“Sunny Afternoon”, a Song with an Everlasting Story

This piece of music reflects how The Kinks rose from the bottom to the top, as well as all of the ups and downs that followed. It was recorded 51 years ago and released about 20 days later in the UK. The song found its place on the album Face to Face and was also the title song for the Kinks’ compilation album released a year later.

The song was written by Ray Davies. In his own words, he wrote it while he was sitting at home being ill. He said in an interview for the Rolling Stone that he made it very quickly during one of the most atmospheric sessions.

It was a struggling period for Ray. There were tensions in the band, and he had some private difficulties as well, so he expressed his feelings and attitudes through the music. Sometimes it’s the only way musicians can express themselves anyway.

There’s some sharp criticism of the society. “The tax man’s taken all my dough, and left me in this stately home, lazing on a sunny afternoon;  and I can’t sail my yacht, he’s taken everything I got, all I’ve got’s this sunny afternoon.” The lyrics referred to the high taxes the British Government had laid upon its citizens.

Another layer of the lyrics was related to the band’s problems and their rising fame, which was equally good and bad. As is always the case with fame, anyway. Laziness, luxury, ice-cold bear and the girl who ran away with his car. A true romantic idyll, don’t you think?

In the aforementioned interview for the Rolling Stone, Davies said he was not a person who was fond of a pleasant life above all else. He even accentuated it in the song.

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And that’s the way it should be. Maybe we just have to learn how to enjoy the sunny afternoons. With your tunes, Ray!

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