Kinks – Waterloo Sunset

One of the great Kinks songs. The song peaked at #2 in the UK Charts but failed to chart in America.

Ray Davies brought this to the band while they were in the middle of recording the album. He was reluctant to share the lyrics because they were so personal. In a Rolling Stone magazine interview, his brother (and Kinks guitarist) Dave Davies said Ray felt “it was like an extract from a diary nobody was allowed to read.”

From Songfacts.

Written by Kinks lead singer Ray Davies, he called this “a romantic, lyrical song about my older sister’s generation.”

Waterloo Bridge is in London, and the lyrics are about a guy looking out of a window at two lovers meeting at Waterloo Station. Davies used to cross Waterloo Bridge every day when he was a student at Croydon Art School.

It is often claimed that the line, “Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station every Friday night” is about the relationship between actor Terence Stamp and actress Julie Christie. However, Ray Davies denied this in his autobiography. He subsequently revealed that it was “a fantasy about my sister going off with her boyfriend to a new world and they were going to emigrate and go to another country.”

According to Kinks biographer Nick Hasted, Terry was Ray’s nephew Terry Davies, whom he was close to in early teenage years.

Further confusing the matter, Davies told Rolling Stone in 2015 that Julie and Terry were “big, famous actors at the time.” The actors had been dating since the early ’60s and starred together in the film Far From the Madding Crowd, which is often cited as the direct inspiration for the song, but the film didn’t come out until six months after the single’s release.


Waterloo Sunset

Dirty old river, must you keep rolling
Flowing into the night?
People so busy, make me feel dizzy
Taxi light shines so bright

But I don’t need no friends
As long as I gaze on
Waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is the evening time
Waterloo sunset’s fine (Waterloo sunset’s fine)

Terry meets Julie
Waterloo station
Every Friday night
But I am so lazy, don’t want to wander
I stay at home at night

But I don’t feel afraid
As long as I gaze on
Waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is the evening time
Waterloo sunset’s fine (Waterloo sunset’s fine)

Millions of people swarming like flies ’round
Waterloo underground
But Terry and Julie cross over the river
Where they feel safe and sound
And they don’t need no friends
As long as they gaze on
Waterloo Sunset
They are in paradise

Waterloo sunset’s fine (Waterloo sunset’s fine)
Waterloo sunset’s fine

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

18 thoughts on “Kinks – Waterloo Sunset”

  1. from an under-rated clapton song to an under-rated Brit band… a good tune from a very good band. So, his older sis inspired 2 of their best songs then – this & ‘Come Dancing’.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One song that would be in the Top 10 songs -of both me and my wife. I don’t know how many times we are out and about and she asks me to play Waterloo Sunset on the Ipod. What a great and beautiful song.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I highly recommend Ray’s autobiography, X-Ray (and the subsequent live performance companion album Storyteller.) The book gives an intimate portrait of the important role Ray & Dave’s many older sisters (the boys were the much younger babies of the family) and their boyfriends and husbands had on the music of the Kinks. The Davies were a very close knit family and featured quite often in Ray’s songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you…I pick a couple of audibles every month because of my work commute. I will include that one.
      I just finished with Kenney Jones autobiography…I do recommend that one.


      1. I’m just reading your “Let it Rain” post. I delight in learning the tidbits about the songs. Stephen Stills in the middle and a drum solo by a man who later iced his mother. Wow.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m slowly checking your past posts. Lots of great songs inhabit these pages (and others that I get the feeling I will like). I’ll try not to comment too much. But this one… This is definitely one of my all time favorites. A true masterpiece of the whole pop/rock phenomenon. So simple yet so rich in imagery and feelings, it touches me every time.
    Sometimes I think that being short, simple and to the point is almost a lost quality in many recent artists. Songs seem to go on and on with needless 2 minute intros, 8 minute duration, and atmospheric gimmicks that dilute the point. Artists get carried away and being able to self-produce has it’s drawbacks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can always comment as much as you want. I appreciate you reading.
      I can’t say it better than you did…to the point is lost on current artists. Sometimes self indulgence works but most of the time it’s needless.
      This song is as close to a perfect pop song as you can get.
      The songs you will find here are off the wall…I just randomly pick them…no rhyme or reason except that I like them.

      Liked by 1 person

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