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September 6, 2010 - Bernard A. Oravec
As promised, I have compiled a list of my top 20 favorite songs by The Kinks. This list does not reflect record sales, critical acclaim or popularity of radio play. It is simply songs by The Kinks that receive the most play on my iPod. Many are obscure while others are considered Classic Rock standards. I will list my ranking, title, album & year and some comments. Enjoy.
20. “Scattered” (Phobia 1993) This song was the last song on their last official studio album. A nice way to go out. There is also a great video.
19. “She’s Got Everything” (The Kink Kronikles 1972) Originally recorded in 1968 for a shelved album project. This song was standard garage band fare for many starting Punk and New Wave groups in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. A solid cover version was recorded by The Romantics in 1980 on their debut cd (The Romantics).
18. “(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman” (Low Budget 1979) A four on the floor driving disco drum beat that sticks in your head for longer than expected. Hated by most Kinks purests…I have enjoyed this song since high school.
17. “Tired Of Waiting For You” (Kinda Kinks 1965) From the early years, when many songs shared the same three cords and riffs. It’s still a standard on Classic Rock stations.
16. “Destroyer” (Give The People What They Want 1981) Power cords from the height of The Kinks stadium rock years. Another favorite with the Punk and New Wave crowds.
15. “Apeman” (Lola Verses Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One 1970) This song was to be the hit single from this album, however “Lola” stole the spot light and jump started The Kinks to 1970’s FM radio stardom. Very similar in spirit and sound to “Lola”. First known radio play of the F-bomb….or was it just “Fogging”?
14. “Dedicated Follower Of Fashion” (The Kinks The Ultimate Collection 2002) Released only as a single in 1966, this song has been presented on many hits collections. Great lampoon of the fashionable during London’s swinging 60’s.
13. “Misfits” (Misfits 1978) Nice melodic number featuring classic Ray Davies lamenting vocals. A staple on stadium tours through the mid 1980’s.
12. “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” (The Kink Kontroversy 1965) Solid rocker from the early years. Great cover version by Van Halen on 1982’s (Diver Down) cd.
11. “Muswell Hillbilly” (Muswell Hillbillies 1971) Great country crossover thumper. Rumored to be the Rolling Stones when first released. Ray Davies vocals sound similar to Mick Jagger on “Dead Flowers”. One of my favorites that should rank higher on all Classic Rock playlists.
10. “All Day And All Of The Night” (The Kinks The Ultimate Collection 2002) Released only as a single in 1964, this song could be called “You Really Got Me Part II”. A hard rocker with plenty of power cords that will satisfy even today’s young rockers. A must play for every garage band worth a damn.
9. “Low Budget” (Low Budget 1979) Another hard rocker from the stadium rock glory days of 1977-1983. Very popular with college radio stations.
8. “20th Century Man” (Muswell Hillbillies 1971) Ray Davies commentary on our twisted industrial age. Great track from a very good album.
7. “Shangri-La” (Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire) 1969) Solid track with a variety of bridges and directional changes. Includes a very Cream-like “Tales Of Great Ulysses” segue. A must listen to understand The Kinks of the late 1960’s. Highly under played and under rated.
6. “Waterloo Sunset” (Something Else By The Kinks 1967) Ray at his lyrical and melodic best. A staple of mid 1960’s radio play and a must listen for those discovering The Kinks. This song was covered very well by Def Leppard in 2006 on their (Yeah!) cd.
5. “Celluloid Heroes” (Everybody’s In Show-Biz 1972) The Kinks biggest “non hit” of their career. Solid FM radio play of this song would have you believe it was one of their biggest hits, in fact, it never charted anywhere! Beautiful lament of the sadness of stardom.
4. “You Really Got Me” (Kinks 1964) Most would be surprised that I didn’t rank this song at #1. It was their first world wide hit and the song that is most connected to their brand, but it was just the beginning. One of the most recognized riffs of all time. A classic for all rockers since 1964 who have dreamed of playing guitar in a band. Covered many time by major acts, the best cover to date is by Van Halen on 1978”s (Van Halen) debut cd.
3. “Lola” (Lola Verses Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One 1970) Most know this song through karaoke and Classic Rock radio. Great guitar and clever lyrics fuel this classic. A concept album with this song as the song played by the fictional band on the album that was to become a fictional hit for the fictional band on the album during their fictional rise to the Top of The Pops. Are you still with me??? Such a surprise hit in 1970, it caused the band to dabble in concept albums during the middle of the decade. All were commercial failures until the release of a back to basics rocker, (Sleepwalker) in 1977. Lola remains one of my favorites.
2. “A Rock And Roll Fantasy” (Misfits 1978) I have always felt that this song was one of their best. A solid album rock symphony that pulls in the listener to the world of mid 1970’s Rock. A perfect song to listen to late at night while wearing oversized headphones. With solid vocals and beautiful instrumental work, this is Ray Davies storytelling at its best.
1. “Till The End Of The Day” (The Kink Kontroversy 1965) A hard rocker that encompasses all that is great about the early Kinks. As the raw power cord infused conclusion to the trilogy of “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All Of The Night”; “Till The End Of The Day” has all the elements just right. If you what to know what The Kinks are all about, this is your answer.
Some that just missed the cut were “Victoria”, “Starmaker”, “Juke Box Music”, “Dead End Street” and “Do It Again”. My next blog topic: TBA .