Kinks – Autumn Almanac

This is a very sophisticated complex pop song…the melody and the way everything connects just fit so perfectly. This was released as a non-album single in between 1967’s Something Else by the Kinks and 1968’s The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society.

I love hearing this song around Autumn. Out of all the seasons, Fall is my favorite season of all. Like spring…it doesn’t last long enough. With Fall comes the relief of 95+ temps and 90 percent humidity here.

Waterloo Sunset' came to Ray Davies in a dream —

Ray has said the words were influenced by his Dad’s old drinking buddy named Charlie. Remember me saying that it was a complex song? It has around 19 different chords in it…songs written around this time had around oh… 3 to 5 chords. Comparing it to another Kinks song Dedicated Follower of Fashion… which had around 5 chords.

The best way I’ve heard this song described is by Andy Partridge (I have the entire long quote at the bottom) of XTC…he said it was like a miniature movie, basically, that unravels itself as you are listening to it...that is a perfect way of describing it.

The song was released in 1967 and it peaked at #3 in the UK, #13 in Canada, and #17 in New Zealand. At that time The Kinks were Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife, and Mick Avory on drums. On this recording, the in-demand session man Nicky Hopkins played the Mellotron.

Ray Davies: “The words were inspired by Charlie, my dad’s old drinking mate, who cleaned up my garden for me, sweeping up the leaves. I wrote it in early autumn, yeah, as the leaves were turning color.”

Andy Partridge of XTC on the song: It’s a miniature movie, basically, that unravels itself as you are listening to it, and it has all these little movements or scenes. And they all seem to take place in the kind of mythical cozy London that the Ealing studios always had in their films, like The Lavender Hill Mob. The song just keeps turning and changing; you see a new facet every few seconds. But there’s nothing unsettling about the fact that there are so many parts. Normally that would just be the death of a song, it would just scramble peoples brains.

The lyrics are very everyday. There’s no “calling occupants of interplanetary craft” in it. All the language in it is what you’d say over a cup of tea. It’s like a roller-coaster, but it’s not a high-speed chromium-plated space-age roller-coaster – it’s this slow creaking wooden baroque kind of roller-coaster. There are some lovely moments in it, like that sections that starts “Friday evening…..” It starts off in this mournful minor thing, and you think, “Oh dear, Friday evening, the end of something,” and then suddenly: “People get together” – it clicks into major, and becomes very optimistic. It just lifts your heart up another rung. And there’s something very plain and uplifting about [from the chorus] “yes, yes, yes,” this repetition of the affirmative.

The woodiness of “Autumn Almanac” is really appealing. Everything sounds like sticks and branches and planks. The whole song is wallpapered in dead leaves, as far as I’m concerned. The [the Kinks] touched on this same sort of thing later on, in “Shangri-La” and “Lavender Hill,” but it was more mannered, a bit more ponderous.

Damn, I wish I’d written this song. I’ll probably spend my life trying to. It’s such a huge ghost; my entire songwriting career has been trying to exorcise it.

Dave Davies: “I was playing through ‘Autumn Almanac’ [recently] and it’s a phenomenal recording. You can understand why it has lasted so long.”

Autumn Almanac

From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar
When the dawn begins to crack
It’s all part of my autumn almanac
Breeze blows leaves of a musty-colored yellow
So I sweep them in my sack
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac

Friday evenings, people get together
Hiding from the weather
Tea and toasted, buttered currant buns
Can’t compensate for lack of sun
Because the summer’s all gone

La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Oh, my poor rheumatic back
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac
La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Oh, my autumn almanac
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac

I like my football on a Saturday
Roast beef on Sundays, all right
I go to Blackpool for my holidays
Sit in the open sunlight

This is my street, and I’m never gonna leave it
And I’m always gonna to stay here
If I live to be ninety-nine
‘Cause all the people I meet
Seem to come from my street
And I can’t get away
Because it’s calling me (come on home)
Hear it calling me (come on home)

La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Oh, my autumn Armagnac
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac
La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Oh, my autumn almanac
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes

Bop-bop-boom-bop-bop-boom-bop-bop-boom-bop-bop-boom (whoa!)

Yes, yes


Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

32 thoughts on “Kinks – Autumn Almanac”

    1. It is a great song…I feel like I’m cheating listing so many quotes…but some songs….there just isn’t much info on them in particular.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. wow, brand new to me and it sounds like it’s pretty great … listened to it very quietly because most of the rest of the house was sleeping, I will listen to it ‘properly’ soon. cool lyrics, and funny you have that Partridge quote. If I hadn’t known and was asked who wrote it I would have quickly guessed Andy Partridge – the lyrics are VERY XTC ‘Skylarking’ era. But maybe XTC could be said to be very Kinks of this era.
    I like the fall here, disliked it in Canada. I loved the fall foliage, nothing like that in Texas (one or two orange trees if we’re lucky), but I didn’t like the weather – dreary, rainy, often cold nor the fact that Yellow Jackets swarmed everywhere when you got a rare nice warm day. Here though, a lot of pleasant sunny, 70,75 degree days when fall finally shows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is very XTC when you hear it and he loves it. I thought of you when I saw the quote and had to keep it. It tells a lot about the Kinks influence on XTC and they also influenced The Replacements also.

      Fall here…Its jacket weather with the smell of smoke in the air because of people smoking ham or tobacco…plus all the leaves turn here…its a yellow and orange ocean.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Still need to hear it a few more times to assimilate fully, but ya, quite cool & lyrically…it’s amazing how much that reminds me of XTC. Davies was probably cursing , saying that about every XTC album that came out in ’80s

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh….read the comment by UK#1 blog… that is what you or I would get from Bruce but English people get it from Davies.


  2. Ray likes to get “sun” and “summer” in his tunes. These songs just keep giving. You never know where inspiration is going to come from. “Dad’s drinking buddy, Charlie”. Love it
    “Fall” your favorite season? You’re kidding? Anything to do will ball?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No it’s my favorite… down here with the leaves turning and the smoke from ham and tobacco in the air. Plus I love jacket weather and playoff baseball

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When I look at the most played songs on my player it always amuses me that more than a few have one thing in common, the word “autumn” (“Autumn all the time” leads “Autumn Almanac” but only by a few. As to AA, I love those final couple of Yesses.


  4. Never heard this one before so I watched the video. Good song but I was waiting for them to trash the acoustic guitars. Why I have no idea must be that sibbling rivalry!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. First time hearing it. It’s quite a mish-mash and will have to listen to it a few more times to get an impression. Like Jim said, they seemed to be having a good time on stage with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a complicated little number… 19 chords is crazy lol…but it worked for them. Locomotive (hint hint) Breathe is like that also….like Band on the Run…around 3 songs put together to make one.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s a song I’ve grown to love as I get older. As a kid I preferred their more ‘instant’ hits. But it’s every bit as good as Waterloo Sunset in terms of evoking a picture of Britain: football on Saturdays, roast beef on Sundays, Blackpool for my holidays… It’s lightly mocking, but comes from a place of love, and the line: This is my street, And I’m never going to leave it… is said with pride, but is also a sad comment on the limited lives of people in a certain social class. Anyway, I had no idea it was so musically complex! I love the crunchy guitars in the lead of to the chorus.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I never thought of that…I’m a fan of the song but I could not relate to it like you do…it’s probably the opposite with some Springsteen songs as well. I always thought they were similiar in how they wrote about their home countries.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What I like about this song is that it comes across – words and music – as if it’s a mess, which it’s not really. Love the fact that he never leaves the street because he does the same things on the same days.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A nostalgic childhood memory attached to this for me. We lived on the Isle of Anglesey on a Welsh RAF base and this came on the radio. I rushed to my mum’s copy of Weekend magazine which printed the lyrics to a current hit each week and I had noted Autumn Almanac was this weeks.
    So I was happily singing along to it with the lyrics in front of me. Mum walked over and said “how do you know all the words?” impressed with me.

    Ok not an exciting anecdote but I started cutting lyrics of songs out of the papers so I could learn the words and this was the first one 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a fantastic song… and thank you for sharing that memory. I love the persoanl connections to songs


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: