Thursday, May 10, 2007

You Really Got Me

As a girl of the eighties, I shouldn't by rights be into sixties music. Indeed. Until I met my husband I wasn't. As a teenager I spent rather alot of time bopping to the Beatles at the end of parties which rather put me off the whole decade.

I tend to think of music as adding the soundtrack to my life (which is why I always use it to inspire my writing).

Roxanne represents the moment I suddenly got pop music - coincidentally the first time I heard it was also the first time I got asked to dance. I had no idea it was about a prostitute, but hey, what the hell. Every time I hear it now my thirteen year old heart does a little leap - he asked me to dance, thereby fulfilling the most important desire of a girl's teenage years...

All that ska stuff, like Ghost Town and UB40 makes me think of strikes and pickets, and rocking against racism; the new Romantics took me through the trials of my late teens when I learnt that boys not only asked you to dance, but then they stopped asking you, too; Madonna, King, U2, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Everything but the Girl exploded into my life as I experienced freedom for the first time, mainly on the dance floor late at night in Liverpool's seedier drinking holes...

But sixties music. Now in the main that had passed me by till I got together with Spouse. He introduced me to the Zombies, the Animals, the Mamas & Papas, loads of stuff I'd never heard of. And I haven't been able to enjoy the Beatles since, as there was so much more that I like far better.

California Dreamin' by the Mamas & Papas remains a favourite of mine (indeed, I used it for mood in Pastures New), as does She's Not There by the Zombies (which I haven't used yet, but I certainly will).

But the band I am most grateful to Spouse for introducing me to are the Kinks. Ray Davies in my book is a living genius. I love his storytelling capacity, his ability to poke fun, his wry social comment, and above all his ability to produce great simple songs that you can not only dance to, but which stick in your head forever...

My role of honour for Kinks' songs goes to:

Waterloo Sunset - two things coincide there for me. Waterloo Bridge happens to be my favourite bridge in London. I used to walk across it every day when I was commuting, and I love the grand sweep of vision you get from being on a bend in the river which means you can see London laid out in all its glory on both sides. Every time I hear the song I can picture that view.

All Day and All of the Night - encapsulates love's young dream so perfectly. And let's face it, who wouldn't want Ray singing to them he wants to be with them all day and all of the night... That will no doubt make its way into a book one day too.

Lola Bearing in mind I was a lot more innocent the first time I heard this song, I can remember the moment of revelation when I suddenly realised, that the singer not only knew he was a man, but so was Lo-lo-lo-lo-lo-Lola... I love that song. It is so funny and Ray Davies at his mischievous best.

But my favourite Kinks song is probably their simplest.

It's You Really Got Me and its the only song I can guarantee will drag my husband to the dance floor.

When I first met him, he had recently had the disappointment of driving all the way to Southampton to go to a Kinks gig which was cancelled. So last year I managed to book us tickets to see Ray Davies at the Royal Albert Hall only for that to be cancelled too.

Tonight, however, all things being well, we are finally going to get to see the man himself.

Here he is.

Isn't he lovely? (OK, not a patch on David Tennant, but David Tennant doesn't have a voice to make your soul sing).

I'm really looking forward to it.

I do hope he doesn't cancel.

Because I'm looking forward to a dance with my husband...

PS. A very kind friend has pointed out that apparently Waterloo Sunset was originally supposed to be Liverpool Sunset, and was about Liverpool Station, not about Waterloo at all... Although according to Wikipedia it IS about Waterloo Bridge...

The truth is out there I'm sure...


Dumdad said...

Apart from Lola, I think the Kinks' finest song is Days.
(Actually, ALL their songs are good!)

Roads said...

Thanks for that post. For some strange reason, I mostly can't bear to hear the Beatles any more, either.

But Roxanne was (and still is) great. Even now I can hear the drum strains of Regatta de Blanc wafting through my student halls on lazy Sunday mornings. (Yes, I know that song is actually from Outlandos d'Amour, but you know what I mean). I spent many happy hours hacking up the upper frets whilst trying to play it on guitar, much later on, as well.

Some very good friends of mine went to Lanchester Polytechnic (now Coventry University), and so I spent quite a bit of time seeing their experience of The Specials' original Ghost Town.

Coventry was tough and gritty then (it still is, in part), but those trips provided the very best clubbing I ever did.

Mad Twin said...

Love the Kinks - think they're great. But think it is worth your while re-visiting the Beatles again. I can see that some of the very early youthful stuff is a bit samey, but as they got older wow McCartney and Lennon could write and sing. I think Paul McCartney was just brilliant at writing little stories in a song.
"Eleanor Rigby" - a fantastic description of loneliness
"She's Leaving Home"- poignant and emotional evocation of the generation gap. To name but two.

And if it's darkness you want, John Lennon had plenty,
listen to the lyrics of "Norwegian Wood", a seemingly lovely love song that is anything but. "Why don't we do it in the road?" is I think a Lennon song but whoever wrote it I just love it for it's humour and irreverence.

Different strokes for different folks I know but after 20 years why don't you give them another look, you might find yourself somewhat surprised.

Hope you had fun with the Kinks last night

Mad Twin

Jane Henry said...

dumdad, thanks for popping by.
Yes, you're right, they all good songs (except perhaps I am the Ape Man and Come Dancing)... I'm just about to post How BLOODY good...

Roads nice to see you hear. Having now seen one idol, feel that I must go and see Sting now too!

Mad Twin, you clearly never saw my post some months back about listening to the Love Album... I agree about Eleanor Rigby and Lady Madonna which are unbearably poignant, but John Lennnon??? Woman??? IMagine???? Yuk, yuk, yuk... sentimental hippy claptrap. Can't stand it, or him. Don't the song of which you speak...but if you like it I probably will. Now off to blog about my fantastic, fabulous, brilliant evening...

Mad Twin said...

I agree with you about "Woman" though I quite like "Imagine" but I think Lennon did his best stuff with McCartney and vice versa. Paul McCartney always said that it was John Lennon who gave his songs the sharp edge they needed, without him, many of his songs would have been too gooey for words. And vice versa, without McCartney some of Lennon's would have been TOO sharp. Interestingly McCartney says the collaborator he's worked with most like John Lennon was Elvis Costello, who he felt had a similar spiked wit. I think a lot of JL's post Beatles work was finding his way. He was just getting into a better place when he died. Paul McCartney recorded his best post Beatles album after the split and then had some great records with Wings but hasn't done much good work since.

But I think later Beatles is particularly good.

Also and this is my final comment on the matter, they were extraordinarly prolific, so it is not surprising there are some duds in there!

Glad you had a good Kinky evening
(in rhe most innocent sense of the word)