Kinks – Picture Book

The guitar riff to this song is one to remember. When I heard Green Day’s song “Warning”I knew where they got the inspiration for their song.

Ray Davies wrote this about the nostalgic feel that comes from looking through photo albums. The song was originally written for a planned Davies solo project, but he  relented and let The Kinks take a shot at it. It was recorded in May 1968 and released that November  The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society.

Davies, who also acted as producer, wanted the sound of the album to reflect its old-fashioned themes. He wanted it more low-fi.

The song was an album track but The song gained a new popularity when it was used on a Hewlett-Packard 2004 commercial promoting their digital cameras and printers that featured numerous “Pictures Of You” superimposed with each other.

Dave Davies: “Halfway through ‘Picture Book,’ I was trying to do a bit of jazz improvisation like Jo Stafford,”  “You can almost hear Ray mimicking or singing across it, ‘scooby-dooby-doo,’ poking fun at what I was saying. That was quite a spontaneous album.”

From Songfacts

Along with Village Green‘s closing track “People Take Pictures of Each Other,” this song uses photography to drive home the album’s concept about holding onto and appreciating the past. “There’s more value in an old picture than there is now on iPhones,” Ray Davies told Rolling Stone in 2018. “I know a guy. He’s homeless and I chat with him sometimes in the street. He’s got a picture of his family in his pocket, and he’s always got a picture with him, he says, ‘For when things get really low'” (pause) “It’s all gotten cheaper because of iPhones.”

The vocal harmonies for the Village Green Preservation Society album were worked out by Ray Davies, Dave Davies and Pete Quaife round the piano. Dave Davies has fond memories of creating the sweet choirboy vocal harmonies to “Picture Book.”

Picture Book

Picture yourself when you’re getting old,
Sat by the fireside a-pondering on
Picture book, pictures of your mama, taken by your papa a long time ago.
Picture book, of people with each other, to prove they love each other a long ago.
Na, na, na, na, na na.
Na, na, na, na, na na.
Picture book.
Picture book.

A picture of you in your birthday suit,
You sat in the sun on a hot afternoon.
Picture book, your mama and your papa, and fat old Uncle Charlie out cruising with their friends.
Picture book, a holiday in August, outside a bed and breakfast in sunny Southend.
Picture book, when you were just a baby, those days when you were happy, a long time ago.
Na, na, na, na, na na.
Na, na, na, na, na na.
Picture book.
Picture book.
Picture book.
Picture book.

Picture book,
Na, na, na, na na,
Na, na, na, na na,
A-scooby-dooby-doo.
Picture book,
Na, na, na, na na,
Na, na, na, na na,
A-scooby-dooby-doo.

Picture book, pictures of your mama, taken by your papa a long time ago.
Long time ago,
Long time ago,
Long time ago,
Long time ago,
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

21 thoughts on “Kinks – Picture Book”

  1. Good song, and doubtless one that got inside Green Day’s head at least subconsciously. The HP ad reference is odd though- I remember an ad like that, but in Canada at least, I remember them using the Cure’s song “Pictures of You” for it. Maybe different soundtrack (if an ad HAS a soundtrack) in different countries.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a great tune I don’t believe I had heard before. While I feel I know a good deal of Kinks music from throughout their career, it actually comes down to certain songs only. I haven’t really explored many of their albums in greater detail.

    As for that riff, wow, this really sounds like Green Day grabbed it. Of course, since most professional musicians listen to plenty of other music, it could have been deliberately or unconsciously. One would want to believe it was the latter, since it’s so obvious!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yea I don’t think they intentionally did it…but that is pretty close!
      They are worth exploring. Their late sixties concept albums were really great…I also like their late seventies early eighties rock albums also. No matter the style…you can always tell if Ray Davies wrote it.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I need to listen to that album again…”People Take Pictures of Each Other”…it’s been a few years. The title track is in my top 5 of Kinks songs…although I like a live version from 1973. If you ever get bored look it up…I believe it was Don Kirshner presents TV concert. Everything they played was great…I usually don’t go with live versions but this is that good. It’s on youtube.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure it was unintentional… but when I first heard their song I thought they were covering the Kinks…which would fit them. Both are good songs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was going to ask you how you were doing. I’ve had a nice weekend…I’ve had to work some but that is alright since I can do it at home. I’m glad you had a nice visit. Has your mom totally recovered?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes she has, thank you for asking. I got Meals On Wheels started for her right away and committed to visiting her weekly and my other sibs have stepped up also. Brother who lives across the street from her brings her dinner or has her over for dinner. Other brother that is on the road during the week drops in, etc. on weekends, and my sister does most of the day to day running/shopping etc. She is thriving with the attention 🙂 Glad you are enjoying your weekend, Max.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m glad the siblings stepped up because in some families that doesn’t happen all of the time. Glad you all have it covered Lisa. At least she won’t be as vulnerable anymore.

        Liked by 1 person

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