Kinks – Working At The Factory

I first heard this song at Tower Records in 1986 while shopping for a Van Morrison album.

The song was on their twenty second studio album Think Visual released in 1986. The album peaked #81 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1986.

In America, the song “How Are You” was released and the B side was Working at the Factory. In the U.S., AOR disc jockeys flipped the single over and played Working At The Factory as though it was the second single. The song ended up peaking at #16 in the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart. The song got a lot of airplay in Nashville at the time.

The Kinks never was as popular as some of their peers as The Beatles, Stones, and The Who. One of the reasons is because during the sixties the Kinks were  banned from touring the US for 4 years due to their on stage antics.  Promoters  complained to the American Federation of Musicians. The union had the power to withhold work permits for British musicians if they misbehaved on stage or refused to perform without good reason. That’s exactly what happened.

The Kinks have sold over 50 million records worldwide and have been cited as a big influence on a number of bands and a key reference point for many Britpop bands. The Kinks were awarded an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Service to British Music, and singer Ray Davies received a CBE in 2004, and was knighted in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to the arts.

Working At The Factory

All my life, I’ve been a workin’ man
When I was at school they said that’s all you’ll ever understand
No profession, I didn’t figure in their plans
So they sent me down the factory to be a workin’ man

All I lived for, all I lived for
All I lived for was to get out of the factory
Now I’m here seemingly free, but working at the factory

Then music came along and gave new life to me
And gave me hope back in 1963
The music came and set me free
From working at the factory

All I lived for, all I lived for
Was to get out of the factory
All I lived for, all I lived for
Was to get out of the factory

Never wanted to be like everybody else
But now there are so many like me sitting on the shelf
They sold us a dream but in reality
It was just another factory
I made the music, thought that it was mine
It made me free, but that was in another time
But then the corporations and the big combines
Turned musicians into factory workers on assembly lines

All we live for, all we live for
All we live for is to get out of the factory
We made the music to set ourselves free
From working at the factory

All my life I’ve put in a working day
Now it’s sign the contract, get production on the way

Take the money, make the music pay
Working at the factory
All I lived for was to get out of the factory

Never wanted to be like everybody else
But now there are so many like me sitting on the shelf
They sold us a dream that in reality
Was just another factory

Working at the factory

Kinks – Tired Of Waiting

The Kinks are a band that I saw in 1983. Along with The Who and Paul McCartney they were among the best bands, I saw live.

Kinks lead singer Ray Davies wrote this song while he was a student at Hornsey School of Art in London. Ray was running out of ideas, so he decided to record the song he had written in college. The group put down the backing track, but he couldn’t remember the words, so he went home and wrote them the next day on the train ride into the studio.

This was released as the first single from the album Kinda Kinks. “Tired of Waiting for You” was a hit, peaking at #6 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the UK, #3 in Canada in 1965.

Dave Davies: “The recording went well but there was something missing and it was my raunchy guitar sound. Ray and I were worried that putting that heavy-sounding guitar on top of a ponderous song might ruin it. Luckily it enhanced the recording, giving it a more cutting, emotional edge. In my opinion ‘Tired Of Waiting’ was the perfect pop record.”

From Songfacts

When the Kinks released their first album in 1964, they scored a huge hit with the Davies-penned “You Really Got Me,” which was followed by the sound-alike “All Day And All Of The Night.”

In this song, Ray Davies sings about a girl who has him under her spell. Problem is, she keeps stringing him along and it’s wearing him out. The vocal is suitably weary, lacking that adrenaline rush of their previous hits. This discontent would play out for real throughout 1965 as The Kinks were dispatched to one show after another, doing promotional appearances along the way. It quickly became clear that there was a great deal of animosity in the band and that they couldn’t keep up the pace for long.

Tired Of Waiting

So tired
Tired of waiting
Tired of waiting for you

So tired
Tired of waiting
Tired of waiting for you

I was a lonely soul
I had nobody till I met you
But you keep a-me waiting
All of the time
What can I do?

It’s your life
And you can do what you want
Do what you like
But please don’t keep a-me waiting
Please don’t keep a-me waiting

‘Cause I’m so tired
Tired of waiting
Tired of waiting for you

So tired
Tired of waiting
Tired of waiting for you

I was a lonely soul
I had nobody till I met you
But you keep a-me waiting
All of the time
What can I do?

It’s your life
And you can do what you want
Do what you like
But please don’t keep a-me waiting
Please don’t keep a-me waiting

‘Cause I’m so tired
Tired of waiting
Tired of waiting for you

So tired
Tired of waiting
Tired of waiting for you
For you
For you

Kinks – You Really Got Me

This very well may be the very first Punk record. The simple riff was raw and cutting and like Louie, Louie and Wild Thing…became a staple of garage bands forever. This song was the first hit for The Kinks. Before releasing it, they put out two singles that flopped: a cover of “Long Tall Sally” and a Ray Davis composition called “You Still Want Me.”

The sound of the guitar was revolutionary. Dave Davies got the dirty guitar sound by slashing the speaker cone on his amplifier with a razor blade. The vibration of the fabric produced an effect known as “fuzz,” which became common as various electronic devices were invented to distort the sound. At the time, none of these devices were available to Dave, so Davies would mistreat his amp to get the desired sound, often kicking it.

Ray Davies wrote this with the intention of making it a big crowd-pleaser for their live shows. He was trying to write something similar to “Louie Louie,” which was a big hit for The Kingsmen.

The song peaked at #7 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in the UK in 1964.

 

From Songfacts

Kinks frontman Ray Davies wrote the lyric to this rambunctious rocker after watching girls dancing in a club. It’s not the most articulate lyric, but that’s the point: The guy in the song is so infatuated, all he can do is mutter at the girl how she’s really got him.

In 2015, he told Rolling Stone: “I just remembered this one girl dancing. Sometimes you’re so overwhelmed by the presence of another person and you can’t put two words together.”

Davies expanded on the song’s inspiration during a 2016 interview with Q magazine: “I was playing a gig at a club in Piccadilly and there was a young girl in the audience who I really liked. She had beautiful lips. Thin, but not skinny. A bit similar to Françoise Hardy. Not long hair, but down to about there (points to shoulders). Long enough to put your hands through… (drifts off, wistfully)… long enough to hold. I wrote ‘You Really Got Me’ for her, even though I never met her.”

According to Dave, the amp slashing happened in his bedroom in North London when he was irate – he had gotten his girlfriend, Sue Sheehan, pregnant, and their parents wanted to keep them from getting married. Instead of doing self harm, he used the blade on the amp to channel his rage. The amp was a cheap unit called an Elpico that had been giving him problems – he decided to teach it a lesson!

In the studio, the wounded Elpico was hooked into a another amp, which Dave recalls as a Vox AC30 and producer Shel Talmy remembers as a Vox AC10. The sound they got changed the course of rock history, becoming the first big hit to use distortion.

Davies and Sheehan stayed apart, but she had the baby, a girl named Tracey who finally met her father until 1993.

If “You Really Got Me” didn’t sell, there was a good chance their record label would have dropped them, but the song gave them the hit they were looking for. Soon they were making TV appearances, gracing magazine covers, and playing on bills with The Beatles as an opening act. They didn’t have an album out when the song took off, so they rushed one out to capitalize on the demand. This first, self-titled album has just five originals, with the rest being R&B covers – standard practice at the time for British Invasion bands.

The Kinks recorded a slower version with a blues feel on their first attempt, but hated the results. Ray Davies thought it came out clean and sterile, when he wanted it to capture the energy of their live shows. Dave Davies’ girlfriend backed them up, saying it didn’t make her want to “drop her knickers.”

The Kinks’ record company had no interest in letting them re-record the song, but due to a technicality in their contract, they were able to withhold the song until they could do it again. At the second session, Dave Davies used his slashed amp and Talmy produced it to get the desired live sound. This is the version that was released. Talmy liked the original: He claimed it would also have been a hit if it was released.

Ray Davies came up with famous riff on the piano at the family home. He played it for Dave, who transposed it to guitar. Their first version was 6-minutes long, but the final single release came in at just 2:20.

The first line was originally “you, you really got me going.” Ray Davies changed it to “girl, you really got me going” at the suggestion of one of their advisers. The idea was to appeal to the teenage girls in their audience.

The final version of the song was recorded in July 1964, with Ray Davies on lead vocals, Dave Davies on guitar, and Pete Quaife on bass.

The Kinks didn’t have a drummer when they first recorded the song a month earlier, so producer Shel Talmy brought in a session musician named Bobby Graham to play. When they recorded it the second time in July, Mick Avory had joined the band as their drummer, but Talmy didn’t trust him and made him play tambourine while Graham played drums. A session musician named Arthur Greenslade played piano, and Jon Lord, years before he became a member of Deep Purple, claimed he played keyboards. Lord recalled with a laugh to The Leicester Mercury in 2000: “All I did was plink, plink, plink. It wasn’t hard.”

Released in the UK on August 4, 1964, “You Really Got Me” climbed to #1 on September 16, where it stayed for two weeks. In America, it was released in September and reached a peak of #7 in November.

Ray Davies is the only songwriter credited on this track, even though his brother Dave came up with the signature guitar sound. This was one of many friction points for the brothers, who are near the top of any list of the most combative siblings in rock. When they recorded the song, Ray was 22 and Dave was 17.

Shel Talmy, who produced this track, came to England from California and brought many American recording techniques with him. To get the loud guitar sound on “You Really Got Me,” he recorded the guitar on two channels, one with distortion, the other without. When combined in the mix, the result was a loud, gritty sound that popped when it came on the radio.

“I was using some techniques I worked out on how to get a raunchier sound with distortion,” Talmy said in a Songfacts interview. “It wasn’t that difficult because I had done it before in America.”

Talmy added: “It helped that Dave was as good as he was, and that he was quite happy to listen.”

Talmy later produced the first album for The Who, My Generation.

It was rumored that Jimmy Page, who was a session musician at the time, played guitar on this track, which the band stridently denied. According to producer Shel Talmy, Page didn’t play on this song but did play rhythm guitar on some album tracks because Ray Davies didn’t want to sing and play guitar at the same time.

Ray Davies took pains to make sure we could understand the words. “I made a conscious effort to make my voice sound pure and I sang the words as clearly as the music would allow,” he said.

A 1978 cover of this song was the first single for Van Halen, who played lots of Kinks songs in their early years doing club shows. Eddie Van Halen spent the next several years developing new guitar riffs, and like Davies, was known to manipulate his equipment to get just the right sound.

The powerful rhythm guitar riff was very influential on other British groups. The Rolling Stones recorded “Satisfaction,” which was driven by the rhythm guitar, a year later.

According to Ray Davies, there was a great deal of jealousy among their peers when The Kinks came up with this song. He said in a 1981 interview with Creem: “There were a lot of groups going around at the time – the Yardbirds, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones – and nobody had really cracked with a sort of R&B #1 record. The songs were always sort of like The Beatles. When we first wanted to do a record, we couldn’t get a recording gig. We were turned down by Decca, Parlophone, EMI and even Brian Epstein came to see us play and turned us down. So I started writing songs like ‘You Really Got Me,’ and I think there was a sheer jealousy that we did it first. Because we weren’t a great group – untidy – and we were considered maybe a bit of a joke. But for some reason, I’d just had dinner, shepherd’s pie, at my sister’s house, and I sat down at the piano and played da, da, da, da, da. The funny thing is it was influenced by Mose Allison more than anybody else. And I think there was a lot of bad feeling. I remember we went to clubs like the Marquee, and those bands wouldn’t talk to us because we did it first.”

The Kinks’ next single was “All Day And All Of The Night,” which was basically a re-write of this song, but was also a hit.

In a Rolling Stone interview, Ray said that they “evolved” the sound by putting knitting needles in the speakers when recording this song. That statement prompted a rebuttal from his brother Dave, who wrote in to explain: “I alone created the guitar sound for the song with my Elpico amp that I bought. I slashed the speaker with a razor blade, which resulted in the ‘You Really Got Me’ tone. There were no knitting needles used in making my guitar sound.”

One of the many things the Davies brothers disagree on is the Van Halen cover. Ray loves it. He told NME it is his favorite Kinks cover. “It was a big hit for them and put them on a career of excess and sent them on the road. So I enjoyed that one.”

Dave Davies is not a fan. He told Rolling Stone: “Our song was working-class people trying to fight back. Their version sounds too easy.”

The Who played this at many of their early concerts. Their first single was “I Can’t Explain,” also produced by Shel Talmy with a sound clearly borrowed from “You Really Got Me,” as Pete Townshend played a dirty guitar riff similar to what Dave Davies’ did.

You Really Got Me

Girl, you really got me goin’
You got me so I don’t know what I’m doin’ now
Yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I can’t sleep at night

Yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I don’t know what I’m doin’ now
Oh yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I can’t sleep at night

You really got me
You really got me
You really got me

See, don’t ever set me free
I always want to be by your side
Girl, you really got me now
You got me so I can’t sleep at night

Yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I don’t know what I’m doin’ now
Oh yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I can’t sleep at night

You really got me
You really got me
You really got me
Oh no

See, don’t ever set me free
I always want to be by your side
Girl, you really got me now
You got me so I can’t sleep at night

Yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I don’t know what I’m doin’ now
Oh yeah, you really got me now
You got me so I can’t sleep at night

You really got me
You really got me
You really got me

Kinks – Father Christmas

Father Christmas, give us some money
We’ll beat you up if you make us annoyed
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don’t mess around with those silly toys

I’ve always like this raw and rough Christmas song. A writer at the NME wrote “”Successful Xmas songs are more about mood than specifics, but as this is an anti-Christmas song, it’s fine.” This is the kind of song you would expect from Ray Davies. Anti-Christmas or not…it has become a popular classic Christmas song that gets airplay every year.

The single was released during the height of punk rock and certainly exudes a punk attitude. Dave Davies told ABC Radio that he “always thought The Ramones would do a great version of it. I don’t know why they didn’t do it.”… thinking about it…Dave was right…it would have fit them perfectly.

The song was released in 1977 with the B side Prince Of  The Punks. The track was included on the Arista compilation Come Dancing with The Kinks and is also available as a bonus track on the CD reissue of the Kinks’ 1978 album Misfits.

From Songfacts

“Father Christmas” is the name used in The UK and Australia for Santa Claus. This song is about a kid whose Christmas experience is a bit unusual. He never believed in Father Christmas, but finds himself performing as the character, and gets mugged by kids who tell him they want his money, not toys. He asks that if Father Christmas does exist, he bring a job for his dad and a machine gun so he can scare off the kids who mugged him. 

This song is played in the background at the end of the movie Step Brothers as the camera is slowly zooming in on the family during The Holidays. 

Ray Davies frequently stole shows by performing the song live wearing a Santa costume. “When the record came out we were on tour with a very successful band at the time supporting them,” he recalled during an interview with Southern California radio station KSWD. “I went on dressed as Santa at the end of the show to do ‘Father Christmas.’ And the other band found it hard to follow us. The following night with the same band I went to run on but there was a bunch of heavies preventing me from running on stage. And I was protesting. But the people said, ‘The Kinks didn’t do an encore but Santa Claus was there and they were stopping him from going on stage.'”

In England, Father Christmas is the personification of Christmas, in the same way as Santa Claus is in the United States. Although the characters are now synonymous, historically Father Christmas and Santa Claus have separate entities, stemming from unrelated traditions.

First written about in Tudor England and pre-dating the first recording of Santa Claus, Father Christmas was a jolly, well-nourished man who typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, bringing peace, joy, good food and wine and revelry. In time, the tradition merged with America’s Santa Claus with both riding in a reindeer-pulled sleigh carrying a sackful of toys that lands on the roofs of houses that contain good children. The mythical, white bearded Santa/Father Christmas then enters the properties through their chimneys clutching gifts for the well-behaved little ones inside.

Father Christmas

When I was small I believed in Santa Claus
Though I knew it was my dad
And I would hang up my stocking at Christmas
Open my presents and I’d be glad

But the last time I played Father Christmas
I stood outside a department store
A gang of kids came over and mugged me
And knocked my reindeer to the floor

They said
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don’t mess around with those silly toys
We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over
We want your bread so don’t make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Don’t give my brother a Steve Austin outfit
Don’t give my sister a cuddly toy
We don’t want a jigsaw or monopoly money
We only want the real mccoy

Father Christmas, give us some money
We’ll beat you up if you make us annoyed
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don’t mess around with those silly toys

But give my daddy a job ’cause he needs one
He’s got lots of mouths to feed
But if you’ve got one I’ll have a machine gun
So I can scare all the kids on the street

Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Have yourself a merry merry Christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin’
While you’re drinkin’ down your wine

Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
Father Christmas, please hand it over
We’ll beat you up so don’t make us annoyed

Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over
We want your bread so don’t make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys