In-depth reviews of classic or neglected albums, mainly from the 1960s and 70s, plus a weekly newsletter featuring all the latest news, views and music. Artists covered include Beach Boys, Beatles, Belle and Sebastian, Buffalo Springfield, Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Dire Straits, Grateful Dead, Hollies, Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Kinks, Nils Lofgren, Monkees, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Searchers, Simon and Garfunkel, Small Faces, 10cc, The Who and Neil Young.
Monday, 30 November 2015
The Kinks: Surviving TV Appearances: 1964-1995
Think Visual! Our Kinky Youtube playlist is now up and running and can be visited at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL85DED6A846F1D7DC as well as viewed at the top of this article.
Here we go again with the thirteenth in our series of AAA TV clips. The Kinks volume was a little easier to compile than most, mainly because of the people who came before me - hats off to Doug Hinman's books 'You Really Got Me' and especially 'All Day And All Of The Night' which includes a fascinating list of every single TV show The Kinks ever played (as some of you will know by now, usually there are no proper lists out there of which shows a particular band played). Perhaps partly because of actually having a list to work from - but mainly because The Kinks were workaholics right across thirty-one very busy years - we've found a bumper crop of clips for you this week, adding a good twenty clips more than our previous longest articles. However our list is slightly different from Hinman's - whereas Doug's list includes titles for everything The Kinks ever did, we've just gone for the TV shows that we know have survived the years intact and have seen with our very own eyes, the 'steam trains' that survived through to the modern age of diesel. And sad to say that a good half - maybe even two-thirds - of the shows The Kinks once appeared on seem to have gone forever.
As we've said many times in these pages English bands from the 1960s were particularly badly hit - The BBC had limited space and didn't believe in repeating things that were more than a few weeks old apart from very special circumstances. Television was all about being new new new and so was music, so nobody expected people to actually want to watch back last week/month/year/decade's fashions/sounds. For instance, The Kinks actually appeared on flagship programme 'Top Of The Pops' some forty-seven times and were associated with the programme enough to spoof it *on 'Top Of The Pops' from 'Lola V Powerman' in 1970, funnily enough the year they stopped appearing regularly...) - regrettably only seven of these clips now exist (sob!), which statistically speaking is still one of the higher AAA ratios for a 60s band (heavier sob!) Not that the various production companies that worked for ITV were much better, with several programmes listed by Hinman missing from the archives - with the possible exception of 'Ready Steady Go' (the source of The Kinks' first three TV filmed appearances): with all the tapes currently in the possession of Dave Clark (of the Dave Clark Five) and under firm lock and key we don't really know what's survived and what hasn't. The Kinks' TV appearances in America have survived the years in greater quantities, but of course The Kinks were infamously 'banned', leaving giant holes in their TV coverage compared to other bands (unusually, too, The Kinks didn't do much TV for European networks outside Britain, unlike our other AAA bands like The Hollies and Pink Floyd). That's not even counting the TV programmes that 'nearly' were - the abandoned screen play for 'Arthur', the stage show for 'Village Green Preservation Society' and why oh why did nobody think to film the stage show of 'Preservation'?!...
However for all that there's still one heck of a lot in this list and that's despite our usual long list of caveats. Number one: I'd never dare to call this a 'complete' list, it's just complete to the best of my knowledge and I've taken the evidence of my own eyes as final proof as to whether something 'exists' or not (reading other people talk about it won't do! There is, for example most definitely a music video for 'Supersonic Rocket Ship' although I've never seen it complete so won't comment here except to say its a moody black and white job with John Gosling trying to fly and every bit as odd as it sounds given the extracts doing the rounds). Do feel free to write in if you think we've missed a clip though... Number two: we've stuck to merely band performances as best we can, with a handful of exceptions where Ray or Dave happen to be doing something particularly interesting you can't find elsewhere. Number three: we've ended this list when The Kinks end in 1995, even though technically speaking the band never announced their split so we don't have a definite date (both Davies brothers went on to do so much promotion solo we'd have had to have added about half as much again to this list!) Number four: The Kinks have to actually appear rather than provide the soundtrack - so there's no 'Percy' 'Where Did Spring Go?' 'Till Death Us Do Part' or 'The Ballad Of The Virgin Soldiers' (although Ray's acting debut in 'Play For Today' has made it to this list). Finally, there are a handful of these clips sort of semi-officially available on a handful of DVDs or officially in the case of four music videos included on the 'Come Dancing' video/DVD (though not nearly enough in my opinion - where's 'Starmaker' on DVD or a proper full set of music videos that's the equivalent of other bands?!) We'll tell you where you can find these clips when and if they are available, but as usual with these articles you may have to resort to Youtube I'm afraid. To make things easier we have our own Alan's Album Archives page there (https://www.youtube.com/user/AlansArchives) where we're slowly compiling lists of all 30 of our bands into special 'playlists' including one dedicated to The Kinks (do be warned though - Youtube videos tend to come and go all the time so it might not always be 100% full of these clips when you visit!) So anyway join us in our video-made 'Picture Book' of all things Kinky...
1) Cavern Club ('Long Tall Sally' ?/1964)
Funnily enough we start more or less where we started our Beatles book, with a song made famous by the fab four filmed at The Cavern Club. 'Long Tall Sally' was, of course, released as The Kinks' first single by Pye simply because The Beatles had covered it and while far from regulars The Kinks did play The Cavern Club a few times when they were 'oop North'. The film is not in great condition - the camera zooms a lot and the tape audibly slows down during the chorus - but it's the only footage we have of the band performing this song or appearing at this venue. No one seems quite sure exactly when or why this clip was recorded (even Dog Hinman's book doesn't list it!) or even if it exists complete, but about a minute's worth of footage has appeared in a few documentaries over the years (notably 'My Generation' from 1993). Oh and ignore Charles Shaar Murray's whinging on that edition: The Kinks were a great blues band, if not quite as serious about it as contemporaries The Animals or The Yardbirds.
2) Beat Room (UK TV 'You Really Got Me' 'Got Love If You Want It' October 1964)
Introduced as 'You Really Got Me...Goin', the earliest surviving clip of The Kinks singing the song that made their name was taped not for British TV but for Germany and as a result is often the clip wheeled out to demonstrate The Kinks in their heyday. Unluckily for perfectionist Ray he had a shocking cold that day and can barely bleat out the words but it's a great performance even so, with Pete and Mick really nailing the song's metronomic beat. The only existing footage of Slim Harpo's 'Got Love If You Want It' - the memorable closer to the debut album - is even more fascinating. Instead of just diving straight into the frenetic instrumental from the opening verse Ray leers at the crowd, his eyes shut, as The Kinks slow down to a barely audible whisper. Suddenly he jumps up, shrieks 'alright boys let's go!' and attacks his harmonica like never before. The crowd now wide awake and the energy in the room crackling, Ray is superb on the second verse, repeating the same trick again as the cameraman - now onto what he's doing - concentrates on the 'silent comedy' faces he's calling. It's a thrilling version of what was always one of the band's better cover songs and knocks spots off the album version. Admittedly by now The Kinks are TV regulars with several appearances on TOTP and Ready Steady Go under their belt, but as far as we're concerned this is an explosive 'proper' start to our list. Ray recalled later that he was 'wearing his Lady Diana suit!' Both clips can be found on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC'
3) Top Beat (?) (UK TV 'You Really Got Me' 'All Day And All Of The Night' November 1964)
A slightly more 'together' performance of The Kinks' signature tune, closely followed by a nicely raw rendition of the sequel. To be fair I'm not certain about where this footage belongs, but out of all the Kinks clips I can find I have a 'You Really Got Me' and an 'All Day' left over, so having scoured Doug Hinman's book this show seems the most likely - it's the only time in 1964 the band play both and as an ITV show is a smidgeon more likely to exist than period BBC programmes. The Kinks are wearing their 'hunter's jackets' for both clips by the way - although that's not especially helpful (they wore them a lot in 1964!)
4) Ready Steady Go #1 (UK TV 'Tired Of Waiting For You' January 1965)
One of the more famous Kinks clips, this is the video that features all of the band except Ray on podiums which rise and fall throughout the song. Poor Mick gets very high by the middle and is only just in shot (is this really the best way to treat the biggest new act of 1964?!?) Ray down below tries his best to look serious, whilst Dave and Pete behind make the most of their newly elevated position and try to make the camera look at them (Pete Quaife's Pete Townshend-style arm-windmilling is particularly fun!) Check out the first televised appearance of Dave's 'Flying V' guitar!
5) Shindig #1 (US TV 'You Really Got Me' 'All Day And All Of The Night' January 1965)
The Kinks were never really taken to the hearts of the American market the way some other groups were, even before the 'ban', but Shindig(on ABC) was a particularly happy hunting ground for the band, a music variety show that was big in the 1964-1966 years when The Kinks were at their commercial peak too. This first performance features a straightforward if slightly rough performance of the band's first two big hits where Ray seems to have caught another slight cold judging by his voice and the backing vocals are slightly awry. They're still great performers in this period though, their stillness contrasting greatly with the sheer energy of the performance.
6) Hullabaloo (US TV 'All Day And All Of The Night' February 1965)
'Hullabaloo' was a similar show all round, but for the rival network NBC, albeit with rather older and 'straighter' hosts. This appearance features the weirdest set on the list with what appear to be either Native American totem poles or stripy surfboards stuck randomly into the back of the set, while one of the Hullaballoo dance troupe stands perfectly still behind the band and another is lying down at the front (you may recall from one of our other entries a Byrds appearance on this show where the girls are being 'ornithologist hunters'!) The Kinks look as bemused as I feel, turning in a mimed performance of a song they were probably singing in their sleep by this point. Legend has it that Ray and Mick angered the producers of the show during rehearsals when they danced 'cheek to cheek' when asked to do something lively for the cameras, which would have been daring in the States back then; is this really why they were banned? This clip would have been broadcast in colour at the time - the first for the band out of the surviving footage at least - although the only clip I've seen is in such bad quality it might as well have been in black-and-white.
7) Red Skelton Hour (US TV 'Got Love If You Want It' March 1965)
Golly, how to explain how Red Skelton was popular? Skelton was a comedian most famous for his radio work and funny voices who played a henpecked husband and was most famous for his impression of a seagull. Not many people remember his shows now - and I don't blame them given what I've seen - except when they contained special guest stars like this show. The Kinks perform a slightly more rushed version of their old showstopper tonight, with Ray 'hmm-hmm'ing rather than going completely quiet as he did on 'Beat Room'. Sadly to date only an extract from this clip has been seen, although the fact that it now resides in the 'Reelin' In The Years' library (the source of the excellent DVDs on The Hollies and Small Faces in recent years) bodes well for an official release at some date.
8) NME Pollwinner's Concert (UK TV 'You Really Got Me' 'Tired Of Waiting For You' April 1965)
Against all odds, most of the 1964 and all of the 1965 NME Pollwinner's Concerts survive - complete with embarrassing gaps, faulty equipment and clueless presenters! Proof of just how big The Kinks were in this period comes from the fact that they close the show, with top billing over even The Beatles! (Or at least that's how it appears - the fab four had another gig down the road and couldn't be last, while The Kinks are as unpunctual as ever and turn up late for their slot, most probably why Dave shouts 'sorry' into the crowd between songs). And a special compere message from DJ Jimmy Saville (he even spells out 'Kinks' - that shoulda been a clue...), but we'll gloss over that one for now... (We'll be seeing a lot more of this show in our books what with appearances by The Moody Blues and The Searchers along the way). The Kinks aren't having a good day though, perhaps having been kept waiting nervously backstage with all their peers and Pete's backing vocals are especially high and awkward (to be fair, it's probably the mixer's fault for putting him too high). We also see footage of The Kinks getting their award as 'second best new group of the year - four silver goblets from which Ray pretends to take a quick swig before the band leap off stage. Compared to other Kinks footage of the period this is a bit of a struggle to sit through, to be honest, with the band clearly tired and in need of a rest. What a shame they won't get one for ever so long...
9) Shivaree (US TV 'Set Me Free' 'All Day And All Of The Night' July 1965)
Again I've had to do a bit of detective work here, but it seems likely that these two surviving clips are taken from 'Shivaree', a less well known but often more interesting American variety show which came on like 'Shindig's poverty-stricken younger brother but often had better guests. A rare performance of 'Set Me Free' is unusual for The Kinks - it is perhaps the first 'serious' single they can't get away with smiling through, though that said Ray still cracks a smile in the second verse. He also waggles his finger, Sebastian Vettel style during the middle eight. Both performances are mimed by the way. 'Set Me Free' cropped up on the 'Essential Collection' video, although as far as I know it's not appeared on DVD yet!
10) Shindig #2 (?) (US TV 'Who'll Be The Next In Line?' 'Tired Of Waiting For You' 'It's Alright!' 'I'm A Lover Not A Fighter' 'Long Tall Shorty' July 1965)
Meanwhile, over at Shindig, The Kinks are proving successful enough to get top billing - which luckily for us means more music. Now, controversially I'm going against Doug Hinman here by listing 'Who'll Be The Next In Line' in with the other songs because it clearly comes from this Shindig, the band are wearing the same clothes and the song seems to fit this later, longer show better (although it could at a stretch have possibly have been taped on the band's first appearance last December). Doug also lists 'Set Me Free' as being performed at this show, which would make perfect sense given the chronology, although it's not been included in any copies of the show that I've seen (admittedly this show generally gets cut into smithereens for repeat broadcast anyway). Highlights include Ray miming the piano during 'Next In Line' with Dave ever so nearly knocking him out with his guitar (on accident...I think!), Ray enacting the words to the start of 'IT's Alright!' ('I got wings, I'm gonna fly!...') and the big finale on 'Long Tall Shorty' with Dave up front and each of the special guests up on stage. All the songs are mimed, even though 'Long Tall Shorty' sounds substantially different to the record suggesting it was re-taped by the band especially for the broadcast for some unknown reason. Alas The Kinks will be back down the bill for their next, vastly shorter appearances on the show...Most of this show appears on the 'Kinks Live' semi-legal DVD (the one with a Dave Davies interview running through the middle).
11) Ready Steady Go #2 (?)(UK TV 'See My Friends' July 1965)
Once again, a bit of guess work here but there's a monochrome clip of The Kinks performing 'See My Friends' which has the 'feel' of a Ready Steady Go clip about it (though The Kinks also performed the song on 'Top Of The Pops' and an ITV programme named 'Discs A Go Go').Ray introduces the song by name which is unusual before the record starts up and the band mime once again, though with a bit more acting than usual (Dave is so intently studying his guitar at the start he might be wondering how the hell he made the sound in the first place!)
12) Where The Action Is (US TV 'You Really Got Me' 'Set Me Free' 'Everybody's Gonna Be Happy' July 1965)
The Kinks are where the action is, at least in mid 1965 when they're taking US telly by storm. A spin-off of 'American Bandstand' with the same presenter, Dick Clark, this long running programme was one of the key American shows right behind Ed Sullivan's in the 1960s and it was quite a coup for The Kinks to get three whole songs on there. The band mime to three of their hit singles (though perhaps not the three you might expect) and are filmed both inside and outside the 'club' set hat's the backdrop to the series. The band are in mufti for this show, weirdly, with both Ray and Pete in bright striped jumpers (yep, even on monochrome they look bright!) - at least until 'You Really Got Me' when the band are suddenly dressed for summer and wearing sunglasses! The director is having far too much fun with the period technology (the band keep sliding into 'negative' every so often or zooming in for a shaky close-up) but otherwise this is an excellent run of clips with the band on top cheeky form, mugging up to the camera something rotten!
13) Discorama (French TV 'Bye Bye Johnnie' 'Louie Louie' 'Long Tall Shorty' 'Hide and Seek' July 1965)
A most fascinating if low quality live set which I've found so belatedly I've just had to change all the flipping numbers in this list, The Kinks turn in a terrific four part show in Paris which is pretty much a last hurrah to the band's R and B days. Dave takes the lead for most of the set for a change and half of the songs featured here veer turned up on an album: the raucous 'Bye Bye Johnny' (a Chuck Berry sequel to Johnny B Goode) features some terrific drumming and this is also the only place where you can see the band perform Big Joe Turner's 'Hide and Seek'. The French crowd seem to love The Kinks (unusual given that, traditionally, they're the most reserved of European audiences) and appear to chant 'Pete Quaife Pete Quaife' before the finale (although it's probably 'Plus!' meaning 'More'!) The quality may be rotten and the cameramen might spend more time looking at the crowd than they do The Kinks but this is a rip-roaring shows that puts paid to every critics who ever said The Kinks couldn't do R and B. Fantastic!
14) Shindig #3 (US TV 'See My Friends' October 1965)
Not listed by Doug Hinman (was it returned after 'All Day and All Of The Night' was written?), but kindly listed as 'this week's Shindig pick of the week' (which makes my life a lot easier!) this is another terrific performance with a rare live period performance of one of The Kinks' greatest songs. The band might be rough but the harder edges smooth this timid, weary song with Dave's harmony vocals and guitar especially powerful tonight. Poor Mick's had a killer haircut, though, and looks bored out of his skull! Sadly hopes for a 'full ending' are dashed by a less than delicate edit from the programme makers to a fadeout.
15) Ready Steady Go #3 (UK TV 'All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth' December 1965)
Most definitely returned to the archives is this truly abominable quality recording of The Kinks (at least - I think it's them through the fog of half a century of neglect) messing around on a Ready Steady Go festive special. Ray is no doubt laughing at himself again with the song choice (a reference to his own famous 'gapped teeth' he refused to get fixed) which The Kinks play hard and fast!
16) Shindig #4 (US TV 'Milk Cow Blues' December 1965)
The middle of three versions of this Sleepy John Estes classic, this one is somewhere between the other two, at half-speed from the fiery version from earlier in the year and the slowed down crawl of a jam of 1966. Pete and Dave are up on a podium again (TV producers seem like doing this to The Kinks!) and perhaps because they're kept a stage apart Dave and Ray do less interplay on their vocals than usual here. Unusually Dave is more 'posh' and concerned with enunciating, while Ray lets his hair down! In common with many Shindig shows, a troupe of dancers suddenly run on during the instrumental for no apparent reason - get out of the way girls, I'm trying to watch Dave solo!
17) Shindig #5 (US TV 'I Gotta Move' January 1966)
The Kinks reach back to their past for their last performance on 'Shindig' - and, if I've got my sums right, the last Kinks TV appearance in the States of the 1960s. This return to a 1964 B-side seems like an odd move to make if the band are still trying to forge out a career for themselves in a new land so perhaps the band already know they're not long for the States. That might also explain the muted, oddly precise rendering on what's usually one of the band's most chaotic originals. Listen out for Ray still singing 'fill my gap and comb my hair' as he does on record but here with a knowing wink and the loud screams of all the fans at the end - they clearly don't want the band to go even if the unions do!
18) Beat Beat Beat #1 (German TV 'A Well Respected Man' 'Milk Cow Blues' 'Till The End Of The Day' 'I'm A Lover Not A Fighter' 'You Really Got Me' January 1966)
Meanwhile, back in Germany, The Kinks tried to ignore the band and carry on with their career. The band put on a fourteen minute reduction of their live set for the German audience which became a regular staple on music station VH-1 back in the days when it was less trendy and occasionally good. Dressed all in black and struggling to be heard in the echoey German arena, The Kinks turn in a sloppy yet interesting set which finds them back in the 'Kinks Kontroversy Konfusion' period caught halfway between the raw rock of years gone by and the wittier character assassinations that will go on to mark out 1966 for them. Ray is doing a lot of winking and grinning to the audience and even throws in a few ad libs ('...And his answax (a 1960s make of furniture polish!) smells the best!') An unfocussed yet funky 'Milk Cow Blues' is the highlight of the set, Dave and Ray getting into the feel of the duelling narrators by, erm, not looking at each other for the whole song. The earliest surviving of 'Till The End Of The Day' sounds mighty good too, with a really piercing Dave Davies guitar part (even if Ray messes up the solo, adding an extra '...Till the end of the day' perhaps to keep his brother on his toes!) All in all, a great show, with The Kinks recognisably like both their early 1960s and late 1960s selves. The full performance is out on DVD titled 'Beat Beat Beat', although it's a candidate for being one of the shortest DVDs in history with no other footage included.
19) A Whole Scene (UK TV 'Sunny Afternoon' June 1966)
Alas there now appears to be a huge great gap until the next clip, right when The Kinks are having a particularly interesting year (the American band isn't helping and nor are the gradually falling sales or time off from Ray's 'breakdown' although there were still twelve missing Kinks performances between January and March that year). Taken from a short-lived 24-part music variety series, of which only four episodes are thought to have survived, the 'stills' from this show are more famous than the performance (with The Kinks standing on raised mini-'rostrums' on the floor). The band mime an early performance of one of their most beloved songs with a smartly dressed Ray wearing a flower in his lapel and Dave in a checked jacket. Well it makes a change from the red hunting suits! Can be found on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC'
20) Top Of The Pops #1 (UK TV 'Sunny Afternoon' June 1966)
Astonishingly, the earliest surviving Kinks TOTP appearance is their twenty-fifth performance on the show. This one seems to have been returned given the state it's in (a few bits seem to have been beyond repair which is why the clip occasionally slows down to fit in with the synch) and could be from any of three performances the band gave of the song on consecutive weeks across June. The band mime in front of a psychedelic backdrop which really loses something being, erm, in black and white.
21) Discorama (?) (French TV 'Milk Cow Blues' July 1966)
A strangely slow and unusually 'tight' version of this raucous rocker next, although the song picks up steam fast from a slow beginning as Mick Avory thumps the song into action. Dave skips the first verse, instead heading straight into the 'won't you please?' chorus while Ray's part has him spending more time teaching the audience how to clap than doing any actual singing. The Kinks look as if they're having fun here though, unlike their usual grumpy selves across 1965/66!
22) Dead End Street (Music Video 1966)
One of the bravest of Kinks clips is this early music video for 'Dead End Street', which has actually become a lot more common today than it ever was in the 1960s (when TV producers in most countries took umbrage at the band 'laughing' at death and promptly banned it for years!) The Kinks are undertakers walking down a dreary looking London lane (now you know where Oasis got the idea for the 'Importance Of Being Idle' promo!) The band aren't really being disrespectful, although Dave does dress up in a wig for the part of a grieving widow and Pete does end up sitting on the coffin at the end (well, he's had a tiring day!) Found on 'The Kinks Kollekted' DVD, the 'Essential Collection' video and probably many more!
23) Vibrato (?) (Belgian TV ? 'Sunny Afternoon' January 1967)
An odd clip this one, starting off with the band in the back of a rolls royce acting out the part of 'millionaires' before we see the band in thick heavy coats outside in what's obviously freezing countryside. The band look uncomfortable, which rather suits the seriousness of the lyrics, but it's not exactly a very suitable setting given the sentiments of the words! Mick Avory really struggles to mime his drum part wearing gloves! The choice of show is a 'guess' by the way - we know it isn't Britain looking at the scenery and I've taken a guess that it's Belgium scenery not Germany.
24) Beat Club #1 (German TV 'Mr Pleasant' May 1967)
The Kinks are definitely in Germany for this clip though, with somebody (probably the presenter) guesting on piano to fill in for Nicky Hopkins and Dave Lee Travis on trombone for reasons known best to themselves. The band are clearly getting fed up of miming by now and take the mickey out of the cameras remorselessly, singing out of synch and waving their arms about a lot. This is the start of Dave Davies' obsession with striking looking hats.
25) Beat Club #2 (German TV 'Waterloo Sunset' June 1967)
Another of the more famous clips this has The Kinks in their Carnaby Street splendour for a mimed performance of one of their most popular songs (especially a dapper looking Dave in glasses!) The band were plainly in a good mood when they recorded this clip, which is probably the band's most common in terms of screen hours on TV.
26) Top Of The Pops #2 (UK TV 'Autumn Almanac' October 1967)
Another rare TOTP clip from the 1960s, I'm surprised this isn't shown more often given that most of the early TOTP clips are on their sixth time around in clip shows by now. Ray sings along with the record as far as I can tell and wears a giant rosette on his suit and sports a killer hair cut. He's still outdone by Dave, though, who wears a cravat and frilly shirt sleeves! The audience get mightily close to the band in time for the psychedelic finale!
27) Beat Club #3 (German TV 'Death Of A Clown' - Dave Davies October 1967)
According to his autobiography 'Kink' Dave was really struggling the week of this performance - he's struck out on his own without the rest of the band, in a foreign land and spent most of the time drunk and the rest of it depressed. How he manages to seem so bright and cheerful in this promo though I'll never know, even if the guitarist has trouble remembering all the words to mime! Some funky 60s camerawork has a big black Dave in the background singing to a small white Dave in the foreground!
28) Top Of The Pops (?) ('Susannah's Still Alive' - Dave Davies December 1967)
Officially this poor quality video doesn't exist in the archives, but this is the only show Dave played one of his best solo songs on, according to Doug Hinman, so I'm not going to argue! It's clearly been through the wars this clip, which comes with dirty great lines across it and speeds up and slows down, suggesting the master tape has been damaged in some way (was it discovered on the end of something else?) How great, though, to see Dave in his prime and the only filmed performance of him singing this song from the 'right' decade, resplendent in leather jacket and posh new hairdo!
29) Top Of The Pops #3 (UK TV 'Wonderboy' April 1968)
It seem to be a quirk of fate that the Kinks TOTP performances that have survived are more likely to be the one-offs for songs that never charted for more than a week, rather than the umpteen performances of 'You Really Got Me' et sequence. This clip seems to have only survived after being 'borrowed' for a British Pathe newsreel - though why the powers that be chose this song, the most obscure Kinks single of the 1960s, I'll never know. Still, I've always had a soft spot for what proved to be John Lennon's favourite Kinks song (he requested it over and over on radio shows in the period) and the band give an energetic if still mimed performance. Not sure about the set though (the band play in front of a ladder - were the set dressers on strike?) or the sudden cut-aways to British seasides in the middle. Still, it's the real McCoy, every single day...
30) Starstruck (Music Video 1968)
A rare music video as opposed to a mimed performance, this video sees The Kinks let loose round a park, including a field that looks as if it might be the one seen on the cover of 'Village Green'. The band make no attempt to fit in with the lyrics of the song. The clip can be found on the 'Essential Collection' video, although good luck trying to track it down on DVD!
31) Beat Club #4 (?) (German TV 'Plastic Man' April 1969)
Here's an oddity - I swear I've seen this clip come round more times on 'VH1' and 60s clips shows than most and yet Doug Hinman lists this clip as originally being 'unaired'. Well, that's 'Plastic Man' for you - neither one thing nor the other! The band mime this one in front of a giant 'Beat Club' sign just to make sure that we know what show they're on! That's new bassist John Dalton replacing Pete Quaife, who'll be along for the ride until 1977.
32) Pop Go The Sixties (UK TV 'Days' December 1969)
Ditto this clip, which used to be very rarely seen until the advent of BBC4 who love using this 'last show of the 1960s' as a filler. By 1969 The Kinks have slipped out of favour and are near the bottom of the bill but they come out of this show better than all the other acts who are simply here to have a party and plug their new song. Trust The Kinks to see out the decade with a song of nostalgia and dread of the future, as they offer a very prescient goodbye to the decade that made them.
33) Apeman (Music Video 1970)
Perhaps The Kinks' most famous music video from 'phase one' of their career, this clip sees the introduction of another new member in keyboard player John Gosling. As his initiation poor John is persuaded to wear a gorilla suit and follow the band as they lark about in a wood - Ray even hurling himself into Gosling's arms at one point! Along the way The Kinks climb trees, smoke cigars and do a lot of dancing. Poor John must have wondered whether he'd made the right move joining this band of nutters...
34) Top Of The Pops #4 (UK TV 'Lola' June 1970)
At last, here's the start of the 'colour' years - far later through this article than most AAA bands! 'Lola' is another much-repeated clip that features the band in a particularly happy mood - well everyone except Mick, as per normal! Though not technically a 'live' performance the mix of this song sounds a little different to the finished single, with much more emphasis on the Chuck Berry style guitarwork. This clip can be found on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC'
35) The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Piano Player (UK TV Ray Davies Acts! October 1970)
It's a measure of just how high Ray Davies' standing was in the literary world that he was chosen to launch a new series for BBC2 titled 'Play For Today' (one which would run for an impressive fourteen years). The series was the brainchild of Irene Shubik, who'd been responsible for the superb sci-fi anthology series 'Out Of The Unknown', with this episode written especially for Ray by Scottish playwright Alan Sharp. Though shot in colour only a black and white copy of this TV play from the long running BBC 2 series exists (so many of the plays were lost completely by the BBC's wiping policy of the 1970s; this one probably only survived at all because it was the 'first'). Ironically this is one of those moody films that probably suits monochrome better anyway, full of brooding thoughts and inner turmoil. There isn't much of a plot but what there is reads like a Kinks koncept album: a musician whose recently got marries is pushed past his breaking point at a local pub where his manager has got him a gig beating the world record for longest continual piano performance: four days and nights! However wife and manager don't get on and pianist Pete (played by Ray) first breaks down and turns on his wife (revealing that the pair never really loved each other) and then his manager (angry at being used). That sense of dymanic between a professional need to perform and push himself and a family life would have really appeared to Ray in this period, near the end of his first marriage (wife Rasa will leave him in 1973 almost quoting the wife's lines in this play about Ray spending too much time working when he didn't need to be verbatim) and the 1974 Kinks album 'A Soap Opera' and especially the TV staging of it as 'Starmaker' owe a lot to this play.
By the end Pete has been up for three days and nights and in the play's most memorable scene simply pulls his hands away from the piano, unable to play on anymore. Ray plays the piano throughout, starting off with genuinely ebullient playing, with Davies dropping into shouted out requests at the drop of a hat, but as time wears on his playing becomes atonal and strange. Ray isn't the best actor in the world, but despite having the most screen time Ray doesn't have many lines and the part calls for a sort of shy surliness that's quite a part of Ray's natural character anyway, so he copes well with the new experience. Ray even writes two songs for the project: the world weary 'Marathan' ('Life is like a marathon, goes on and on and on') which sounds like an outtake from 'Lola v Powerman' and an early simplified piano version of 'I Gotta Be Free' which will appear on that very album (released shortly after the play was screened) and is played over the end credits to the accompaniment of a fox, the 'metaphor; for freedom that Pete longs for throughout the play. Critics at the time were unkind (one review read 'Piano play hits a low note'!) and Ray was so unsure about his performance that he deliberately kept quiet about when it was on to his friends and family so that most of them missed it; he also booked and extra long session at Konk studios that night so none of his bandmates would see it! However Ray shouldn't feel any shame - it's a more than competent first performance (it's certainly way better than Sting or Phil Collins' acting jobs!) and while the script has a weak ending (there's none of the explosive them-or-me fight between wife and manager as expected) and not enough action, it raises some very interesting philosophical questions of which Ray would no doubt have approved. This play is certainly more important than many fans realise it to be and really lays a foundation for the 1970s storytelling Kinks albums to come. It may also be significant that The Kinks suddenly hire their first new keyboard player John Gosling in this era, perhaps because Ray has suddenly realised what a hard job playing the piano is. Talking of which...
36) Top Of The Pops #5 (UK TV 'Apeman' December 1970)
Poor John Gosling - the band are at it again, persuading him to dress up in his gorilla suit one last time, with this performance looking like a musical version of 'Planet Of The Apes'! This is the 'crossover' period when union rows led to most artists appearing on Top Of The Pops being asked to play live and is the first non-mimed clip in this list for, ooh, ages. Poor Ray - it would be this tongue-twisting song he gets lumbered with singing live! The band slow the song down slightly to make it easier to fit all the words in, while there are some extra sound effects of whopping birds during the middle eight. can be found on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC'
37) Old Grey Whistle Test #1 (UK TV 'Have A Cuppa Tea' 'Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues' January 1972)
Zooming on a bit, we're in the RCA years now with a quick plug for the 'Muswell Hillbillies' album on what's proving to be the BBC's serious younger brother to the all-singing all-dancing Top Of The Pops. In the off season Dave's grown a beard and The Kinks have grown horns - well added a horn section at any rate. Both songs are played live and rather tentatively too with the band still clearly getting used to the new material even though much of it will be the backbone of their setlists for much of the decade to come. Ray nearly forgets the words to the oh so English performance of 'Cuppa Tea' and the band are a tad sluggish on 'Acute Schizophrenia' but both are still strong performances. 'Cuppa Tea' only can be found on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC'
38) Beat Club #5 (German TV 'Lola' 'Holiday' 'Alcohol' 'Skin and Bone' 'Muswell Hillbilly' 'You're Lookin' Fine' 'You Really Got Me-All Day And All Of The Night' Filmed May 1972, but only broadcast complete in 1981)
A rare return to Germany and what used to be one of The Kinks' most regular programmes reveals how much has changed since the band were last there in 1966. Everything is now in colour - and not just any old colours but bright day-glo primal colours, with the whole band in bright orange shirts (given that The Kinks stopped colpur-coordinating their wardrobes somewhere around 1966, it's probable the director asked them to wear this shade to better stand out against the blue background). The bluesceen is here because, well because the director has gone all 'hip' to be honest and this backing allows him to project all sorts of random images and close-ups (all of which are most distracting, though not as bad as what happened to The Byrds on this same show this same year). That's a shame because, audibly, this is one of The Kinks' best shows, with a notably looser, bluesier 'Lola', a raucous 'Alcohol' complete with props that sounds more like Noel Coward than normal, Ray stripping off to 'Skin and Bone', a mad screaming 'You're Lookin' Fine' and a rather ragged 'Muswell Hillbillies'. Oddly this last song is the only one aired at the time of filming - the rest of this rather good show had to wait until 1982, which is a waste! Sadly this show isn't available officially anywhere yet, despite the fact that most 'Beat Club' and variations by many bands are (this would have made a fine second half to the 'Beat Beat Beat' DVD!)
39) The Kinks At The Rainbow (UK Concert ''Till The End Of The Day' 'Waterloo Sunset' 'Sunny Afternoon' 'Top Of The Pops' 'Money-Go-Round' 'Sunny Afternoon' 'The Ballad Of The Virgin Soldiers' 'Mr Wonderful' 'She's Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina' 'Alcohol' 'Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues' 'You Really Got Me' July 1972)
This concert - filmed in January 1972 but kept in the vaults for a full six months until first broadcast - is a bit of an odd, arty affair all round. Many of these 'performances' are the band miming to the records, but in a variety of wild and wacky backgrounds and with a number of wild camera angles going on ('Money-Go-Round' in particular looks like an outtake from 'Percy' as made by a bunch of hippie college students). The show is interesting in parts, though, mainly because of the deeply unusual track listing featuring many forgotten songs from the band's late 1960s albums and a one-off Kinks performance of some Ray Davies incidental music written for a flop 1969 film. Plus the interviews - believe it or not this is the earliest existing filmed interview with Ray that exists (plenty more on radio though!) The setting too is somehow very suitable - it's a run-down Edwardian Music Hall Theatre, which might explain why Ray is acting more like his hero Max Wall than ever! ('Preservation' and 'Mr Flash' are only a year away, remember!)The complete concert can be found on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC', but it's a bit of an oddball concert this and not one of the band's very best.
40) In Concert (UK TV 'Victoria' 'Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues' 'A Dedicated Follower Of Fashion' 'Lola' 'Holiday' 'Good Golly Miss Molly' 'You Really Got Me-All Day And All Of The Night' 'Waterloo Sunset' 'The Village Green Preservation Society' March 1973)
Regular readers will know by now of BBC2's 'In Concert' series which featured several AAA stars performing a half hour set in a studio environment in front of a small audience. BBC4 have even started re-broadcasting a lot of these over the past decade and often with the unedited master tapes of each show before they were cut down to length. Alas The Kinks' show is not one of the best. Ray was having a terrible year in 1973 - he'll actually disband The Kinks briefly in July although few fans actually hear his dramatic 'I quit!' message on stage as music is played over the speaker system and drowns him out. Ray has just split up with his wife of ten years Rasa and is in terrible shape according to everything written since; though he's trying his hardest he looks pale and ill and spends most of the show with his eyes closed, getting through just on will power and barely touching his guitar. Dave and John spend most of the set whispering to each other behind him, as if worried about how their bandmate and brother is coping. That's a shame because in terms of track listing this is a good set with the long awaited return of 'Village Green Preservation Society' to the track listing in preparation of the first version of what will become the 'Preservation' tour later in the year. Dave also has a new feature song in the set, a revved up version of 'Good Golly Miss Molly' that takes the band right back to their roots. Note too the first time The Kinks use a choir - Ray will be back for more with his Khoral Kollektion some thirty-five years later - and don't we wish he hadn't? - though to be fair the choir is far less obtrusive here. The whole set can be found on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC'
41) Midnight Special (US TV 'You Really Got Me' 'Money Talks' 'Here Comes Yet Another Day' 'Celluloid Heroes' 'Skin and Bone' June 1974)
The Kinks are back in America after a nine year gap! Only, typically, The Kinks' big Komeback is hit by yet another union strike - though not one of the band's own making this time. The American Federation of Musicians happened to choose the band's planned recording date to strike on behalf of three American networks. Figuring that they can only get banned again The Kinks plough on regardless and the hoo-hah over this concert will continue for several months. As for the show itself, it's a bit of an odd one. Most of the camerawork is shot from a distance, from the point of view of the crowd and The Kinks seem a little unsure of themselves after so long away (although they clearly have a vocal fanbase in the audience!) Kicking off almost where they left off with 'You Really Got Me', the rest of the set then carries on with the band's normal 1974 set, a mixture of 'Preservation' and the last remnants of 'Muswell Hillbillies' although notably there's nothing from the forthcoming 'Starmaker'.
42) Starmaker (UK TV Special 'Everybody's A Star (Starmaker)' 'Ordinary People' 'Rush Hour Blues' 'Nine To Five' 'When Work Is Over' 'Have Another Drink' 'You Make It All Worthwhile' 'A face In The Crowd' 'You Can't Stop The Music' September 1974)
This rarely seen dramatisation of the 'Soap Opera' LP was only shown once very late at night and never repeated, which is a true Kinks Kalamity. You see, I've always had a soft spot for this daft LP, where Ray starts off as The Starmaker celebrity who wants to experience normal life for a change and slowly morphs into Norman as his wife (played by June Ritchie) tries to tell him he's been a nobody all along. The album loses out with fans though given its camp theatricality and the bizarre genre experiments on side two that interefere with the plot. Neither matter in this TV version, which loses the weaker songs like 'Underneath The Neon Song' 'Holiday Romance' and 'Ducks On The Wall' and adds a whole lot more character and plot via the dialogue. Ray is magnificent, performing the whole half hour show in one go without any re-takes, as if it were a play on stage and only makes one mistake ('don't rush me baby while I'm reading my - the news') and the setting is inventive, clearly low budget but with a table that doubles as all sorts of things and swings round while Ray works tirelessly 9-5. June Ricthie excels as normal Norman's wife and Ray's dialogue for the pair is far less cringe-worthy than on the LP, with some devestating moments at the end as Ray plays back the tapes of his earlier recordings and realises that he's been deluding himself all this time. Ray's gradual deflation from egotistical genius to a sad and trapped middle aged man is done oh so subtly and the piece ends powerfully with Ray as Norman accepting himself as 'just a face in the crowd' as he even goes to sit amongst his own audience to watch Dave close out the show with 'You Can't Stop The Music'. Simply fabulous - this was our #1 pick on our 'greatest ever AAA youtube exclusives' column four years ago for a reason - this is Klassik Kinks and desperately deserves an official release after so much work and effort put into it (perhaps with 'The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Piano Player'?!)
43) Supersonic (UK TV 'No More Looking Back' 'You Really Got Me' 'All Day And All Of The Night' March 1976)
An, erm, active show with The Kinks performing on a children's TV show for ITV. In a repeat of the early sixties, The Kinks perform on giant white pillars (Ray is on the ground again though) surrounded by smoke and horn players. The hits medley of just two songs will grow in the years to come and doesn't quite work here, mainly because it's a Big Sky-given fact that 'You Really Got Me' should be played through a dirty distorted amplifier and not with horns. However this is a lovely performance of 'No More Looking Back', one of the band's loveliest songs and the only place you can see the band sing what was then their latest single so I'll let it pass. All three songs can be found on what we're calling the 'semi-legal trilogy' variously titled 'The Lost Broadcasts' 'In Performance' and 'Kinks EP' and the soundtrack was 'borrowed' for the equally dodgy 'Lost Airwaves' CD last seen in Poundland.
44) The Mike Douglas Show (US TV 'Sleepwalker' 'Celluloid Heroes' February 1977)
Returning to the States, The Kinks pick up nearly where they left off, with a lively but mimed performances of 'Sleepwalker' and a lovely live version of 'Celluloid Heroes', two of the band's biggest Klassik Kinks songs of the decade. Ray has great fun playing up to the camera and even sings in German at one point ('She vanted to be alone...'), but poor Dave looks dazed, while other things to look out for are the set lighting changing from red to blue in between songs. The blonde band member you might not recognise is Andy Pyle, who was the Kinks' bassist in 1976 through to 1978 in between John Dalton and Jim Rodford. Both tracks can be found on the 'semi-legal trilogy' (see above)
45) Saturday Night Live (US TV 'You Really Got Me-All Day And All Of The Night-A Well Respected Man-Lola/Sleepwalker' February 1977)
The Kinks' performance on the famous US comedy series isn't one of their most rewarding moments. The band perform against a set that looks like an American alley and is notable mainly for the fact that Ray and Dave share the camera limelight for much of the performance, with their microphones set unusually close together. For my money the 'hits' medley never quite worked - the sudden jolt from hard rock into music hall for 'Well Respected Man' seems particularly wrong. 'Sleepwalker' is better, although there are better performances of it around. Steve Martin was guest host that week although he doesn't interact with the band at all and sadly the band don't get to play a part in any of the skit like fellow AAA artists Brian Wilson and Paul Simon did (this is only series two - episode 38 to be exact - so perhaps the formula hasn't settled down yet?)
46) Old Grey Whistle Test #2 (UK TV 'All Day And All Of The Night' 'Sleepwalker' 'Life Goes On' 'Stormy Sky' 'Celluloid Heroes' 'Muswell Hillbilly' 'Full Moon' 'Life On The Road' 'Juke Box Music' April 1977)
Another of my favourite Kinks sets, this return to the Old Grey Whistle Test sees the band take the show over for the entire 45 minutes! The band are on great form even though there's clearly something on Ray's mind as he sings some very emotional versions of the songs from 'Sleepwalker' during this 'premiere' - and not just the poppier songs as per usual. Ray sings the opening song with an OGWT badge stuck to his forehead, before turning all serious for 'Life Goes On' ('it's about a man who tries to commit suicide and fails...a nice happy sort of song!') It's a mesmerising version of this rare track, which is treated by the band as more of a bluesy confessional than a pop song and Ray's hollered vocal even beats the record for emotional power and commitment. As with so many of the 1977 performances the songs from 'Sleepwalker' sound a lot better live and have much more life to them without the endless re-takes and glossy production draining them of all feeling. There are only three 'oldies' performed tonight but even they sound good, with 'All Day' harder than normal, 'Muswell Hillbilly' tighter than normal and 'Celluloid Heroes' even more beautiful than normal. The entire show can be found complete on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC' and very welcome it is too!
47) A Kinks Kristmas Koncert aka Live At The Rainbow (UK TV Live Concert 'Juke Box Music' 'Life On The Road' 'A Well Respected Man-Death Of A Clown-Sunny Afternoon-Waterloo Sunset' 'All Day And All Of The Night' 'Slum Kids' 'Celluloid Heroes' 'Get Back In The Line' 'The Hard Way' Lola' 'Alcohol' 'Skin And Bone' Father Christmas' 'You Really Got Me' December 1977)
'This is another phase The Kinks went through!' An absolutely Kracking Kristmas Koncert, The Kinks celebrated the end of 1977 in style with a multicast that was transmitted live on BBC2 and Radio 1. This show has rightly become quite famous since first broadcast. much bootlegged and recently much repeated too (UK readers should keep their eyes peeled for BBC6's 'Live Music Hour' - so far we've had three different 20 minute edits and a full hour). Alas The Kinks must have been uncharacteristically early as all copies of the TV fade up during the middle of 'Rock and Roll Music'. Whistling Bob Harris and Alan Freeman are the presenters, introduced by Ray as 'Father Christmas' - he even manages to throw a custard pie in Bob's face as he leaves! The member you might not recognise is guest percussionist Ray Cooper and the band also have a troupe of backing singers on stage (although they don't really get much to do until 'Skin and Bone' when they do their daily exercises along with Ray!) The Kinks put on a great show with a much more varied set than normal with several unusual songs they rarely played from all eras of their illustrious past. The new 'Sleepwalker' songs sounding particularly good in concert, with the power that the over-recorded versions on the album were lacking. However the set highlights are a new slowed-down and gospel-tinged version of Ray's pre-Kinks unemployment woes on 'Get Back In The Line' and a gorgeous reading of 'Celluloid Heroes' that may well be the best in 40 years' worth of performances of this beautiful song. There's also a rare performance of new single 'Father Christmas' with Ray dressed in his own Santa suit and throwing out toys to the front row of the crowd. This is pretty much a last hurrah for this era of the band, with John Gosling seeing out his years with the band by wearing another daft costume - a Pope's hat - with bassist Andy Pyle leaving too after this and the horn section being put back in the Kinks Kupboard after this. Highly recommended, in every version. The visuals of the show can be found complete on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC'.
48) Rock and Roll Fantasy/Lola ('Hotel' Shoot 1978)
'You might be through, but I've just begun!' I can't trace where this footage comes from and presumably it was never broadcast because it's not mentioned in Doug Hinman's book. However we're committed to everything that moves for this article and so it's here: a funky rehearsal of two songs in a hotel with the 1978 Kinks line-up (The one you might not recognise is short-term keyboardist Gordon Edwards) Ray stands against a wall, shades on, his leg propped up on a chair as he takes the band through one of his newest songs which is sounding rather good in this unplugged guitars-and-bass reading. Mick arrives in time for a jokey version of Lola and as he can't find his bongos to jam along with Ray takes his hand for a quick dance! Ray then carries on but seems to forget where he is and asks for 'everyone' to clap - and then realises there's only four musicians and a cameraman in the room with him! A delightful clip.
49) On Site (UK TV 'Live Life' possibly 'Misfits' 'Waterloo Sunset' Lola'July 1978)
There's a run of 1978 material that isn't listed by Doug Hinman either and the band didn't do much TV, so I've taken the random guess that they all belong here lumped in with 'Live Life' we know was performed this day (these tracks have to be 1978 because Gordon Edwards is in the band and had gone by 1979!) 'Live Life' is a frenetic live version of a frenetic song with new boy Jim Rodford (once of Argent) a mite gruff on the backing vocals, but the others are prettier and amongst the best Kinks performances of the decade. The rarely played 'Misfits' sounds great live, with a moody long fade from black over the opening, 'Waterloo Sunset' with just Ray singing along to Gordon's piano and falsetto harmonies is the definitive post-1966 reading of the song, so beautiful and understated, whilst an acoustic 'Lola' works surprisingly well too. It's a real shame that Edwards wasn't a Kink for longer as his floral, more classical style really suits Ray's style - alas he was let go for his unpunctuality and when even The Kinks are telling you off for being late/missing you know you've got a problem! (Ray was two hours late the only time I've seen him live and even then he nipped off stage after one song for a ten minute wardrobe change!) All of these songs can be found on the 'semi-legal trilogy' - another clue that they might all 'belong' to the same show(see entry 42!)
50) Plettenkeuche ('Father Christmas' filmed November 1977 but not broadcast till November 1978!)
The Kinks plus special guest Santa Claus on drums perform their only Christmas song in a particularly festive looking Konk studios complete with tinsel, snow and cutaway shops to presents with 'The Kinks' logo branded on them. Though mimed, The Kinks put their all into this performance which was filmed simply in their own studio in an effort to promote the song on release in 1977, but The Kinks being The Kinks they left it too late and nobody got to see the film until Christmas 1978. Germany saw the first broadcast, just beating UK children's TV programme 'Saturday Bonanza' even though it's anti-Christmas poverty setting and a gang beating up Father Christmas isn't really kiddie fare.
51) Predictable (Music Video 1981)
After playing around with filming full albums for a while, The Kinks finally got back to making music videos in this era. 'Predictable' is probably their best and certainly their funniest with Ray playing three versions of his hapless unlucky narrator across the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Ray is hilarious in all three as he goes from a sleepy teddy boy viewing 'Watch With Mother', to a spaced out hippy watching the boat race, a long haired 70s fashion icon and a streamlined trendy 80s man with a then-modern TV set watching The Jam, his surroundings changing along with him! None of the other Kinks can be seen on the video at all. This classic video was directed by Julian Temple long before anyone knew who he was (basically if you've seen a rock and roll film of the past thirty years it was probably directed by him!) and can be found on the video/DVD 'Come Dancing'.
52) Rockapalast (German TV Full Concert 'Around The Dial' 'The Hard Way' 'Where Have All The Good Times Gone?' 'Catch Me Now I'm Falling' 'Come On Now' 'Destroyer' 'Yo-Yo' 'Lola' 'Dead End Street' 'Add It Up' 'Low Budget' 'Art Lover' 'Back To Front' 'Till The End Of The Day' 'Bernadette' 'All Day And All Of The Night' 'Give The People What They Want' 'Pressure' 'Stop Your Sobbing' 'David Watts' April 1982)
Yet another AAA entry for the German concert series Rockapalast who featured practically everyone on stage at one point between the late 1970s and late 1980s. The brilliance of the series was that the audience effectively got to 'be' in the concert, with no interruptions, no ad breaks, no station IDs and everything happening in real time - whether it was flattering or not. Thankfully The Kinks' performance is one of the better ones out there and the band are on slick form in this period with a settled line-up and a growing audience that meant they were playing bigger venues around the world. The Kinks were plugging 'Give The People What They Want' at the time and there are several excellent performances of songs from that album here along with highlights from 'Low Budget' and the pair of recent Kink Kovers that were riding high in the charts - The Jams' 'David Watts' and The Pretenders' 'Stop Your Sobbing'. A little too polished for fans of the anarchic 60s Kinks perhaps but this is a tight band on a good night.
53) Pebble Mill At One (UK TV Ray Davies Only 'A Well Respected Man' 'Celluloid Heroes' plus old footage of 'You Really Got Me' and 'Come Dancing' December 1982)
Pebble Mill was effectively 'The One Show' back when the BBC knew how to do proper links on their magazine programmes - well some of the time - but held in Birmingham, not Cardiff. Paul Gambaccini was a semi-regular presenter who did a lot of the interviewing of musical guests back then and looks impossibly young - then again, so does Ray. It's a welcome rare chance to see an interview with Ray, inter-spliced with the usual footage from yesteryear. In typical form Ray admits to feeling rotten today (the short term) but great in general (the long term) and is still hungry to make more music. He reluctantly discusses two of his fan favourite tracks and sings bursts of both with an acoustic guitar handed to him by 'an armless person'. Ray makes an interesting comment that he was driven to change his style out of 'fear' and discusses the lessening Kinks sales as his concept got bigger and bigger. Ray adds that he's an introvert ('to be a writer you have to be kind of sensitive, I guess') and says again that the reason he keeps going is 'fear' and his belief that he's 'still learning'. Ray's clearly uncomfortable (has he got a hangover - he mentions a 'late night last night!') and really glares at the very end of the programme when he doesn't seem to realise the camera's on him (also making the 'cut' sign!)
54) Wonderworld (Australian TV Ray Davies Interview ?/1982)
Ray (or is it Ian?) is in much happier mood for this old AAA favourite, which also scored highly in our AAA youtube chart. Ray is in Australia being interviewed by two curious presenters and deadpans his way through the whole show - even when getting hit in the face with a cream pie! Ray asks 'for time to think' about most of the questions (spoofing his 'deep' personality!) and then asks to 'come back next week'. He then faces the camera and tells us that 'Australia has ruined my career...I had a really promising career before I came here, but now...'. When asked about 'Lola' he almost sobs 'I've got so many problems, man, please don't ask me that question! I want to forget' and adds after being cream-pied 'You haven't got enough money to do that have you?' It's a whole new side of Ray and a whole lot of fun!
55) Come Dancing (Music Video 1983)
Perhaps the most famous Kinks video is 'Come Dancing', which returned The Kinks to the charts and spawned a whole host of sequels. Ray plays the role of his brother-in-law desperately trying to date someone playing his 'sister' as he takes her out on a date at the ballroom - no its not Eastenders, despite how that lone made it sound. A young lad plays the younger Ray spying on his sister 'kissing by the garden gate' while the other Kinks look resplendent decked out like a 1940s jazz band with slicked back hair! The video was just inventive and yet just enough like other clips around in 1983 to do really well on MTV and is full of clever touches, such as the younger Ray air-guitar-ing along with Dave's solo. Naturally enough, the video can be found on the video/DVD 'Come Dancing'.
56) Top Of The Pops #6 (UK TV 'Come Dancing' 1983)
The Kinks hadn't appeared on Top Of The Pops since 1971 but with 'Come Dancing' riding high in the charts the band were invited back to their old haunt. An oddly dapper Ray performs the song with a real smile on his face, as if overwhelmed at being back in a building he used to know so well. The performance is a mimed one but who cares - the band are having fun! Look out for the horn section reading papers through most of the song until they're needed at the finale! The clip can be found on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC'
57) Don't Forget To Dance (Music Video 1983)
A lovely video for a lovely song, 'Don't Forget To Dance' is the more dramatic, tragic rendering of the 'Come Dancing' video. Ray is back as his Spiv brother-in-law and there's another dance back on at the pally, but Ray's alone and wistful. Throughout the video he chances his luck with a cup of tea offered to a pretty lady (of course!) but is rebuffed. Only when he turns to a lonely receptionist does he gets the dance he craves - oh and The Kinks happen to be playing there that night too, so that's lucky! (They even wear their red hunting jackets for the first time in years near the end of the video!) This clip can also be found on the video/DVD 'Come Dancing'
58) State Of Confusion (Music Video 1983)
This video of the title track from the band's 1983 album is more like ';Predictable', Ray playing another hapless failure who gets everything wrong. The band are inside Konk studio filming but Ray - sporting his longest hairdo yet - keeps getting the words wrong. Sent home, he creates havoc in his home shaving, spilling his breakfast and trying to fix his video. He even has problems finding an empty telephone box (ah the pre-mobile days!) and crossing the road and nearly gets knocked down several times. Eventually a solution is found, at work at least as two assistants hold up giant 'idiot boards' for him! Guess what? This video can also be found on the video/DVD 'Come Dancing'
59) Do It Again (Music Video 1984)
A really sweet video, this clip only features Ray and Mick for the most part in Mick's last promotional appearance with the band. The pair are buskers, dressed in rags and hanging out round Waterloo subway (see 'Return To Waterloo') trying to beg some money off people. They get nothing, so Mick shrugs his shoulders and walks off into the distance - a moving moment for fans of the drummer celebrating his 20th and final year with the band. Ray then goes on to cause havoc down the tube, ending up down a 'ghost train', while Dave fulfils a childhood dream of driving the train! The 'Come Dancing' character is back during a weird section where he walks down a dark and scary subway where commuters dance interspersed with clips of this line-up of The Kinks giving one last performance together with Ray sporting a comic 'new nose' and everyone in costume (Dave, naturally, has a the 'clown' suit - he'll wear it again in 1989!) It's another clever video and very fitting given the music. This video too can be found on the video/DVD 'Come Dancing' where it even comes with an extra 'loop' of the 'back where you started' section not heard on the record!
60) Lost and Found (Music Video 1986)
A slightly more mediocre video this time, with the band performing on stage with a conductor keeping them together as they try to perform to a film backdrop. A cellist turns up late for the gig and we seem to get flashbacks of why she's late. Much more interesting though is the film on screen which features the band in a variety of Edwardian dress. In a typical Kinks twist the Ray on screen falls with the cellist from a century later and the lines between fantasy and reality blur as she walks into the film. This clip is sadly not available on anything to date - we really need a second volume of 'Come Dancing' with all the later promos included!
61) How Are You? (Music Video 1986)
This rarely seen video has Ray taking a nostalgic return to an old house and less believably his old pet dog. Inside he has an emotional reunion with an old flame, plays his old piano and even records with his 'old' band - minus Dave for some reason. Alas the video isn't quite as clever as some of the band's other ideas.
62) Countdown (Dutch TV 'How Are You?' December 1986)
'It's been a while' grins Ray at the start of this clip and he's right - this appears to be The Kinks' first surviving TV performance as opposed to video for three years. The whole band look noticeably older all of a sudden, although Ray is on good form for this mimed performance and even returns to the 'Elvis leg shakes' he used to do in the 1960s!
63) Rock and Roll Cities (Music Video 1986)
For the first time in this list since 1967 this is a Dave Davies song and it's a very elaborate one, starting off with beeped alien signals and a radio message informing us that 'lead singer Ray Davies has disappeared - not even Dave knows where he is!' Dave holds an interview to replace his brother - a bit of wishful thinking there ho ho ho! In the mean time Dave uses his very 80s mobile phone to organise everything while an actress plays his exasperated wife and a whole crowd of extras play his wordy kids - no wonder he wants to get back on the road! The auditions don't go well and it's almost with relief (at least I think that's what Dave is meant to be expressing!) when the real Ray Davies walks in at the end!
64) The Last Resort (UK TV Ray Davies Only 'Come Dancing' 'Lola' January 1987)
Ah so that's where Ray was - playing some oldies on acoustic on an obscure British TV programme hosted by Jonathan Ross! We've included this on the list because it's the first time that Ray has performed outside the band rather than just talked and its the first time we get to hear what will become regular 'unplugged' versions of Klassik Kinks tracks.
65) Vier Gegen Willi (German TV 'Lost and Found' 'Think Visual' April 1987)
A rare German TV appearance finds the band playing live for the first time in ages. 'Lost and Found' is a lovely, overlooked song about an oncoming storm making a couple about to split up re-think what the other means to them is well handled with Dave getting a nice solo. Surprisingly, the noisy and usually irritating 'Think Visual' is better yet with Ray making a good stab at the patter song lyrics and the band right on the money for the song's speedy twists and turns. The performance of 'Lost and Found' is the last here that can be found on the 'semi-legal trilogy' (see entry 42!) although 'Think Visual' isn't officially available anywhere.
66) The Road (Music Video 1988)
Another lovely video, 'The Road' was a rare autobiographical Kinks song and merges old and new footage of the band with shots of a motorway as seen from the back of a van. Clips from 'Beat Room' and the promo from 'Starstruck' are among those featured, possibly alongside some clips from the unseen 'Everybody's In Showbiz' concert film. There's some rare footage of Ray having his picture taken from the front of 'Sleepwalker' too! All in all a lovely reflective video, which merges from the studio version to the live performance viewed in the film for the noisy finale.
67) How Do I Get Close? (Music Video 1988)
After a couple of relatively sane videos he's another bonkers arty one for this single from 'UK Jive'. Ray is a waiter in a world of dummies (is this a comment on his bandmates?) before they suddenly come to life as fit young girls (ie like every other music video filmed in 1989!) Suddenly we're outside and The Kinks are performing in the middle of a giant crowd who are also walking stiffly like mannequins (check out Dave's face paint that makes him look like a 'clown' again!) and the promo ends with Ray throwing each of the dummies into the lake from a diving board. Man, what was that all about? Even for a Pink Floyd fan this video is weird.
68) Down All The Days (Till 1992) (Music Video 1988)
This is video is a little bit more normal - if you count framed photographs suddenly bursting into life as 'normal' anyway! Ray is a happy, ordinary dad who looks not unlike his Spiv character again and seems to be enjoying himself at the party we flashback to as well. Quite what all this has to do with a planned referendum on Europe (the real inspiration of the song) and Britain's attempts to be more than isolationists I'm not quite sure! So far ok, but then the song has Ray doing slapstick mime as he's pursued by dolls dressed from each of the countries he mentions - seriously? The Shakespeare of the 1960s has been reduced to this?!
69) Scattered (Music Video 1993)
Another video and what do you see? The road, again, this time with a car driving past a scarecrow. Unusually Dave is in the driving seat (literally - both Davies brothers are 'drivin') while Ray sings but what's almost as odd is the amount of scarecrows out there in the fields and passers-by scattering corn. Suddenly we're at a funeral with ashes being scattered and then next we're back in the field with Ray singing to a scarecrow as the rest of the band look on, bemused (and clearly cold). Along the way get flashbacks galore of the Irish pair at the heart of the story (he's burying her) and an Irish wake afterwards. In case you hadn't guessed, Ray had been spending a lot of time in Ireland in this period, recuperating at a hospital there after falling ill in 1988.
70) Taratara (French TV 'Only A Dream' 'Sunny Afternoon' 'You Really Got Me' June 1993)
An odd, moody, black and white performance on a TV station based in Paris, Ray never takes his shades off throughout and doesn't look well at all; even the rest of the band don't communicate with the crowd much. The performance is still interesting for a rare live performance of one of the better tracks from 'Phobia' however.
71) The Late Show (UK TV 'Scattered' 'Days' March 1993)
Performed for a Scottish audience, this is The Kinks still vainly plugging 'Phobia' and seemingly getting a bit fed up by now. The pairing of the nostalgic 'Scattered' and 'Days' make for a nice bit of continuity though and Dave adds lots of backing harmonies to the former that sound much nicer than the simpler lines on the record. There's a nice glance between the brothers at the two minute mark too, about the only sign of affection across this list! Both clips can be found on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC'
72) The Tonight Show (US TV 'Hatred (A Duet)' 'Celluloid Heroes' May 1993)
'You knows the English sure love to dress up!' Another outing for just the brothers (and guest band), this performance is most fascinating to watch for how the brothers interact in both the song written about their love/hate relationship down the years and the revealing interview. Ray seems to be joking for his part, throwing sly glances to Dave and winking at him and us, while Dave seems quite genuinely mad and stares down at his guitar, sulking (right up until the part where they both point at each other!) The inevitable question comes soon after: 'Do you like each other?' 'Sometimes' says Dave, 'today we're getting on quite well' . What a shame it wasn't to last! Another gorgeous version of 'Celluloid Heroes' played on acoustic guitar for a change ends another great performance - the band were really getting good again in this era.
73) Later...With Jools Holland ('Over The Edge' 'The Informer' 'Till The End Of The Day' June 1993)
'No I've never seen a flying saucer - not while sober anyway!' An impossibly young looking Jools Holland has The Kinks on his show for the one and only time, although Ray has since been a regular and always seem to be appearing at his new year's hootenanys (there's no more depressing way to see the new year in than with Jools Holland interrupting one of your heroes for yet another countdown and some godawful Scottish highlanders!) The interview with Ray is revealing and he's in happier and more erudite form than usual in interviews, as he talks about how in 1993 people seem to be coming to term with their emotions more (hence the name 'Phobia') and that 'Over The Edge' about a psychopath was based on a real neighbour ('thankfully I've moved recently!') Ray is enthusiastic about current music (perhaps because so much in 1993 nicked stuff from The Kinks!) and equally enthusiastic about the old clip of 'Got Love' from 'The Beast Room' being shown. The running gag of the night is about ufos which is right up Dave's street - he even provides one of his own illustrations about the ones that appeared to him in 1983 to Jools' collection of drawings sent in by viewers, although he must have been chomping at the bit to talk about them instead of hearing his brother joke about them! The songs are good too, the band adding an inventive pause after the opening thrash of 'Till The End Of The Day', replicating the moody synth opening to 'Over The Edge' and a quite lovely folky version of 'The Informer'. Another excellent show! All of these can all be found on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC'.
74) To The Bone (Music Video 1994)
The last Kinks single - not that they knew it at the time - is another nostalgia fest which is highly in keeping with this song about the power of the music. Dave's wearing Ray's buskers uniform (or at least something like it) and playing with a masked bandit (who may or may not be his brother) outside, while inside a made up Ray watches himself on TV a la 'Predictable'. With a wig and moustache, he looks not unlike Christopher Eccleston playing John Lennon and he might be intended to be Ray's 'older' version of himself from 'X-Ray', angry at the devotion he used to have now that he lives alone and his possessions are being slowly taken away 'Sunny Afternoon' style. An inventive ending has the record being knocked during a marital argument and the track stopping and jumping before carrying on. In what might be a symbolic last gesture (or a typical Kinks red herring) masked bandit Ray walks off with all of Dave's instruments while he takes a last picture of his brother's ex moodily walking out the house presumably for his 'picture book'. One of the band's greatest videos, it's a shame this one wasn't better seen at the time - it sure knocked me to the bone.
75) Top Of The Pops #7 (UK TV 'You Really Got Me' September 1994)
Another fitting last hurrah came with the 20th anniversary re-release of 'You Really Got Me' which found The Kinks back on Top Of The Pops one final time. This late era of the flagship pop programme had the acts presenting and this week Ray was the main presenter promising a' programme that will knock you to the bone!' However instead of the band's last single the band do one last fiery version of their old warhorse with a real loud guitar part from Dave. Inventively but frustratingly, the entire clip is shot in black and white for an old timey effect before suddenly swirling into a full colour during the guitar solo. The band are clearly having great fun and Ray makes the most of his 'ohhhhh nnnnooooo!' scream during the middle. Ray even adds some extra lyrics that merge 'To The Bone' and 'X-Ray' : 'You're in my head, in my brain, in my skin, to the bone, never mind, it's ok, I'll sing it anyway, I've seen the X-Ray!' This wonderfully nostalgic can be found on the box set 'The Kinks At The BBC'
76) The Late Late Show (Ireland TV 'Waterloo Sunset' 'You Really Got Me' October 1994)
Performing without the rest of the band on 'Waterloo Sunset', this is a rare chance to see Ray and Dave acoustic as they remake two of their most enduring songs for an Irish audience to promote what will turn out to be their last album, the live record 'To The Bone'. The Kinks could perhaps have continued along like this quite happily had the old tensions between the brothers not arisen - Dave's glare as Ray rambles at the start about 'being proud to call all these songs hits' is priceless! This is one of the ropiest 'You Really Got Me's out there though, very flat and flimsy.
77) Children In Need (UK TV 'All Day And All Of The Night' November 1994)
The same year The Kinks turned up for the UK charity appeal which goes on four hours and hours and seem to come round far sooner than annually. Despite some very distracting flash lighting, the band soldier on for an energetic if rather raw performance of another old warhorse. Dave's solo is even more bonkers than usual
78) White Room (UK TV Ray Davies and Damon Albarn 'You Really Got Me' 'To The Bone' 'Waterloo Sunset' 'Parklife' March 1995)
'This makes me feel a thousand years old!' The baton of the old passes over to the new with Blur singer Damon Albarn getting to sit in as a special guest on a solo Ray Davies performance with some funky guitar playing from the pair and Pete Mathison. This acoustic version of 'You Really Got Me' is about the best 'unplugged' version around, while a jazzy acoustic 'To The Bone' is even better. Alas 'Waterloo Sunset' with Damon on half the vocals just sounds wrong wrong wrong, though Ray's half-jokey performance of 'Parklife' nails the song well. Ray's having fun, but I'm not sure about Albarn who looks deeply embarrassed throughout! Come on Ray stop wasting time with these no-hopers and go play with the Gallagher boys, they're much more your style!
79) Benefit For The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame (US TV 'All Day And All Of The Night' 'Lola' September 1995)
What a trip it's been, dear readers, from teenage wannabes performing Beatle songs in Liverpool to the last ever filmed Kinks performance thirty-one years later. The Kinks had actually been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 but had no 'official' place to visit. A museum was built to house the RaRHOF in Cleveland in 1995 and The Kinks were one of many bands to play a special concert to mark the occasion. The band perform a hard rocking 'All Day And All Of The Night' with Ray dressed in a union jack jacket while Dave solos away for hours. Then later Ray is having so much fun with the crowd it takes an age for him to stop messing around with 'The Banana Boat Song' and actually sing 'Lola', draped in a stars and stripes flag, while Dave turns in a great extended last solo. It's not the best Kinks performance, but it's a fitting one with two old friends sounding as strong as they ever did and with both brothers both giving their all in very different ways.
And that, finally, after writing all day and all of the night, is that. We're not done with The Kinks just yet though - join us for more with the first in a two-part rundown of live, solo and compilation albums next week!
Other Kinks articles from this site you might be interested in reading: