Kinks – A Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy

When I was 12, I was in a Dime Store in my small town (long since gone…another WalMart casualty) walking by the Mynah Bird all of us kids talked to in 1979…looked down at the record rack and I saw this record by the Kinks. When I first saw it I thought it was the Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy I’d been hearing on the radio…by Bad Company.

I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the record and liked it more. I had a Kinks greatest hits album and knew some about them but this record got me into them heavily.

This song peaked at #30 in the Billboard 100 in 1978. Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy was on the Misfits album and it peaked at #40 on the Billboard Album charts in 1978.

Inspired by the death of Elvis Presley and the departures of bassist Andy Pyle and pianist John Gosling from The Kinks, Ray writes about whether rock and roll is something mature adults should do.

From Songfacts

Kinks leader Ray Davies wrote this song, calling it a “Method acting songwriting job.”

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.”

The line, “The King is dead, rock is done,” is a reference to Elvis.
The lyrics go on to describe a man named Dan living in Davies’ block who is a huge fan of The Kinks. Whenever he feels unhappy, Dan loses himself in their music, “living in a rock ‘n’ roll fantasy.”

By 1978 The Kinks may have been selling out Madison Square Garden, but they weren’t altogether happy. “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” details Ray Davies and his brother Dave considering breaking up the band. “The song is about two guys,” Ray told Q Magazine. “Shall we call it a day?”

Released as the first single from Misfits, the track was The Kinks’ most successful single in the US since their 1970 top ten hit “Lola.”

A Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy

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
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 any more

Don’t want to spend my life living in a rock ‘n’ roll fantasy

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

14 thoughts on “Kinks – A Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy”

    1. When I first listened I was hanging on to every word…This was the key of getting me into the Kinks.
      Yes you said it perfectly about this song…it is a transition song.

      Something I noticed…from the mid seventies on the invasion bands were questioning whether they should be still together…The Who, Stones and Kinks.
      Shows you how much they changed the business.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A very good song, I’d never really paid a lot of attention to the lyrics before. Interesting the background to them. Also a song I don’t know if I’ve ever heard on regular radio except once again David Marsden’s free-form one – he seems to like it a lot or else I might not have heard this one at all. A shame that

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This song opened them up to me and I bought their next two albums…Give The People What They Want and State of Confusion…in between I started to listen to their sixties stuff.
      Give The People What They Want is still a favorite of mine. Very crunchy with punk influences.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. He saw a light coming from an apartment after Elvis died and someone mourning Elvis…so that was Dan…a little out there but it works…there was probably alot of Dan’s around the band.
      cool song though

      Like

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