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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Marion's Top 20 Favourite Kinks Songs...

Here's a list of my 20 favourite Kinks songs. I'll list them in chronological order, because it is too difficult to rank them in order of preference. They're all great! Lola deserves to be included on this list, but I purposely left it out because everyone knows it very well and it is too obvious a masterpiece. What I love most about The Kinks is their lyrics, which range from innocent and pure to funny to reflective andromanticizing of the everyday.

I know a month from now I'm going to re-read this top 20 compilation and think "why didn't I put ____ on this list?" I'm already regretting the exclusion of Celluloid Heroes, the first Kinks song I ever heard, and so exquisite a piece! Lucky for it I'm a sneak and it just got mentioned and pointed out as exquisite right here in my little intro!

THE LIST:

1.) A WELL RESPECTED MAN 1965. This song is a wonderfully folksy, used-on-the-Juno-film-soundtrack, sing-a-long tune about a well respected man-about-town, doing the best things so conservatively. Oh yes it is...oh yes it is! I like the sense of forward movement this song evokes. I could never walk backwards and listen to this song at the same time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwpW-8uM4fA&feature=related

2.) PARTY LINE 1966. A great example of an early, raw, Kinks song bashed out by the unmistakable sound of Dave Davies' guitar. It reminds me of Last Train To Clarksville by The Monkees, only it's much better and raunchier! I love the telephone operator intro which leads us into this boppy thrash tune sung by Dave. I want to fling my arms and legs around when I listen to it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbrc_RC3Ec8

3.) SUNNY AFTERNOON 1966. Here is a classic Kinks song everyone knows which cannot be ignored. I love being part of the audience when Ray Davies sings this one at live concerts. The entire audience always knows every single word and we become one big shiny happy family singing together while swaying to and fro in time to the music. Ha ha ha happy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1h1oRP7FfBw

4.) THIS IS WHERE I BELONG 1966. I love the circular quality of this song. It entrances, captivates, and spins your head around, because this is where you belong. I'd like to spin around outdoors and look at the blue sky above me while listening to this song.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHGaIAm22Rw

5.) WATERLOO SUNSET 1967. Arguably the best song Ray Davies ever wrote. I adore it too, but I can't single it out as his best. It's the story of a man, alone in his room, gazing out his window at the beautiful sunset taking place beyond the dirty river and train station and the dizzying, noisy crowds, as he also beholds Terry and Julie happy together in love oblivious to their surroundings. The man is content to be alone in his room because as long as he gazes on Waterloo Sunset, he is in paradise. It's lovely!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvDoDaCYrEY

6.) AUTUMN ALMANAC 1967. I've always considered Autumn Almanac to be just as wonderful as Sunny Afternoon, but for some reason it was never as popular. It's pretty special when you can sing along to lyrics like "ooooh, my poor rheumatic back" and still feel happy. I like to either march around like a preschooler or rake leaves while listening to this song.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNgo07Cg7lI

7.) WONDERBOY 1968. Allegedly John Lennon's favourite Kinks song. It's a pleasant piece, typical Ray Davies. I want to sit at an outdoor terrasse wearing a wide brimmed sun hat and sip on a Marguarita while I sing along to this one.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2Ml1k8BPe8

8.) ANIMAL FARM 1968. Ah, now we're talking! One of the many masterpieces from The Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society album. I love the eager tone of this song. It makes me long to live just a quiet quiet life, by a dirty old shack that I call my home... Animal Farm!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9sY3NKP7is

9.) DAYS 1968. Now this song is definitely one of my top 5 favourite Kinks songs ever. It packs such a gentle, wistful punch. It is beautiful, respectful and sincere.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKJTJsIYktI&feature=related

10.) PICTURE BOOK 1968. I'm not sure what my favourite track from Village Green Preservation Society actually is; it's a toss up between Picture Book and Starstruck. Picture Book is seductive. It's a finger snapping tune I have to use my shoulders to dance to as I snap away.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjDu3E5zDks

11.) PICTURES IN THE SAND 1968. I thought it only fitting that my blog's namesake be included on this list. This is a lovely, carefree, romantic little piece and I love it. I want it to be MY song!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHCHF299810

12.) STARSTRUCK 1968. Starstruck is a sweet old rock and roll song that leads you to the edge of a cliff then pulls you back to safety just as you're about to fall off. It also drives me insane because the world's not so tame.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8osV1ZbLJLE

13.) BIG SKY 1968. By compiling this list, I am realizing that 1968 seems to be an important year, musically, for the Kinks (according to me). So, yeah, my favourite track from VGPS is a toss up between Picture Book, Starstruck, AND Big Sky. This is a great song-- hopeful and inspiring. It's pure beauty. It should be used in advertisements for charity organizations.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGLgdMQbCjE

14.) ARTHUR 1969. One of the catchiest guitar riffs in the Kinks archives. This song is so underrated! I like the vocals running parallel to the guitar, dontcha know it. I would shuffle along to this song, à la Pink Panther in his animated cartoon series, any day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1L4QzSPdY4

15.) SHANGRI-LA 1969. Shangri-La is another favourite from the Arthur album. It gets off to a quiet, acoustic start, and builds itself into an energetic, powerful anthem that really works well. I love listening to this song right after I put on my slippers and sit by the fire.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt0IXkIVvo4

16.) APEMAN 1970. This was my favourite song for years, and no wonder!! It's so darn likable!! Nice piano and cool sound effects + very humble and inspiring lyrics = yet another successful Kinks song. If only I could sit in the trees and eat bananas all day...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEep67akIn4

17.) GET BACK IN LINE 1970. Get Back in Line is so romantic! All he wants to do is make some money and bring me home some wine. Awwwww... as if my cup isn't already runneth-ing over. This song is outstanding and poignant and is impossible to resist.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7HAfWWNQcI

18.) MUSWELL HILLBILLY 1971. The Kinks go country and obtain very pleasing results indeed. Great twanging. I like to sit leaning forward with my hands on my knees when I listen to this one. My heart lies in old West Virginia. Boone County to be exact...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82cmmVHiFnI

19.) SWEET LADY GENEVIEVE 1973. This is my obscure Kinks song pick. This has always been one of my favourite of the Kinks lesser-known songs. From its lovely harmonica beginning right through to the end, the song simply soars. The song is a lament about lost love, best listened to outdoors or while driving a car.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqgNyYXTK4s

20.) MISFITS 1977. Misfits was a great album, and the first Kinks album I ever bought. It was 1978. This title track is a very beautiful, even, thoughtful song about misfits. They're everywhere.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcsJmkR2_1g&feature=fvwrel



20 comments:

ms hautbois said...

ha ha ha happy we were when we were singing and swaying to "Sunny Afternoon" at the Ray Davies concert in snowy Burlington Vermont!
Nice writing, MArion!

Harry Flashman said...

Thank you, Ms Hautbois. We need to do it again sometime!!

Saverio Mirarchi Jr. said...

"I would shuffle along to this song, à la Pink Panther in his animated cartoon series, any day" Thats the stuff!

Harry Flashman said...

Thanks Saverio! I can see that you are in fact reading my posts!! (unlike a certain Math specialist who shall remain nameless...)

Ralph Greenwald said...

I'm not too big on songs like "Big Sky and "Party Line"..."Party Line" slot better taken by "Funny Face"...Great list, but..."most under rated Kinks song of all time: "Full Moon": what backing vocals!! "Victoria" is possible the greatest Kinks rocker, "Oklahoma" and "The Way Love Used To Be" two of the best sentimentals, "Celluloid Heroes" speaks for itself, on and on...

Anonymous said...

An interesting list! I too have always loved "Autumn Almanac" and the way it has like 3 or 4 sections but remains a tight, concise pop song.

It's tough, but I think my top 20 would be (in no particular order): YRGM, I Need You, Big Sky, Some Mother's Son, Celluloid Heroes, Looney Balloon, This Is Where I Belong, Do It Again, No More Looking Back, Alcohol, When You Were a Child, Missing Persons, Where Oh Where Is Love?, Artificial Man, This Time Tomorrow, Phobia (!), Juke Box Music, God's Children, Brother, You Make It All Worthwhile.

However, let it be said that I love all those songs you mentioned too. :)

Glenn

http://www.youtube.com/placesofaraway

Chief Inspector said...

I keep looking and looking for 'Big Black Smoke' on your list but I'm not seeing it. I know that it's there, somewhere. Would you fix it, please?
My patience has worn thin.

Harry Flashman said...

Ralph- I appreciate your comments, thanks! "Full Moon" is a good one, although my fave song from the Sleepwalker album is "Life on the Road"! Great energy! "Victoria" is loads of fun, but unfortunately it was one of the many I had to chisel away to get down to my top 20. Ah, so many wonderful songs, so few spaces on a top 20 list...

Harry Flashman said...

Glenn- Thank you for commenting on my post. I'm a big fan of the Soap Opera album so thanks for mentioning "You Make it All Worthwhile". Such a great song. I love Preservation Acts I & II very much as well, and now I want to go listen to "Oh Where Oh Where is Love" and "Scrapheap City"!! Thanks for sharing your own top 20 list.

Harry Flashman said...

Chief Inspector: Oops, I forgot to put "Big Black Smoke" on the list! Other than the fact that I sleep in cafés and coffee bars and bowling alleys, and every penny I have is spent on purple hearts and cigarettes, I have no excuse for forgetting about it. Thanks for your understanding.

Anonymous said...

No problem Harry - I forgot "Big Black Smoke" too!!! What a wonderful song. I think there's probably 5 or so on my list that are probably tied with like 30 more Kinks songs I couldn't fit on the list... like "Long Way from Home," "Face in the Crowd," "Now and Then," "How Are You," "Yes Sir, No Sir," and a buncha others.

Glenn

http://www.youtube.com/placesofaraway

Anonymous said...

Or is it Marion?!??! :)

-Glenn

Harry Flashman said...

You can call me Harry or you can call me Marion or you can call me Ray or you can call me Jay, just as long as ya doesn't call me Johnson.

ms hautbois said...

and don't forget to call me for dinner...

Raekerr said...

Just discovered your list. Aside from those songs mentioned by other contributors I'd include Till Death do us Part (insane this is still unofficial), Berkely Mews, and Polly from the mad rush of 1967/70 but also Long Distance, Million Pound Semi Detached and Scattered. Actually, I'd probably include everything from Face to Face onwards with the possible exception of Hay Fever. That's probably more than twenty songs though.

Harry Flashman said...

Thanks Raekerr! Thanks for the input. The songs you listed are great ones indeed. I'll be singing for the rest of the day now! I'm only me, not someone better, not someone good... I'd be a soldier, that's if I only could....

Raekerr said...

I'm sure Lou Reed must have heard this before he wrote Perfect Day, "I thought I was someone else...someone good." Admittedly the Great Lost Kinks Album didn't come out until the year after Transformer but the film soundtrack version would have been floating about for a few years before. Not sure this will stand up in court.

Anonymous said...

My favorites list is quite different: Waterloo Sunset, Tired of Waiting for You, Do You Remember Walter? All of my Friends Were There, Til the End of the Day, See My Friends, State of Confusion, Yo-yo, Holiday Romance, Autumn Almanac (we agree finally), and Strangers. Great to see someone likes the Kinks as much as I.

Harry Flashman said...

Raekerr- I never saw that Perfect Day/Til Death Do Us Part connection before, I guess because the songs are so different. Interesting point!

Harry Flashman said...

Anonymous- Waterloo Sunset is a beauty, and I almost did use All of My Friends Were There on my list. The latter is so fun and bouncy and in that sense is similar to Holiday Romance. Strangers is undeniably wonderful. I should make a top 5 Kinks songs sung by Dave list next:)