Kinks – Dedicated Follower of Fashion

The Kinks were so different than other bands. They may have reached the popularity of the Who if they wouldn’t have been banned from touring in America in the late sixties.

The song pokes fun at the fashion scene on Carnaby Street in the Swinging Sixties London…I was written from the point of view of someone who was there living every minute of it. It was released on the Pye label in the UK on February 25 backed by “Sittin’ On My Sofa,” and on Reprise in the United States on April 27. The band’s 10th UK single, it was produced by Shel Talmy.

The song makes me want to go to Carnaby Street but…only in the sixties when it acted as the epicenter of fashion.

The song peaked at #36 in the Billboard 100, #4 in the UK, and #11 in Canada in 1966.

Shel Talmy: “Ray Davies was one of the more prolific songwriters I have ever worked with. He could literally write a dozen songs overnight if he felt the mood. We used to get together about once a month or once every week or two and go through the stuff he had. I would pick out the ones that I thought were real far along, and the ones that were not so far along, and the ones that would probably never be far along. ‘Dedicated Follower Of Fashion’ was one that stood out immediately.”

Carnaby Street…I look at sixties pictures of it and it looks really cool and different… when I see modern pictures of it…it looks like a shopping place that you could see at other places.

This looks like somewhere I would love to go

Carnaby Street 1960s - Writings and Wanderlust

This one is modern…not as colorful!

View of Carnaby Street. It is a pedestrianised shopping street in Soho in  London - License, download or print for £15.00 | Photos | Picfair

From Songfacts

According to the online discography compiled by Kinks fan Dave Emlen, it was re-released in the US in August/September the following year, still on Reprise but backed by “Who’ll Be The Next In Line.”

“Dedicated Follower Of Fashion” is one of the band’s best-known songs, and has been included on a number of albums.

Although Carnaby Street dates to the 17th century, like the Kings Road, Chelsea, it will be linked forever to the fashion explosion that happened particularly in Britain during the so-called Swinging ’60s.

In spite of its chart success, not everyone in the Davies camp was enamored with the song. After Kinks bass player Peter Quaife died in June 2010, his obituary in the London Independent quoted him on it thus: “an incredibly boring song to play, and I had to play it night after night.” 

According to a 2011 NME interview with Ray Davies, despite its fey overtones, the song is actually a scathing attack on a fop who made fun of the singer’s trousers.

Producer Shel Talmy helped frame The Kinks’ raucous guitar sound, and also had a great ear for a hit song. In a Songfacts interview with Talmy, he said: 

Dedicated Follower Of Fashion

They seek him here, they seek him there
His clothes are loud, but never square
It will make or break him so he’s got to buy the best
‘Cause he’s a dedicated follower of fashion

And when he does his little rounds
‘Round the boutiques of London Town
Eagerly pursuing all the latest fads and trends
‘Cause he’s a dedicated follower of fashion

Oh yes he is (oh yes he is), oh yes he is (oh yes he is)
He thinks he is a flower to be looked at
And when he pulls his frilly nylon panties right up tight
He feels a dedicated follower of fashion

Oh yes he is (oh yes he is), oh yes he is (oh yes he is)
There’s one thing that he loves and that is flattery
One week he’s in polka-dots, the next week he is in stripes
‘Cause he’s a dedicated follower of fashion

They seek him here, they seek him there
In Regent Street and Leicester Square
Everywhere the Carnabetian army marches on
Each one an dedicated follower of fashion

Oh yes he is (oh yes he is), oh yes he is (oh yes he is)
His world is built ’round discotheques and parties
This pleasure-seeking individual always looks his best
‘Cause he’s a dedicated follower of fashion

Oh yes he is (oh yes he is), oh yes he is (oh yes he is)
He flits from shop to shop just like a butterfly
In matters of the cloth he is as fickle as can be
‘Cause he’s a dedicated follower of fashion
He’s a dedicated follower of fashion
He’s a dedicated follower of fashion

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

30 thoughts on “Kinks – Dedicated Follower of Fashion”

  1. I loved this song when I was little, and still do. The description of the guy is brutal, but insightful. The tone of the song mimics him in a way that I can almost picture him walking pompously down the street. :D. I have visited Carnaby Street, and true, it is not the legendary atmosphere of the 1960s footage. As you say, a person probably had to be there in the 60s to experience it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope to go there one day…I see those older pictures and it looks like candy land to an adult…I can’t imagine that place in the 60s…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh…sorry but I forgot to add something…it’s not fair for me to compare the place to 50 years ago…nothing is the same…it’s just hard to believe that is the same place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your initial description is accurate. It is still a district of shops, some original and quirky. A few years ago, the Stones ‘curated’ the street’s Christmas decorations. Now the Stones have opened a ‘flagship’ store there. But it all feels very commercial. The street doesn’t have the special vibe it had back then.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I love the sixties also! Those damn Beatles were kinda of popular then lol. Oh can you imagine the mid sixties on Carnaby street? Hell I would take the early seventies there also but the sixties is when it was the place.

        Like

    1. I really like the late seventies resurgence of them…albums like Sleepwalker, Misfits, and Give The People What They Want…but I also like the sixties concept albums.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of Ray’s lyrical wrath. It’s such a fun and scathing song. He’s truly one of my favorite songwriters. He gets to the marrow of matters.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That is the truth.
        Another very British song they do is The Village Green Preservation Society…”God save Mrs. Mopp and good Old Mother Riley”

        That one and Celluloid Heroes are probably my two favorite Kinks tracks.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I missed this one yesterday! A great tune, like UK#1s said, I think it’s quite possible it was the first Kinks tune I heard…that or ‘Lola.” good lyrics, good delivery, good tune, it all worked well.
    Would be cool to visit that road now , wonder if it still looks at all like the lower newer picture you posted . Going to UK isn’t that high on my bucket list, but I would sort of like to, see some of those Beatles places like Abbey Road and Penny Lane, some of the clubs the punk and post-punk acts played…and maybe the real Downton Abbey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I would love to go over there but Carnaby Street will never have polka dots again lol…I love that stuff…that would draw me in. Something out of the ordinary.

      Oh yea this is a great Kinks so…like Graham said…it is so British.

      Liked by 1 person

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