The Kinks – Give The People What They Want…Desert Island Albums

This is my eighth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.


In 1981 I remember hearing Destroyer on the radio and was confused..Wait…is this a new version of All Day and All of the Night? I wanted that song so I bought the album. Give The People What They Want combines different styles. Punk, Rock, and a little New Wave was thrown in on a few of the songs. I had bought singles and a greatest hits by the Kinks but this was the first new Kinks album I purchased. It’s not considered among their best but I think it’s been underrated and the album still stands up today.

It didn’t get the recognition that their next album “State of Confusion” received because it didn’t have a huge hit single like Come Dancing. Songs like Better Things, Around The Dial,  and Destroyer did get radio play though.

Two years after I bought the album I saw the Kinks live at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. They opened with “Around The Dial,” the opener off of this album.. Ray started to write songs that played well in arenas during this time. The concert was right up there with The Stones concerts to me. I was lucky to see the Kinks while they still were still releasing new albums.

Their energy was off the charts. They were approaching middle age but they had more energy than their opening band (The White Animals) who were in their early 20s.

The album opener… Around The Dial is a song that I totally can relate to today because of pre-programmed radio shows. It’s about corporations taking over radio and getting rid of the free form local DJ’s who played songs that their audience actually wanted to hear. This was starting to get popular in the late seventies…now it’s standard.

The song Give The People What They Want is my favorite song off the album. While writing Low Budget, their previous album, Ray was watching American TV including “That’s Incredible” where people did dangerous and insane stunts. He writes a fair statement about the viewing public…now and then. Parts of it are crude but is true to life.  When Oswald shot Kennedy, he was insane, But still we watch the re-runs again and again, We all sit glued while the killer takes aim…

Ray borrowed his own riff from All Day And All Of The Night and repurposed it for Destroyer. He also revisits Lola in the song. Destroyer reached #3 on the Billboard Rock Top Tracks chart and #85 on the Billboard 100.

Better Things has a  new wave feel to it and one of the few optimistic songs on the record. It’s the closing song on the album and changes the dark cynical tone of the album to a little more hopeful.

I finally brought an album to the island that wasn’t released in the 60s or 70s. This 1981 album rocks. It’s probably the hardest rock album that the Kinks ever produced…but it’s still unmistakably Ray Davies.

  1. Around The Dial
  2. Give The People What They Want
  3. Killers Eyes
  4. Predictable
  5. Add It Up
  6. Destroyer
  7. Yo-Yo
  8. Back To Front
  9. Art Lover
  10. A Little Bit Of Abuse
  11. Better Things

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

27 thoughts on “The Kinks – Give The People What They Want…Desert Island Albums”

  1. Back in the day, my friend only had an eight track player in his car so we had a limited amount of music to play when we hung out: so, Bowie, the Clash, and Give the People What They Want were played on a continuous loop. Naturally, I am quite fond of this album. Lot’s of good memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always said my best concerts were the Who, Kinks, McCartney, and the Stones…in that order. That is how good they were…plus catching them in their 30s was cool.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is what I think also. Imagine seeing all of those when they were really young. The Beatles, Stones, and Kinks played on the same bill before…with Van Morrison in a band called Them…I can’t imagine.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea but for sentimental reasons…It was the first Kinks album I bought real time…it’s not their best but I really like it. It’s boarding on punk.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was lucky…I caught them in 1983…unlike the Stones or The Who who I saw much later…The Kinks were in their late 30s…they were on top of it. Very loud, hard, brash, and at times almost punk.
      I was at the Grand Ole Opry so it was a Theatre not an arena…I was close. The best word is very aggressive. They played a lot off of this album…and the album is the hardest album they did.

      LOL no brawls that night… but my ears rang forever.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. While I dig the Kinks and know a good number of their songs, I’d actually be hard pressed to name their best album. In general, I’m more drawn to their ’60s output. “You Really Got Me”, “All Day and All of the Night”, “Sunny Afternoon”, “Dead End Street” and “Waterloo Sunset” are some of my favorite tunes.

    It’s true “Destroyer” sounds a bit like a remake of “All Day and All of the Night” – good tune! Unfortunately, I never got to see them. I imagine the show you saw must have been amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In one comment I told someone I read a review and it said about this album… “This is punk music IF punk music was played by real musicians”… but it has the normal Kinks things also.


  3. they’d be a good one to see, and you got to see them in your prime! Nice! they had a real nice, if brief , career rejuvenation in the early-’80s with this one and ‘State of Confusion

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