up Headmaster. I had just turned 8 six days before Elvis passed (found out at football practice of all places) and like Dan the Fan, stayed up all night recording songs off the local COUNTRY station of all things until the wee hours of the morning, hearing many for the first time and being captivated by the range I never really knew Elvis had.

    It would be several years before discovering this Kinks masterpiece, perhaps not even until the Word of Mouth era but it clicked right away. I was ‘Dan the Fan’. It’s one of those songs that I go out of my way NOT to listen to that much because it’s just too damn close. A true classic and worthy of being one of their biggest American hits. Chokes me up every time. Choking me up now
     
  15. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    Great song, though every time I listen to it I feel like I can't wait for the chorus to come in because it's so good. One thing I would say is that the "Hello me, hello you" part sounds really like a Bee Gees song, but I can't work out which one - possibly something from the "Mr. Natural" album? I'd have to listen to that album again
     
  16. Ex-Fed

    Ex-Fed Not Fed Ex

    Location:
    New York State
    Call me old-fashioned, but I tend not to respond to novels about novel-writing and rock songs about the travails of playing in a rock band. It all seems rather arid.

    I wouldn't be reading this thread if all the posts were about how hard it is to post, and whether we should carry on posting at all.
     
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  17. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    "A Rock & Roll Fantasy"

    A wonderful track and certainly one of the great highlights of the Arista period. It's a lyric that is personal to the band, but is also personal to anyone who is a fan. The "Dan is a fan" part brings a lump to your throat. It's strange to think how close The Kinks came to ending after this - there are many great tracks that we would have missed out on had that been the case.
     
  18. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    I hate songs about being on the road and all that nonsense but I don't mind songs about actually being in a band. Ian Hunter write some good ones!
     
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  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I was 8 too.... it happened just before my 9th birthday. I loved a lot of Elvis songs, but I hadn't hit my musical obsessive stage yet. I was going to be an Australian Rule s Footballer, and never had a football out of my hand until my lower back messed up when I was about 17. Luckily 5 or 6 years prior to that I had started to become a musical obsessive and so I had that to fall back on.
    Elvis's death was bizarre and surreal to me, and seeing masses of people all over the world mourning was quite impactful to me.... I had a similar reaction to John Lennon's death .... and the thing was, they were both tragic deaths that seem like they should never have happened.

    I guess I feel like this song speaks to me because I lived in a Rock and Roll Fantasy until my early forties, when I ended up selling my home studio and became an ordinary work-a-day Johnny... in a sense, because I had always had to work lol
    Probably the song that really most captures it for me though would be Kevin Johnson Rock and Roll I Gave You All The Best Years Of My Life


    I don't regret a day, it was an incredible journey that taught me a lot about myself, and the rest of the world.... I wouldn't change a thing, but in terms of how the world thinks, it was a waste of time :)
     
  20. Endicott

    Endicott Forum Resident

    A Rock And Roll Fantasy

    One of Ray's periodic state-of-the-band tunes, and for my money the best one. It's a lovely, sweeping power ballad, with a strong melody and some of Dave's most tasteful playing, decorative in the verses and taking full charge in the bridges and choruses. Ray's vocal is sincere and straightforward, without much affectation. It was the Kinks' most successful US single since "Lola", and deservedly so.

    This is a moment in the Kinks' journey where Ray is pausing and taking stock. Elvis had just died, and the rock and roll The King had once been the face of had evolved in so many directions since his prime -- and the Kinks had blazed one of those trails. So Ray is typically wondering what it all means and where does he go from here. Is it all worth it? This song is oddly self-contradictory -- after asserting "for all we know, we might still have a way to go" and "you may be through, but I've just begun", he concludes by saying he DOESN'T want to keep on living this rock and roll fantasy -- it might be worthwhile for the fans (this is kind of a sister song to "Juke Box Music"), but not for him. This is a knotty thread to unspool, but as we saw, he had plenty of gallons of gas left in the tank.

    Then there's that imaginary conversation Ray has with (I presume) Dave. He's telling him you might want to go off on your own, and if you do good luck, but I really would rather you not. As complicated as the brothers' relationship is, Ray has always been fiercely loyal to the Kinks' brand -- he could have gone off and established his own solo career in 1966 if he'd wanted to, but instead stuck it out with Dave (and Mick) low and high. The Kinks are his rock and roll fantasy, and for all his ambivalence, they continued to be for many more years.

    A wonderful song, and deceptively complex.
     
  21. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    I'll admit it, reluctantly : it's clearly a “grand” song but of all the acknowledged later Kinks klassiks, this is one I’ve always failed to love without (minor) reservations. I appreciate the musical and thematic quote of Celluloid Heroes in the chorus. The flow of “he just spends his life living in a rock’n roll fantasy” is very reminiscent of “I wish my life was a non-stop Hollywood movie show” . The two ideas (rock fantasy and celluloid life) resonate with each other in a fascinating way, especially in the end, when we get to the negative form ("don't want to"). But I've never felt the two songs were on the same level. For one, Ray doesn’t sing it as good. He reaches for tenderness and unadorned frailty but his voice is starting to change and it sounds a bit forced, like he’s not 100% adjusted to it yet. I also think the “and I kno-ow” / “and for all we kno-ow” hook is a bit too childishly cute. McCartney’s been ridiculed all his life for just being suspected (often unfairly) of doing that type of things. The big three notes guitar assault at the climax of the song (2’38’’) is spectacular but sounds a lot like what Barclay James Harvest’s John Lees did in the mid-seventies. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge (almost unreasonable) fan of Barclay James Harvest, like a whole lot of French kids raised in the eighties, but this poppy-progish bombastic style is still a surprise coming from Dave-Death of a Clown-Davies. Rather tellingly, even though it was a hit, this song didn't get to replace Celluloid Heroes in the setlist in the long run.

    All that being said, there’s still a lot to enjoy and admire for me in this song. For one, it has an impressive way of sustaining its building momentum and crescendo for three minutes straight, before coming to a (stunning) break. When you get to the big release (at the 3'00'' mark), they channel their inner Beach Boys again, which I never realized they did so often. I’ve mentioned the Celluloid Heroes quote already, but what about the Waterloo Sunset one, with the dugudung dugudung dugudung staccato rhythm guitar making a triumphant return throughout the song ? Such a wonderful touch… Of course, the fact this song is at heart a brotherly me and you Ray’n Dave thing is supremely moving and it says a lot about Ray’s perspective on their unique bound and their (even more unique) band. In many ways, I see it as Brother part 2 (only better) just as much as the Juke Box Music counterpart @Endicott's just observed it is. Ultimately, when we reach the heartbreaking “the King is dead, rock is done” moment, all my defenses and reservations suddenly evaporate, Ray’s voice gets to a point of mature solemnity that is quite unusual for him, and it all comes together. There’s a sense of defeat, but also closure, epochal turning point and fatalistic torch bearing that’s absolutely heart wrenching, exactly what the song’s about and what it set out to be. At that moment, I don't have any claims or reservations anymore, A Rock’n Roll Fantasy overcomes all my questions and doubts, and achieves virtually all it was shooting for.
     
  22. pyrrhicvictory

    pyrrhicvictory Forum Resident

    Location:
    Manhattan

    singing in my hotel...
     
  23. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Rock n Roll Fantasy" is the most memorable song on Misfits in my view. It builds nicely to that great chorus. Rock n roll, to me, has always been about the audience - and writers like Pete Townshend wrote about that ("The Punk And The Godfather", "Who Are You") and Ray has written his share as well. I agree with @Endicott that it fits nicely with "Juke Box Music" nicely. Of course, the death of the King had a huge impact on some of that audience (not me - Elvis was passe in 1977 as far as I was concerned) but more than a few songs focused on that event (Bruce Springsteen "Johnny Bye Bye" for example). As a song, I find "Rock n Roll Fantasy" just delivers over and above the other songs on this record. It is well constructed - it builds from its slow beginnings and that chorus reminds us of Ray's ability to write a memorable tune.
     
  24. pantofis

    pantofis Senior Member

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    A Rock'n'Roll Fantasy

    I must admit the opening verses are very strong. Then again, with a line like "hello you, hello me" it would be hard not to have a hook really. The line "And I know it's a miracle we still go" has another wonderful melody. But right after that I always find myself losing interest, as the chorus don't seem to deliver on the same level as those promising verses.

    I also recognize the similarity with "Celluloid Heroes", but this is weaker. And the way they blow it up with grand backing vocals - mixed too loud - and again those vibrato-less polyphonic synths don't really improve it.

    I guess it's one of those "you had to be there" songs, what with Elvis' death and the uncertain future of rock music, when men in their 30es were considered too old for rock... But I just don't myself falling for the song.
     
  25. fspringer

    fspringer Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Rock n Roll Fantasy: From the opening strains of organ, I knew this was going to be big from the first radio listen. It just sounded right, and it helped that the lyrics tackled an interesting theme. Again, Ray nails a vibe with so many of his fans, being too far into rock music. I know I was as a teenager and well into young adulthood. I can't recall how I did this at the time, and I did it for years, but I would imagine myself singing and performing these songs. And I mean hard-core imagining! Like I was living it. I can look back now and see how totally nuts it was to get into this head space, but so much of being a teenager is imagination and potential, as opposed to direct reality. That eventually morphed into a more healthy, lifelong apprecation of music, a springboard into all sorts of genres, eras and styles. But for a good decade there from the mid-70s to mid-80s, I was in that strange rock-and-roll head that now feels more like I dreamed it.

    Regarding Ray's vocals, Fortuleo states, "He reaches for tenderness and unadorned frailty but his voice is starting to change and it sounds a bit forced, like he’s not 100% adjusted to it yet." I can't recall the exact wordage, but in his Kinks book, John Mendelsohn teed off on this type of vocal, recognizing it was an affection of sorts, like Bruce Springsteen slipping into a fake Okie accent on his more folk-leaning material. It doesn't bother me, but it deeply annoyed him! I can hear it, too, and he'd use it a few more times with ballads on the next few albums. Who would he be imitating to sing like this? I don't know, but it sounded more like he just wanted to try something new vocally. Even a similar song from years earlier like "Celluloid Heroes" doesn't have vocals like this. I'd be curious to know if he experimented with different vocal tones on this song before landing on this one.
     

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