Village Green Preservation Society (1968)
Song: "Wicked Annabella"
sound clip (Falkner version) |
sound clip (Kinks version)
1. The Village Green Preservation Society
2. Do You Remember Walter?
3. Picture Book
4. Johnny Thunder
5. Last Of The Steam-Powered Trains
6. Big Sky
7. Sitting By The Riverside
8. Animal Farm
9. Village Green
11. Phenomenal Cat
12. All Of My Friends Were There
13. Wicked Annabella
15. People Take Pictures Of Each Other
Mini - Bio:
Although they weren't as boldly innovative as the
Beatles or as popular as the Rolling Stones or the Who,
the Kinks were one of the most influential bands of the
British Invasion. Like most bands of their era, the Kinks
began as an R&B/blues outfit. Within four years, the band
had become the most staunchly English of all their
contemporaries, drawing heavily from British music hall and
traditional pop, as well as incorporating elements of country,
folk, and blues.
Throughout their long, varied career, the core
of the Kinks remained Ray (b. June 21, 1944) and Dave Davies (b. February 3, 1947),
who were born and raised in Muswell Hill, London. In their teens, the brothers began playing
skiffle and rock & roll. Soon, the brothers recruited a schoolmate of Ray's, Peter Quaife,
to play with them; like the Davies brothers, Quaife played guitar, but he switched to bass.
By the summer of 1963, the group had decided to call itself the Ravens and had recruited
a new drummer, Mickey Willet. Eventually, their demo tape reached Shel Talmy, an
American record producer who was under contract to Pye Records. Talmy helped the band
land a contract with Pye in 1964. Before signing to the label, the Ravens replaced
drummer Willet with Mick Avory.
The Ravens recorded their debut single, a cover of Little
Richard's "Long Tall Sally," in January 1964. Before the single was released, the group
changed their name to the Kinks. "Long Tall Sally" was released in February of 1964 and it
failed to chart, as did their second single, "You Still Want Me." The band's third single, "You
Really Got Me," was much noisier and dynamic, featuring a savage, fuzz-toned two-chord
riff and a frenzied solo from Dave Davies. Not only was the final version the blueprint for
the Kinks' early sound, but scores of groups used the heavy, power chords as a
foundation. "You Really Got Me" reached number one within a month of its release; released
on Reprise in the U.S., the single climbed into the Top Ten. "All Day and All of the Night,"
the group's fourth single, was released late in 1964 and it rose all the way to number two;
in America, it hit number seven. During this time, the band also produced two full-length
albums and several EPs.
Not only was the group recording at a breakneck pace, they were
touring relentlessly, as well, which caused much tension within the band. At the conclusion
of their summer 1965 American tour, the Kinks were banned from re-entering the United
States by the American government for unspecified reasons. For four years, the Kinks
were prohibited from returning to the U.S., which not only meant that the group was
deprived of the world's largest music market, but that they were effectively cut off from
the musical and social upheavals of the late '60s. Consequently, Ray Davies' songwriting
grew more introspective and nostalgic, relying more on overtly English musical influences
such as music hall, country and English folk, than the rest of his British contemporaries.
The Kinks' next album, The Kinks Kontroversy, demonstrated the progression in Davies'
songwriting. "Sunny Afternoon" was one of Davies' wry social satires and the song was
the biggest hit of the summer of 1966 in the U.K., reaching number one. "Sunny Afternoon"
was a teaser for the band's great leap forward, Face to Face, a record that featured a
vast array of musical styles. In May of 1967, they returned with "Waterloo Sunset," a
ballad that reached number two in the U.K. in the spring of 1967. Released in the fall of
1967, Something Else continued the progressions of Face to Face. Despite the Kinks'
musical growth, their chart performance was beginning to stagnate.
lackluster performance of Something Else, the Kinks rushed out a new single, "Autumn
Almanac," which became another big U.K. hit for the band. Released in the spring of 1968,
the Kinks' "Wonderboy" was the band's first single not to crack the Top Ten since "You
Really Got Me." They recovered somewhat with "Days," but the band's commercial decline
was evident by the lack of success of The Village Green Preservation Society.
in the fall of 1968, Village Green Preservation Society was the culmination of Ray
Davies' increasingly nostalgic tendencies. While the album was unsuccessful, it was
well-received by critics, particularly in the U.S. Peter Quaife soon grew tired of the band's
lack of success, and he left the band by the end of the year, being replaced by John
Dalton. In early 1969, the American ban upon the Kinks was lifted, leaving the band free
to tour the U.S. for the first time in four years. Before they began the tour, the Kinks
released Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). Like its two
predecessors, Arthur contained distinctly British lyrical and musical themes, but it was a
modest success. As they were recording the follow-up to Arthur, the Kinks expanded their
lineup to include keyboardist John Gosling. The first appearance of Gosling on a Kinks
record was "Lola." Featuring a harder rock foundation than their last few singles, "Lola" was
a Top Ten hit in both the U.K. and the U.S. Released in the fall of 1970, Lola Versus
Powerman and the Money-go-round, Part One was their most successful record since
the mid-'60s in both the U.S. and U.K., helping the band become concert favorites in the
The band's contract with Pye/Reprise expired in early 1971, leaving the Kinks free to
pursue a new record contract. By the end of 1971, the Kinks had secured a five-album
deal with RCA Records, which brought them a million dollar advance. Released in late 1971,
Muswell Hillbillies, the group's first album for RCA, marked a return to the nostalgia of the
Kinks' late-'60s albums, only with more pronounced country and music hall influences. The
album failed to be the commercial blockbuster RCA had hoped for. A few months after the
release of Muswell Hillbillies, Reprise released a double-album compilation callled The Kink
Kronikles, which outsold their RCA debut. Everybody's in Showbiz (1973), a double
record set consisting of one album of studio tracks and another of live material, was a
disappointment in the U.K., although the album was more successful in the U.S. In 1973,
Ray Davies composed a full-blown rock opera called Preservation. When the first
installment of the opera finally appeared in late 1973, it was harshly criticized and given a
cold reception from the public. Act 2 appeared in the summer of 1974; the sequel received
worse treatment than its predecessor. Davies began another musical, Starmaker, for the
BBC; the project eventually metamorphosed into Soap Opera, which was released in the
spring of 1975. Despite poor reviews, Soap Opera was a more commercially successful
record than its predecessor. In 1976, the Kinks recorded Davies' third straight rock opera,
Schoolboys in Disgrace, which rocked harder than any album they released on RCA.
During 1976, the Kinks left RCA and signed with Arista Records. On Arista, the band
refashioned themselves as a hard rock band. Bassist John Dalton left the group near the
completion of their debut Arista album; he was replaced by Andy Pyle. Sleepwalker, the
Kinks' first album for Arista, became a major hit in the U.S. As the band was completing
the follow-up to Sleepwalker, Pyle left the group and was replaced by the returning
Dalton. Misfits, the band's second Arista album, was also a U.S. success. After a British
tour, Dalton left the band again, along with keyboardist John Gosling; bassist Jim
Rodford and keyboardist Gordon Edwards filled the vacancies. Soon, the band was
playing arenas in the United States. Even though punk rockers like the Jam and the
Pretenders were covering Kinks songs in the late '70s, the group was becoming more
blatantly commercial with each release, culminating in the heavy rock of Low Budget
(1979), which became the group's biggest American success, peaking at number 11. The
Kinks' next album, Give the People What They Want, appeared in late 1981; the record
peaked at number 15 and went gold.
For most of 1982, the band was on tour. In spring of
1983, "Come Dancing" became the group's biggest American hit since "Tired of Waiting for
You," thanks to the video's repeated exposure on MTV; in the U.S., the song peaked at
number six, in the U.K. it climbed to number 12. State of Confusion followed the release of
"Come Dancing," and it was another success, peaking at number 12 in the U.S.
remainder of 1983, Ray Davies worked on a film project, Return to Waterloo, which
caused considerable tension between himself and his brother. Instead of breaking up, the
Kinks merely reshuffled their lineup, but there was a major casualty -- Mick Avory, the
band's drummer for 20 years, was fired and replaced by Bob Henrit. As Ray finished
post-production duties on Return to Waterloo, he wrote the next Kinks album, Word of
Mouth. Released in late 1984, the album was similar in tone to the last few Kinks records,
but it was a commercial disappointment and began a period of decline for the band -- they
never released another record that cracked the Top 40.
Word of Mouth was the last album
they would record for Arista Records. In early 1986, the band signed with MCA Records in
the U.S., London in the U.K. Think Visual, their first album for their new label, was
released in late 1986. It was a mild success but there were no hit singles from the record.
The following year, the Kinks released another live album, appropriately titled The Road,
which spent a brief time on the charts. Two years later, the Kinks released their last
studio record for MCA, UK Jive. During 1989, keyboardist Ian Gibbons left the band. The
Kinks were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, but the induction did not
help revive their career. In 1991, a compilation of their MCA records, Lost & Found
(1986-1989), appeared, signalling that their contract with the label had expired. Later in
the year, the band signed with Columbia Records and released an EP called Did Ya, which
didn't chart. The Kinks' first album for Columbia, Phobia, arrived in 1993 to fair reviews
but poor sales. By this time, only Ray and Dave Davies remained from the original lineup.
In 1994, the band was dropped from Columbia Records, leaving the group to release the
live To the Bone on an independent label in the U.K.; the band was left without a record
label in the U.S.
Despite a lack of commercial success, the band's public profile began to
rise in 1995, as the group was hailed as an influence on several of the most popular British
bands of the decade, including Blur and Oasis. Ray Davies was soon on popular television
shows again, acting as these band's godfather and promoting his autobiography, X-Ray,
which was published in early 1995 in the U.K. Dave Davies' autobiography, Kink, was
published in the spring of 1996.
- by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
© 1999 AEC One Stop Group, Inc.