The Music of 1968

Dave from A Sound Day (check out the other posts on Dave’s “Turntable Talk”) posted this on November 5, 2022. He wanted a group of us to write about what we thought was the best year in music…I ended up picking the turbulent year of 1968.

When I think of the best year of music …for me it’s between 7 years. I would pick 1965 through 1971. I cannot pick all so here it goes…I pick 1968. It had some of the greatest albums and singles ever.

It was a turbulent year, to say the least. We lost two proponents of peace—Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. Other events include the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive, riots in Washington, DC, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and heightened social unrest over the Vietnam War, values, and race.

The music was also toughened up by moving away from psychedelic music. The social climate and The Band’s album Music from Big Pink had a lot of influence on this. You still had psychedelic music released but overall, music was more stripped down to the basics.

My favorite album of all time was released by The Beatles. My favorite album by The Rolling Stones was released that year as well. Let’s look at the albums released in 1968…it’s outstanding.

The Beatles – The Beatles (The White Album)

The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet

The Kinks – Are the Village Green Preservation Society

The Band – Music From Big Pink

Small Faces – Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland

Cream – Wheel Of Fire

The Byrds – Sweetheart Of The Rodeo

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Big Brother and Holding Company – Cheap Thrills

Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison

The Zombies – Odyssey and Oracle

The Grateful Dead – Anthem of the Sun

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

Aretha Franklin – Lady Soul

Simon and Garfunkel – Bookends

Traffic – Traffic

That list could be on my desert island list… those albums are still being played today. I’ve only scratched the surface of the albums that year.

The Holy Trinity of Rock all released music that year… which would be The Beatles, The Who, and The Stones. I can’t imagine living in the era when these bands were in their prime and roamed the earth. The Who didn’t release an album, but they did release some singles and were gearing up for the following year. Let’s look at some of the singles of that year.

The Beatles – Hey Jude/Revolution

The Beatles – Lady Madonna

The Who – Magic Bus

The Rolling Stones – Jumping Jack Flash

Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild

The Doors – Hello, I Love You

The Rascals – People Got To Be Free

Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love

Otis Redding – The Dock of the Bay

The Supremes – Love Child

The Chamber Brothers – Time Has Come Today

Janis Joplin – Piece of My Heart

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Suzie Q

Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends

The year featured the debut album of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Brian Jones made his final album with the Rolling Stones and it was the start of their great 5 album stretch. The Who started to record the album that would break them worldwide with Tommy. Dock of the Bay would be released posthumously after Otis Redding died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967. The Grateful Dead would release their second album Anthem of the Sun and continue to build one of the largest fan bases ever. Jimi Hendrix was breaking barriers with his experimentation in the studio as well as live.

The Band would change the game by releasing Music From Big Pink. It influenced nearly everyone at the time to go back to a rootsy kind of music. Fleetwood Mac would release their debut album this year. Jeff Beck would release his legendary album Truth.

FM radio was getting huge at this time and showed that audiences didn’t have to have top 40 hits to buy albums. Take Van Morrison for instance. Astral Weeks didn’t have a “hit” on the album but continued to be played and sell. The Beatles  The White Album is as diverse as you can get… Pop, Rock, Country, Folk, Reggae, Avant-Gard, Blues, Hard Rock, and some 20’s British Music Hall thrown in for good measure. No singles were released from this album or Sgt Pepper the previous year. They treated singles and albums as two different things. Hey Jude and the hit version of Revolution was recorded during the White Album but yet they left those two off. The Stones would do the same and leave off Jumpin’ Jack Flash from  Beggars Banquet.

1968 set the stage for the coming decade’s rock music. Bands like The Who, Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin didn’t need hit singles. You bought the album now and listened to the music in the context of that format. There were still pop/rock singles but the albums were gaining traction.

To wrap it up…I think any of the years between 1965-1971 could have a strong argument for my tastes. If you are into disco or synth music…not as much.

Favorite Rock Lyrics 2

Everyone seemed to like the first one so I thought I would bring it back. I did list many of the lyrics that you suggested in the comments on the other post…SO… this post was written by all of us…and uh…the ones that actually wrote the songs!

Bob Dylan

Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear, it’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there... Bob Dylan

Rolling Stones

The sunshine bores the daylights out of me…Rolling Stones

Who

I asked Bobby Dylan, I asked The Beatles, I asked Timothy Leary, but he couldn’t help me either, they called me the Seeker…The Who

Grateful Dead

Cows are giving kerosene, the kid can’t read at seventeen, the words he knows are all obscene, but it’s alright… The Grateful Dead

band

You take what you need and you leave the rest, but they should never have taken the very best… The Band

Trogg

Wild thing you make my heart sing you make everything groovy… The Troggs

Springsteen

There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away… Bruce Springsteen

ACDC

Rich man, poor man, beggar man thief you ain’t got a hope in hell, that’s my belief… ACDC

Beatles - Rocky Raccoon

The farther one travels the less one knows the less one really knows …The Beatles

Leonard Cohen

My friends are gone and my hair is grey I ache in places I used to play …Leonard Cohen

John Lennon

Whatever gets you through the night … John Lennon

Replacements

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung …The Replacements

Led Zeppelin 1976

Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face and stars fill my dream I’m a traveler of both time and space… Led Zeppelin

Kinks

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, except for Lola La-la-la-la LolaThe Kinks

Queen

She keeps her Moet et Chandon in her pretty cabinet “Let them eat cake”, she says just like Marie AntoinetteQueen

van morrison almost independence day

Shammy cleaning all the windows singing songs about Edith Piaf’s soul… Van

neil young after the goldrush

You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon… Neil Young

Simon and Garfunkel concert Ohio University 10-29-1968

Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again…Simon and Garfunkel

Kinks – Days

The Kinks are a band that belongs up with The Beatles, Who, and Stones but sometimes gets overlooked. I’ve always been a fan of them since I had a greatest hits album at a young age that covered the early years. In 1981 I bought Give The People What They Want when it was released and I’ve been hooked ever since. I saw them in 1983 and it is still one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. I saw them at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville in an intimate setting.

I’ve always liked this song. The lyrics are a touching goodbye to someone or a situation. It’s up in my top 10 of the Kinks songs. I’ve read a critic who said The Kinks were “the most adamantly British of the Brit Invasion bands.” I think that is a fair statement.

Days was originally going to be an album track on the 1968 concept album Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society. The reason for the change is because Their previous single “Wonderboy” failed in the charts and the record company rushed this song out as a single. It did the trick because it peaked at #12 in the UK and #11 in New Zealand.

At the time The Kinks were making these great albums but they couldn’t tour in the US because of a touring ban. It didn’t chart in America or Canada. They would not chart a song in America or Canada until 2 more years later with Lola.

After the failure of Wonderboy, Ray Davies wrote this song to say goodbye to his career. Davies: “I didn’t care anymore. So I thought, ‘Say goodbye nicely,’ and wrote ‘Days.'”

That wasn’t the only thing that was on his mind with this song though. His sister Rosie had just immigrated to Australia. Ray Davies: “She left and said, ‘Say goodbye, my loving brother,’ and I said, ‘Thank you for being my sister, so the song’s for her, really, and her generation.”

The song peaked at #12 in the UK but failed to chart in the US.

Ray Davies: “I started writing it in a hotel on tour. Strangely enough, it was the rhythm I wanted to get first, the sustained chords. The actual tune came later. And then I wrote some of it in a phone box while I was phoning somebody I shouldn’t be phoning. The song wasn’t about the person on the other end of the line. Well, not really. But I suppose it’s the ultimate kiss-off, isn’t it? ‘Thank you for the days.'”

“The song has grown in intensity over the years,” he said. “I didn’t think much about the song when I wrote it. Sometimes songs occur like that. You don’t think about it, but it’s built up quite a lot of mystique over the years. It certainly left me. It belongs to the world now.”

Kirsty MacColl did a version that peaked at #12 in the UK in 1989

For those of you in the UK you might remember it in a 2011 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet Comercial.

Days

Thank you for the days
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me
I’m thinking of the days
I won’t forget a single day, believe me

I bless the light
I bless the light that lights on you believe me
And though you’re gone
You’re with me every single day, believe me

Days I’ll remember all my life
Days when you can’t see wrong from right
You took my life
But then I knew that very soon you’d leave me
But it’s all right
Now I’m not frightened of this world, believe me

I wish today could be tomorrow
The night is dark
It just brings sorrow, let it wait

Thank you for the days
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me
I’m thinking of the days
I won’t forget a single day, believe me

Days I’ll remember all my life
Days when you can’t see wrong from right
You took my life
But then I knew that very soon you’d leave me
But it’s all right
Now I’m not frightened of this world, believe me
Days

Thank you for the days
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me
I’m thinking of the days
I won’t forget a single day, believe me

I bless the light
I bless the light that shines on you believe me
And though you’re gone
You’re with me every single day, believe me
Days

Favorite Rock Lyrics

Here are some cool lyrics to some songs. My all-time favorite is the first one…I’ve used this one over and over whenever at work and in our world. I could have filled this up with Dylan lyrics but I wanted to spread the wealth.

The Who | Music legends, Music pics, Rock and roll

Meet the new boss/same as the old boss…The Who (No truer words have been spoken)

What isn't shown in The Beatles: Get Back — Class A drugs, Yoko baiting and  the dodgy accountant | Times2 | The Times

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make…The Beatles

Chuck Berry: 20 Essential Songs - Rolling Stone

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back
And started walking toward a coffee-colored Cadillac… Chuck Berry

Jimmy Webb on John Lennon's Lost Weekend, Frank Sinatra - Rolling Stone

And I need you more than want you,
And I want you for all time…Jimmy Webb

How Peter Gabriel Conquered the World With 'So'

You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a fire…Peter Gabriel.

Grateful Dead - Wikipedia

Shake the hand that shook the hand of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan… Grateful Dead

Revolutions: Rolling Stones "Beggars Banquet" - YouTube

I wasn’t looking too good but I was feeling real well… Rolling Stones

Johnny Cash photographer reveals truth behind San Quentin Prison shot

But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die… Johnny Cash

Bruce Springsteen – The Highlight Reel (1973-1975) – Pretty In Sync.

We learned more from a three-minute record, than we ever learned in school…Bruce Springsteen

Why Hank Williams Won't Be Reinstated in the Grand Ole Opry - Rolling Stone

The silence of a falling star lights up a purple sky… Hank Williams Sr.

The Band Shares Previously-Unreleased "The Weight" From Royal Albert Hall,  1971 [Listen]

I just spent 60 days in the jailhouse/for the crime of having no dough…The Band

lynyrd skynyrd - one more time

I drank enough whiskey to float a battleship around… Lynyrd Skynyrd

Jimmy Buffett

I blew out my flip-flop stepped on a pop-top/cut my heel had to cruise on back home… Jimmy Buffet

Bob Dylan

She knows there’s no success like failure and that failure’s no success at all… Bob Dylan

Bob Seger

Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then… Bob Seger

TW

In Jersey, anything’s legal, as long as you don’t get caught… The Traveling Wilburys

Ricky Nelson

You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself…Ricky Nelson

Kinks

Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain and celluloid heroes never really die… Kinks

Kinks – Set Me Free

The Beatles, Who, and Stones are the most famous bands that came out of the British invasion. The Kinks should have been one of them but an American ban on touring in a big chunk of the sixties hurt their career. Instead of sounding like their American influences like the Beatles and Stones…Ray Davies didn’t hide his roots at all.

They came back strong in the seventies and eighties though. On May 17, 1983, I was able to see The Kinks in concert. Ray Davies was 39 years old and was all over the stage like a 20-year-old. That remains one of the best concerts I ever attended. It’s up there with The Who, McCartney, and Stones…in fact maybe a little better because they were still in their prime and releasing new material.

Set Me Free peaked at #23 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada, and #9 in the UK in 1965. Set Me Free was heard in the Ken Loach-directed Up the Junction, this marked the first appearance of a Kinks song on a film or TV soundtrack.

When you listen to their discography it’s amazing the ground they covered. There are tons of different musical styles, which the group has explored throughout their career. Starting with the pre-punk rock of You Really Got Me, acoustic anthems like Victoria, the beauty of Waterloo Sunset, the concept albums, music hall influences, hard rock, and even some new wave in the 80s.

The band seemed to be always on the brink of breaking up but they stayed together until 1996. In 2021 it was reported that the Kinks were at work in the studio once again.

Ray Davies: “the trouble is, the two remaining members — my brother Dave and Mick [Avory, the original drummer] — never got along very well. But I’ve made that work in the studio and it’s fired me up to make them play harder, and with fire.”

Dave Davies: “This has really been going on for a couple of years, we keep going backwards and listening to a lot of old stuff. Some of that is very good, and some of it needs a bit of work.”

Set Me Free

Set me free, little girl,
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl,
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,
Free.

Set me free, little girl,
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl,
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,
Free, free.

I don’t want no one,
If I can’t have you to myself,
I don’t need nobody else,
So if I can’t have you to myself,

Set me free,
Set me free.

Oh set me free, little girl,
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl,
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,
Free, free.

I don’t want no one,
If I can’t have you to myself,
I don’t need nobody else,
So if I can’t have you to myself,

Set me free,
Set me free.

Oh set me free, little girl,
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl,
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,
Free.

Set me free,
Oh, set me free

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

This song always brings a smile to my face. Any Kinks Christmas song would have to be different…and this one is.

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.

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.

Ray Davies on performing the song as an opening act in the 70s: 

“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.'”

Top 10 alternative Christmas bangers - The Gryphon

From Songfacts: 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

Kinks – Dandy

If you heard this song on the radio in the sixties it probably wasn’t the Kinks version unless you lived in Germany where it peaked at #1, The Netherlands where it peaked at #3 and #2 in Belgium.

The mighty Herman Hermits covered the song and it peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #3 in New Zealand…sometimes life just isn’t fair.

It is said to have been written about Dave Davies, mostly about his rock star lifestyle… Dave confirmed in the documentary about Dave Davies.

The song was on the Face to Face album.. one of the first rock and roll concept albums.  In the album’s original inception, Davies attempted to bridge the songs together with sound effects, but was forced to revert to the more standard album because of the record company.

Ray Davies: “I think it was about someone, probably me, who needed to make up his mind about relationships. Also about my brother, who was flitting from one girl to another. It’s a more serious song than it seems. It’s about a man who’s trapped by his own indecision with relationships and lack of commitment. That’s the way I’d write it now, but when I was twenty-two or twenty-three I wrote it about a jovial person who’s a womanizer.”

From Songfacts

Running to just 2 minutes 22 seconds, “Dandy” was written by Ray Davies, and is the third track on the band’s 1966 Face To Face album. 

The song ends with the line “…Dandy, you’re all right”.

Sadly, this sentiment was not reciprocated; in the aforementioned documentary, Dave Davies said that he loved his brother, even though he was an arsehole! 

“Dandy” was released as a single in Europe on the Pye label backed by “Party Line.” The single was produced by Shel Talmy, who worked on most of the early Kinks material. 

I’m so sorry but I feel I’m obliged to post the Colossal Hermit’s version also. 

Dandy

Dandy, Dandy
Where you gonna go now?
Who you gonna run to?
All you life
You’re chasing all the girls,
They can’t resist your smile.
Oh, they long for Dandy, Dandy.

Checkin’ out the ladies,
Tickling their fancy,
Pouring out your charm
To meet all your own demands,
And turn it off at will.
Oh, they long for Dandy, Dandy.

Knockin’ on the back door,
Climbing through the window,
Hubby’s gone away,
And while the cat’s away,
The mice are gonna play.
Oh, you low down Dandy, Dandy.
Dandy

Dandy you know you’re moving much too fast,
And Dandy, you know you can’t escape the past.
Look around you and see the people settle down,
And when you’re old and grey you will remember what they said,
That two girls are too many, three’s a crowd and four you’re dead.

Oh Dandy, Dandy,
When you gonna give up?
Are you feeling old now?
You always will be free,
You need no sympathy,
A bachelor you will stay,
And Dandy, you’re all right.
You’re all right.
You’re all right.
You’re all right.
You’re all right.
You’re all right.

Kinks – Who’ll Be The Next In Line

I never get tired of the Kinks. In July 1965, The Kinks released Who’ll Be The Next In Line as a single. This one is a very rocky song with a Kinks riff. 

It was first released as the B-side to “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy” in Britain. The single only made to #17 in the UK. Reprise in America thought Who’ll Be The Next In Line was the best song and released it as the A side with Evrybody’s Gonna Be Happy” as the B. 

The song peaked at #34 in the Billboard 100 and #25 in Canada in 1965.

Running to just under two minutes, the song title has no question mark, although its authorship does. Released on the Reprise label, the B-side of “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy” is credited on the record itself to R. Davies (Ray Davies) and on another pressing as R. Davies/Kassner. This latter appears to be a misprint; Edward Kassner was the man who launched the band’s career, and his name should have appeared below the songwriter credit rather than as part of it.

Here is the B side Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy

Who’ll Be The Next In Line

Who’ll be the next in line?
Who’ll be the next in line for heartache?
Who’ll make the same mistakes I made over you?
Who’ll be the next in line?
Who’ll be the next in line?
For you?
Who’ll be the next in line?
Who’ll be the next to watch your love fade?
All your affections finally fade away.
There’ll be no use in sighing.
Who’ll be the next in line?
For you?
One day you’ll find out when I’m gone,
I was the best one you had,
I was the one who gave you love.
Who’ll be the next in line?
Who’ll be the next in line for heartaches?
Who’ll make the same mistakes I made over you?
There’ll be no use in sighing.
Who’ll be the next in line?
For you?
One day you’ll find out when I’m gone,
I was the best one you had,
I was the one who gave you love.
Who’ll be the next in line?
Who’ll be the next in line for heartaches?
Who’ll make the same mistakes I made over you?
Who’ll be the next in line?
Who’ll be the next in line?
For you?
For you?

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

Kinks – Give The People What They Want

Back in 1981 I bought the album that this song is the title track to. I had their greatest hits of mostly their sixties hits and this album was the first new Kinks album I ever bought.

The song is a pure rock song with a huge punk edge. I read where a critic wrote that The Kinks were a great punk band who could actually play their instruments and with this song you see that.

This song 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… 

The song tells the truth…violence sells.

Ray Davies: “What happens is the consumer is being used to entertain, to get high ratings, to sell products to consumers. It was going around in a circle. That’s a real con. And good shows were being dropped from TV. I’ve just written an outline, and I hope we’re going to get some money from RCA to do a videodisc because it’s a media-based album.”

From Songfacts

The title track to The Kinks 1981 album, “Give The People What They Want” was written by their frontman Ray Davies in response to what he saw on American TV when he was writing songs for their previous album, Low Budget. He noticed that TV was getting more and more sensational, and that viewers were fascinated with violence and tragedy – similar to how Romans watched Christians get fed to the lions.

One show Davies watched was That’s Incredible, where regular people performed dangerous stunts.

Ray Davies said that he took out the following verse:

The French Revolution was a crazy scene
All those aristocrats getting guillotined
The promoters cleaned up
The expenses were low
An execution costs nothing
It’s a wonderful show

Taken at face value with just the title for reference, this song can appear to be about The Kinks making an effort to please their audience by delivering a hit. That interpretation is way off, however, as the song is much more a social commentary on those who pander to the masses.

The Kinks went for a monster drum sound on this one in an effort to make it arena-friendly. To get his sound, they placed corrugated iron around the walls of Konk Studios in London, where they recorded the album.

Give The People What They Want

Hey, hey, hey
Give the people what they want

Well, it’s been said before, the world is a stage
A different performance with every age
Open the history book to any old page
Bring on the lions and open the cage

Give the people what they want
You gotta give the people what they want
The more they get, the more they need
And every time they get harder and harder to please

The Roman promoters really did things right
They needed a show that would clearly excite
The attendance was sparse so they put on a fight
Threw the Christians to the lions, it sold out every night

Give the people what they want
You gotta give the people what they want
The more they get, the more they need
And every time they get harder and harder to please

Give ’em lots of sex, perversion and rape
Give ’em lots of violence, and plenty to hate
Give the people what they want
Give the people what they want

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
“Hey Mom, there goes a piece of the president’s brain!”

Give the people what they want
You gotta give the people what they want
Blow out your brains, and do it right
Make sure it’s prime time and on a Saturday night
You gotta give the people what they want
You gotta give the people what they want
Give the people what they want
Give the people what they want
Give the people what they want

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

Big Star – #1 Record…Desert Island Albums

This is my third round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.
2020 ALBUM DRAFT-ROUND 3 PICK 6- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- BIG STAR- #1 RECORD

“Big Star is like a letter that was mailed in 1971 but didn’t arrive until 1985.”
Musician Robyn Hitchcock 

I never travel far, without a little Big Star
The Replacements

“We’ve sort of flirted with greatness, but we’ve yet to make a record as good as Revolver or Highway 61 Revisited or Exile on Main Street or Big Star’s Third.”
Peter Buck

The band didn’t chart a record when they were active. I still hold their music up along with The Who, Beatles. and Kinks…they never had the sales but they did have a giant influence. They released this album as their debut in August of 1972.  I had to stop myself from writing an open love letter (I may have failed) about this band. Was it the mystique of them? Was it the coolness factor of liking a band that not many people knew? No and no. It’s about the music. Mystique and coolness wear off and all you are left with is the music…We are fortunate to have 3 albums by Big Star to enjoy.

In the early eighties, I heard stories from an older brother of a friend about Big Star out of Memphis…but their records were hard to come by.  I loved what little I heard and it got lost in the shuffle but it planted a seed for later. 

By the mid-80s I heard more of their songs. In 1986 The Bangles released “September Gurls” and I knew it sounded familiar…and the DJ said it was a Big Star song…then came the song, Alex Chilton, by The Replacements and  I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t until the early nineties, I finally had Big Star’s music along with the Raspberries and Badfinger. My power-pop fandom kicked into high gear and I have never left that genre.

Big Star was the best band never heard. Such a great band but a long frustrating story. They made three albums that were among the best of the decade that were not heard until much later. They signed with Ardent which was a subsidiary of Stax Records.

A power-pop band on the soul Stax label doesn’t sound like a good idea now and it wasn’t then. Stax was failing at that time and could not distribute the records to the stores. Kids loved the music on the radio only to go to a record store with no Big Star records. Rolling Stone gave them rave reviews…but that doesn’t help if the album is not out there to purchase. They were through by 1974 after recording their 3rd album.

When their albums were finally discovered by eighties bands, they influenced many artists such as REM, The Replacements, Cars, Cheap Trick, Sloan, Matthew Sweet, KISS, Wilco, Gin Blossoms, and many more. They influenced alternative rock of the 80s and 90s and continue to this day.

Listening to this album with each song you think…Oh, that could have been a single. Alex Chilton and Chris Bell wrote most of the songs and wanted to emulate Lennon/McCartney and they did a great job but with an obvious American slant to make it their own. After the commercial failure of this album, Chris Bell quit but the other three continued for one more album and then bass player Andy Hummel quit after the second album, and Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens recorded the third.

I could have gone with ANY three of their albums. I picked this one because of Chris Bell. The songs are a bit more polished on this one than the other two but it fits the songs they present. Chris Bell added a lot to Big Star and after hearing his solo song I Am The Cosmos you see how much. Radio City, their second album, with Chilton in charge many consider their best and their third album, Third/Sister Lovers is not as commercially accessible but I still love it. All three are in Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time.

I’ll go over four songs.

The Ballad Of El Goodo  A song about Vietnam conscientious objector…but it is much more than that. It is one of the most perfect pop/rock songs recorded to my ears. This would make it in my own top 10 songs of all time. The tone of the guitars, harmonies and the perfectly constructed chorus keeps calling me back listen after listen. This is when pop music becomes more.

In The Street is a song that everyone will know. It was used as the theme of That Seventies Show. Cheap Trick covered it for the show. I was not a teenager in the early seventies but with this song, I am there front and center. Steal your car and bring it down, Pick me up, we’ll drive around, Wish we had, A joint so bad.

Thirteen is a song that Chilton finds that spot between the innocence of childhood and the first teenage year where they meet and intertwine with confusion. Won’t you tell your dad, “get off my back” Tell him what we said ’bout “Paint It Black”

When My Baby’s Beside Me has a great guitar riff to open it up. This is power pop at it’s best. A nice rocker that should have been blaring out of AM radios in the 70’s.

I’m not going over every song (but I could easily) because reading this won’t do it…you have to listen if you haven’t already. You will not regret it. Not just these songs but the complete album.

It’s a mixture of songs on the album…rockers, mid-tempo songs, and ballads. Even the weaker song called The India Song is very listenable. My favorites besides the ones I listed are  Watch the Sunrise, Don’t Lie To Me, Feel, and Give Me Another Chance.

I now have rounded out my albums on my island. The variety of The White Album, The rock of Who’s Next, and the ringing power-pop beauty of Big Star…swim or use a boat and come over to my island and we will listen…the Pina Coladas and High Tides (hey it’s an island) are flowing… let’s drink to BIG STAR.

On a side note. If you want to learn more there is a good documentary out about them called: Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.

Feel
The Ballad Of El Goodo
In The Street
Thirteen
Don’t Lie To Me
The India Song
When My Baby’s Beside Me
My Life Is Right
Give Me Another Chance
Try Again
Watch The Sunrise
ST 100/6

  • Chris Bell – guitar, vocals
  • Alex Chilton – guitar, vocals
  • Andy Hummel – bass guitar, vocals
  • Jody Stephens – drums

 

 

 

Kinks – Sleepwalker

I have always liked the late seventies and mid-eighties Kinks. This was one of the first songs I remembered by them.

This is the title song off of the Sleepwalker album. It was released in 1977 and it marked a comeback in America for the Kinks. The last song they released to peak this high was Apeman in 1970.

Ray Davies had just moved from London to New York during this time and had trouble adapting to the 24 hours schedule of New York…and he wrote Sleepwalker about it.

The song peaked at #48 in the Billboard 100 and #54 in Canada.

 

Sleepwalker

Ev’rybody got problems, buddy. I got mine.
When midnight comes around, I start to lose my mind.
When the sun puts out the light,
I join the creatures of the night,
Oh yeah.

I’m a sleepwalker.
I’m a night stalker.
I’m a street walker.
I’m a night hawker.

Ev’rybody got secrets that they wanna hide.
When midnight comes along, I take a look inside.
Don’t go talkin’ in your sleep:
I might come in for a peep,
Oh yeah.’

I’m a sleepwalker.
I’m a night stalker.

When ev’rybody’s fast asleep, I start to creep.
Through the shadows of the moonlight, I walk my beat.
Better close your window tight:
I might come in for a bite,
Oh yeah.

When the night time comes, I start to creep.
I prowl around when you’re fast asleep.
I walk around on my tippy toes,
And I get into places that nobody knows.

I’m always around if you wanna meet.
You can find me on almost ev’ry street.
You’ll always get me on the telephone.
I’ll even come to your home if you’re ever alone.

I’m a sleepwalker.
I’m a night stalker.
I’m a street walker.
I’m a night hawker.
[Repeat]

Kinks – (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman

I hope everyone had a great July 4th!

I liked every era of The Kinks but I first bought their current records in the late half of the 70s and early eighties. This song was on the album Low Budget released in 1978.

This song was written by Kinks singer/songwriter Ray Davies, he called this “a very political song about people going on strike.”

Clive Davis who ran  Arista Records wanted the Kinks to do a club-friendly song.

The Kinks didn’t love disco but it was huge at the time. They found a groove they liked and infused it with their sound. Davies sings about how an ordinary person has to be Superman to survive in these difficult times…kinda applies today also.

Ray Davies:  “It was kind of a joke, taking the piss out of Clive wanting us to do a club-friendly record.”

The song peaked at #41 in the Billboard 100 and #43 in Canada in 1978.

Dave Davies:  “I think that one [‘Superman’] was, not the biggest mistake, but it could’ve been one of the biggest mistakes we made. I remember I had quite a difficult time with Ray while we were making the record, because I didn’t like the direction it was going. It was a strange time for music in general, anyway. The fact that it’s funny, that it was a humorous song, saved it. I don’t feel bad about that song at all, but it could have been a big mistake.”

The live version is a little more guitar based than the studio version.

(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman

Woke up this morning, started to sneeze
I had a cigarette and a cup of tea
I looked in the mirror what did I see
A nine stone weakling with knobbly knees
I did my knees bend press ups touch my toes
I had another sneeze and I blew my nose
I looked in the mirror at my pigeon chest
I had to put on my clothes because it made me depressed
Surely there must be a way
For me to change the shape I’m in
Dissatisfied is what I am
I want to be a better man

Superman superman wish I could fly like superman
Superman superman I want to be like superman
I want to be like superman
Superman superman wish I could fly like superman

Woke up this morning, what did I see
A big black cloud hanging over me
I switched on the radio and nearly dropped dead
The news was so bad that I fell out of bed
There was a gas strike, oil strike, lorry strike, bread strike
Got to be a superman to survive
Gas bills, rent bills, tax bills, phone bills
I’m such a wreck but I’m staying alive

(Look in the paper, what do I see,
Robbery, violence, insanity.)

Hey girl we’ve got to get out of this place
There’s got to be something better than this
I need you, but I hate to see you this way
If I were superman then we’d fly away
I’d really like to change the world
And save it from the mess it’s in
I’m too weak, I’m so thin
I’d like to fly but I can’t even swim

Superman superman I want to fly like superman
Superman superman wish I could fly like superman
Superman superman wish I could fly like superman
Superman superman I want to be like superman
Superman superman I want to fly like superman

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