Archives » Ray Davies

Friday on my Mind 183: Death of a Clown

I remember at the time this came out there was some talk about the Kinks having too many good songs for them to all be released under their name, hence this song – mostly written by Dave but with a contribution from the group’s prime songwriter Ray – appeared as a Dave Davies solo venture, even though the Kinks played on it, and it sounded very much like the group. Later that year it was the second track on the Kinks’ fifth album Something Else by the Kinks.

Dave’s solo career petered out after the follow-up Suzannah’s Still Alive didn’t have as much success as this top five hit.

Dave Davies: Death of a Clown

Not Friday On My Mind 12: The Village Green Preservation Society

Last week I watched a TV programme about Dave Davies of the Kinks. In it he said his brother Ray had been playing two notes on the piano and he (Dave) thought that he could do something with it. To get the right effect – not the clean recorded sound they had had up to this – he tried cutting his amp’s loudspeakers with a razor blade, not expecting this to work. The result ended up as You Really Got Me. So maybe it was Dave, and not Ray, who invented heavy metal. Maybe.

The following programme was a retrospective of Kinks performances from the BBC archive which included this gem.

Not a hit at the time – nor was the LP from which it came despite it being a critical success and now much revered – The Village Green Preservation Society prefigures Ray’s movement into the chronicling of Englishness. It hits perfectly that note of wistful nostalgia encompassed by John Major quoting Orwell’s remark about old maids bicycling to Holy Communion. But Ray’s lyrics are a bit more amusing.

The Kinks: The Village Green Preservation Society

Friday On My Mind 21: Dead End Street

This is a song from the far-from-lighhearted-lyrics-set-against-jaunty-tune genre that The Beautiful South mined so successfully much later. Did Ray Davies invent this as well as heavy metal and prog rock?

The BBC apparently took exception to this promotional film at the time as it was “in bad taste.” (You can see why I didn’t want to post it in the week Pete Quaife died.)

The Kinks: Dead End Street

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