Kinks – Victoria

I asked my son Friday night…What are you listening to? He told me Victoria by the Kinks… so Victoria it will be.

Victoria was written for Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire), a soundtrack to a British TV play on which Ray Davies collaborated with dramatist and screenwriter Julian Mitchell. The program was canceled at the last minute when the producer was unable to secure financial backing and has never been produced. However, Davies’ music was still recorded by the Kinks and released as a concept album.

The album peaked at #105 in the Billboard 100 in 1969. The song Victoria peaked at #62 in the Billboard 100 and #33 in the UK in 1970. It was the band’s first release to reach the chart since their Top 20 hit “Sunny Afternoon” in 1966.


From Songfacts

“Victoria” is a typically satirical Ray Davies song, containing many of his themes from his late ’60s material such as English nostalgia and the little people. It finds him fusing the image of the historical 19th Century UK queen and the grim realities of her downtrodden subjects’ life during her reign with the British rule of its Empire, which had reached its peak in Queen Victoria’s reign.

Musically, “Victoria” finds Ray Davies balancing the nostalgic music hall and rock sides of his songwriting. While the track is centered on a thumping rock electric blues guitar riff, the triumphant “Land of hope and gloria” bridge enhances the remainder of the song.

Commercially, “Victoria” represented a relative return of form for The Kinks. In the US, the song was chosen as the lead single from Arthur. It peaked at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Victoria” was released as the album’s third single in the UK, and was the only one to chart, reaching #33.

A cover version by The Fall was the Manchester band’s second UK Top 40 hit in 1988 peaking at #35.


Long ago life was clean
Sex was bad, called obscene
And the rich were so mean
Stately homes for the Lords
Croquet lawns, village greens
Victoria was my queen
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, ‘toria

I was born, lucky me
In a land that I love
Though I am poor, I am free
When I grow I shall fight
For this land I shall die
Let her sun never set
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, ‘toria
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, ‘toria

Land of hope and gloria
Land of my Victoria
Land of hope and gloria
Land of my Victoria
Victoria, ‘toria
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, ‘toria

Canada to India
Australia to Cornwall
Singapore to Hong Kong
From the West to the East
From to the rich to the poor
Victoria loved them all

Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, ‘toria
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

11 thoughts on “Kinks – Victoria”

  1. Excellent song. I would’ve bet it did far better as a single. Interesting story about its background, I never knew anything of that canceled show or Davies working on one

    Liked by 1 person

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