Musical palate cleanser, call him Sir edition

In the spirit of hoping that 2017 is a better year than 2016 in at least one regard, today’s MPC isn’t of a posthumous nature, but instead celebrates one of rock’s greats receiving an honor that he’s deserved for sometime.

THE frontman Ray Davies felt a mixture of “joy” and “humility” on discovering he had been made a knight in the New Year Honours.

He was the lead singer and songwriter for the band, penning classics such as You Really Got Me, Waterloo Sunset, and Sunny Afternoon.

The 72-year-old, who has won a string of industry awards, is being recognised for services to the arts.

Davies, born in Muswell Hill, north , said: “Initially I felt a mixture of surprise, humility, joy and a bit embarrassed but after thinking about it, I accept this for my family and fans as well as everyone who has inspired me to write.”

If I’m a little surprised at the time it took for the honor, it’s because of all the major acts to emerge in the British Invasion, the Kinks struck me as the most quintessentially British, both thematically (check out Village Green Preservation Society) and musically, as Davies made heavy reference to English music hall sounds in many of his songs.

From Arthur, here’s an example of that, “Shangri-La”.

And one of my favorites, from the album Face To Face, “Sunny Afternoon”.

Finally, there’s no way I can pay tribute to Ray Davies without mentioning the greatest song he’s ever written, the stunning, gorgeous “Waterloo Sunset”.

Well played, sir.  Or, should I say, Sir.

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “Musical palate cleanser, call him Sir edition

  1. Uglydawg

    Great band….favorite(the song..the song…) is Lola. If you watch the video they stream written info about the controversial (for 1970) content of the song…it’s really funny how it was inspired…one of their friends had danced with a babe at a club and later noticed she had a 5 oclock shadow. Great, great song!

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  2. Give brother Dave the same honor. He wrote my favorite Kinks song: https://youtu.be/MR52MIJuZJY

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  3. Ed Kilgore

    When I saw the videos you were posting, I was momentarily terrified that Ray Davies had died. After 2016’s terrible death toll among musical greats, it wouldn’t have been surprising. Very happy to see it was a non-posthumous honor.

    Couldn’t agree more about the quintessential Brit-ness of Davies and the Kinks, the rare British Invasion band that wasn’t just recycling blues classics (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). To your list of examples I’d have to add Preservation Acts I and II: a rock opera interpreting contemporary British politics as a replay of the English Civil War! And then, of course, there was “Arthur,” a self-conscious British history complete with the classics “Victoria,” the anti-militarist “Yes Sir No Sir,” “Mr. Churchill Said,” and “Australia.”

    My own favorite Kinks album is “Lola versus Powerman and the MoneyGoRound,” which is mostly an attack on the music industry, though it also includes Dave Davies’ greatest song (“Strangers”), a very funny take on the band’s own rise (“Top of the Pops”) an anti-union number (“Get Back in Line”–who but Davies would write something like that?) and then one of the ten best singles ever written (“Lola”).

    Yeah, I’m glad Sir Ray is still with us.

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  4. Dolly Llama

    Best tribute (sic) song to Mr. Davies ever:

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  5. AthensHomerDawg

    “Davies was “really bored with this guitar sound – or lack of an interesting sound” so he purchased “a little green amplifier … an Elpico” from a radio spares shop in Muswell Hill,[192] and “twiddled around with it”, including “taking the wires going to the speaker and putting a jack plug on there and plugging it straight into my AC3O” (a larger amplifier), but didn’t get the sound he wanted until he got frustrated and “got a single-sided Gillette razorblade and cut round the cone [from the centre to the edge] … so it was all shredded but still on there, still intact. I played and I thought it was amazing.”[193] The jagged sound of the amplifier was replicated in the studio; the Elpico was plugged into the Vox AC30, and the resulting effect became a mainstay in the Kinks’ early recordings—most notably on “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night”.[1]”

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  6. truck

    I saw the Kinks on my second visit to the Fox Theater in 1979. I’ve seen hundreds of concerts in my time, but I’ve never seen a better frontman than Sir Ray Davies. Like all master showmen, he had the near-magical ability to hold an audience in the palm of his hand. The only time I’ve seen his equal was Roger McGuinn (backed by R.E.M.) at a packed show at the Uptown Lounge in the mid to late 80s. Frontmen like Davies or McGuinn can somehow establish a rapport with a crowd of complete strangers and lead them on an emotional rollercoaster like an ancient village shaman. It’s a miraculous thing to see in person

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    • Macallanlover

      “Roger McGuinn played a twelve string guitar, it was like nothing I’s ever heard” David Allen Coe lyric in “Willie, and Waylon, and Me”.

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    • Truck – I saw them on that same tour. Phenomenal show. “Victoria” kicked ass.

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      • truck

        Hell yeah! At that time Van Halen’s version of You Really Got Me was all over the radio and everybody assumed they’d close with their “strongest” song. When they closed with All Day and All of the Night, I got chillbumps. Great band who never got the appreciation they deserved in the US.

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  7. Macallanlover

    oops, “I’d ever heard”

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  8. Russ

    Excellent, congrats to Sir Davies.

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  9. Tronan

    The Kinks are a band I’ve never gotten tired of or taken a break from. So much of what they did has remained relevant and even the stuff that sounds firmly rooted in its time has held up better than most. I have a hard time choosing my favorite, but I find myself most often going back to “Village Green” and “Muswell Hillbillies”. I think Ray Davies’ songwriting was most consistent – and most English – on those two records, though this track is relevant to pretty much anyone anywhere.

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    • playmakers in space

      Great call. Muswell Hillbillies is probably my favorite album of theirs. Ray is one of the greatest songwriters.

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  10. Animal Farm is tied with Train in Vain as the greatest song of all time.

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  11. Well Respected Man at the top of my list of their songs.

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