A week for birthday’s for great rock songwriters- on Sunday Sir Paul McCartney turned 75, yesterday Brian Wilson turned 75 and today Ray Davies- the main songwriter and singer for The Kinks turns 73.
Ray Davies is one of the great ‘observation’ songwriters ever. Always found it interesting that Davies- along with Paul McCartney-wrote so many nostalgic songs- when they themselves were still in their early 20’s. One song that Mrs. Postcard and I can both agree on is the greatness of “Waterloo Sunset”- It is in my Top 10 songs of all time [probably top 5 actually ]and although Mrs. Postcard isn’t a list maker I know it would be in her top 10 also. On every road trip she will at some point put in a request to hear it- sometimes she asks for it to be repeated. Hey, I am good with that I could listen to that song all day.
It is hard to say that The Kinks never got their due- because they had a number of hits, they had big hit albums but compared to their talent I think they didn’t and don’t get the proper acknowledgment they deserve. If I were to make a list of the greatest bands of the 1960’s- early 70’s they would be a solid third- behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I love The Who but if I had to pick between the two I wouldn’t think very long before taking The Kinks. The Who though have been more celebrated.
I was lucky enough to see The Kinks in the summer of 1993 at a make shift shed near the river- and railroad tracks in Pittsburgh. That weekend a Regatta was going on in Pittsburgh. The Kinks had to deal a time or two with trains running just behind them. You could also hear the boats on the river.The thing I remember most from that concert is Davies spontaneously making up a song “Regatta My Ass” about the annoyances they and the fans were dealing with. Oh I almost forgot not only did we all have to deal with the regatta and the trains but in the middle of the concert- fireworks from across the river.
The list of great songs Ray Davies has written would be a lengthy one. “Waterloo Sunset” is my favorite but there would probably be 100 others tied for second place. My favorite Kinks album- “The Village Green Preservation Society.” Ray Davies released a new solo album in April “Americana” which has generated mostly positive reviews. I need to get it.