Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks (1966)

Sunny Afternoon” is a song by the Kinks, written by chief songwriter Ray Davies. The track later featured on the Face to Face album as well as being the title track for their 1967 compilation album. Like its contemporary ‘Taxman‘ by The Beatles, the song references the high levels of progressive tax taken by the British Labour government of Harold Wilson. … ‘Sunny Afternoon’ was first written in Ray Davies’ house when he was sick.
‘I’d bought a white upright piano. I hadn’t written for a time. I’d been ill. I was living in a very 1960s-decorated house. It had orange walls and green furniture. My one-year-old daughter was crawling on the floor and I wrote the opening riff. I remember it vividly. I was wearing a polo-neck sweater.’ Davies said of the song’s lyrics, ‘The only way I could interpret how I felt was through a dusty, fallen aristocrat who had come from old money as opposed to the wealth I had created for myself.’ In order to prevent the listener from sympathizing with the song’s protagonist, Davies said, ‘I turned him into a scoundrel who fought with his girlfriend after a night of drunkenness and cruelty.’ Davies said of the song as well as its recording: ‘Sunny Afternoon was made very quickly, in the morning, it was one of our most atmospheric sessions. I still like to keep tapes of the few minutes before the final take, things that happen before the session. Maybe it’s superstitious, but I believe if I had done things differently—if I had walked around the studio or gone out—it wouldn’t have turned out that way. The bass player went off and started playing funny little classical things on the bass, more like a lead guitar: and Nicky Hopkins, who was playing piano on that session, was playing ‘Liza’—we always used to play that song—little things like that helped us get into the feeling of the song.’ At the time I wrote Sunny Afternoon I couldn’t listen to anything. I was only playing The Greatest Hits of Frank Sinatra and Dylan’s Maggie’s Farm—I just liked its whole presence, I was playing the Bringing It All Back Home LP along with my Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller and Bach—it was a strange time.’ …”
Genius (Audio)
YouTube: Sunny Afternoon

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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2 Responses to Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks (1966)

  1. Bro47 says:

    flew Pan Am JFK to London Dec 1971, on the plane were the Kinks, though we didnt socialize it was a auspicious beginning to a trip that changed my life.


  2. Bro47 says:

    always liked there music.


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