10 Great Overlooked Kinks Songs

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The golden age of Ray Davies and Co. may have ended with 1971’s Muswell Hillbillies, but there are essential tracks scattered among the hit-and-miss LPs that followed:

“Sitting In My Hotel” from Everybody’s In Show-Biz (1972)
“(A) Face In The Crowd” from Soap Opera (1975)
“I’m In Disgrace” from Schoolboys In Disgrace (1975)
“Full Moon” from Sleepwalker (1977)
“Misfits” from Misfits (1978)
“In A Space” from Low Budget (1979)
“Art Lover” from Give The People What They Want (1981)
“Heart Of Gold” from State Of Confusion (1983)
“Summer’s Gone” from Word Of Mouth (1984)
“Scattered” from Phobia (1993)

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47 Comments

  1. Posted January 12, 2009 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never understood why the Star Maker / Soap Opera material has been so trashed. To my ears many of those songs sound very sincere and heartfelt. Touching songs about being very ordinary.

    I’m in Disgrace (from Schoolboys in Disgrace) is a gem – probably based in part on rather painful real-life experience, if I read Ray’s and Dave’s autobiographies right! It was their mistrust of authority figures that generated the primordial ooze that evolved into the Kinks.

    There’s lots of good stuff on Sleepwalker and Misfits. I remember being in my late teens – early 20’s (mid-late 70’s) hearing songs from the Sleepwalker album on the radio, at a time when I had struck out on my own and was newly independent. What I heard on the radio at that time made an impression on me and I did not even know I was listening to the Kinks!

    Art Lover always pulls at my heart and makes me go arrrrghhh!.

    Scattered made a rather nice video – probably one of the final ones by the Kinks.

    I love the Kinks so much it’s virtual impossible for me to point to a favorite album or song.

  2. DJRickman
    Posted January 13, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Good list. I would also include:
    People in Grey
    Have a Cuppa Tea
    Can’t Stop the Music
    Only Jukebox Music
    Holiday (if you can find this from the BBC Sessions, the live version is wonderful)
    Last of the Steam Powered Trains
    Harry Rag

    And I agree w/Susan. It is virtually impossible to point to a favorite. But, my favorite lyric is from The Road, “I got gas in my tank and I still got a way to go.” Keep going, Ray. Keep going.

  3. Moose Mijatovic
    Posted January 13, 2009 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I always thought, “Did You See His Name”, was perhaps the most overlooked Kinks gem. Ray glides through some of the phrasing in such an elegant way, in contrast to the tragic plight of the guy who nicked a tin of beans. Love it.

  4. Craig
    Posted January 13, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Two of the most overlooked songs are “No More Looking Back” & “Sitting in the Midday Sun”

  5. jaroslav budnyk
    Posted January 14, 2009 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Some overlooked masterpieces include: Close to the Wire, Life after breakfast, Misty Water, Out of the wardrobe, A little bit of emotion, Cliches of the world, The road. I consider these to be masterpieces of songwriting.

  6. jaroslav budnyk
    Posted January 14, 2009 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Some overlooked masterpieces include: Close to the Wire, Life after breakfast, Misty Water, Out of the wardrobe, A little bit of emotion, Cliches of the world, The road. I consider these to be timeless songs by The Kinks and Ray Davies.

  7. Luis Adolfo
    Posted January 14, 2009 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    The Kinks have many great “overlooked songs”. For me the main one is “NO MORE LOOKIN BACK” a song that closes the SCHOLLBOYS IN DISGRACE cd. This song, if played by the radio at the time of his release, should have become a “classic” in the same way as “Stairway to Heaven”, “Wont Get Fooled Again” or “Hey Jude” among many others. Also, “Juke Box Music”, “Full Moon”, “Sleepwalker”, “Around the Dial”, “Heart of Gold”, “How are You”, “Daylight”, “Rock and Roll Cities” and many many others.

  8. Posted January 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    First someone said “No More Looking Back” was like “Stairway To Heaven”. I think he means in the way of an anthem like that and “hey Jude”. Well one of the true great anthem’s that our boys did was “Celluloid Heroes”, it is one of the great songs of all times.Others on my list, “One of The Survivors”, “When A solution Comes” and “Flash’s Confession” among many others.

  9. Kev
    Posted January 14, 2009 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    So right about When a Solution Comes. Also I would include Heart of Gold, Scattered, Something better Beginning, See my Friends, Sweet Lady Genevieve,
    Get Back in the line, This Time tomorrow, and Long Distance… and about 40 more, if I really thought about it!

  10. The Rat
    Posted January 15, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    This opens up a whole new can of worms because I have always contested that many of the greatest Kinks tunes were overlooked. Some of the best songwriting and musicianship of The Kinks can be found in these:

    Only A Dream
    Fancy
    Too Much On My Mind
    Some Mothers Son
    Prince Of The Punks
    Little Bit Of Emotion
    Around The Dial
    Give The People What They Want
    Education
    Full Moon
    Life Goes On
    Trust Your Heart
    Cliches Of The World (B movie)
    Definite Maybe
    Working At The Factory
    The Road
    Welcome To Sleazy Town
    Lost And Found
    Don’t
    Over The Edge
    Massive Reductions
    Missing Persons

    ….and dare I say none of them are “greatest hits.” God save The Kinks!

  11. Posted January 15, 2009 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    The Kinks have so many great songs that are overlooked..the best songs to me, almost every song written, are” supersonic rocketship..its a shame-i’m on an island-shes bought a hat like princess marina-sitting in my hotel-ducks on the wall-underneath the neon sign-i’ve gotta go now-i’ve got that feelin’-i go to sleep-days-kingkong-misty water-till death do us part-summers gone-looney balloon-now and then-babies-scattered—–there are soo many that I listen to ..its very distur=bing-GOD SAVE THE KINKS!!!!!

  12. art mugalian
    Posted January 16, 2009 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    I would pick one underappreciated song from each album:

    So Mystifying
    Wait Till the Summer Comes Along
    The World Keeps Going Round
    I’ll Remember
    End of the Season
    All of My Friends Were There
    Drivin’
    The Moneygoround
    Complicated Life
    Look a Little on the Sunnyside
    Dreams
    You Make it All Worthwhile
    The First Time We Fall in Love
    Sweet Lady Genevieve
    Mirror of Love
    On the Outside
    Pressure
    Better Things
    Summer’s Gone
    Heart of Gold
    Out of the Wardrobe
    How Do I Get Close
    The Video Shop
    The Road
    Still Searching

    This list leaves out dozens of my favorites

  13. vito
    Posted January 16, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    My favorites:

    All day and all of the night
    money talks
    last of the steam powered trains
    hatred
    Till the end of the day
    Top of the pops
    Do it again
    living on a thin line
    I;m not like everybody else
    Catch me now I’m falling
    Plastic man
    Wicked annabella

    It is rock N roll with lyrics that make sense

  14. mayphil
    Posted January 16, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I can’t imagine trying to write down all of the great songs the Kinks recorded that sailed under the radar. It is simply an impossible task. But I would like to highlight a couple of songs from their later years that is often overlooked, including Looney Balloon, Video Shop, Did Ya and Look Through Any Doorway.

    Ray and Dave rock!

  15. picket131
    Posted January 16, 2009 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    No list is complete without Gods Children.

  16. Posted January 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    I was going to post my favorite underappreciated Kinks songs. I read through everyone elses list and realized every song mentioned would be on my list. I guess I’ll just skip my list and say there are way too many songs to list and most are truly under-appreciated.

  17. Eric T. Miller
    Posted January 18, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Phil Sheridan and I put the list together. We limited out choices to songs that came out in 1972 or later and tried to pick songs that weren’t on any best-of compilations that the causal (kasual?) Kinks fan would own. We also avoided any songs that charted in the U.S. and agreed to include no more than one song per album. Only songs written by Ray were considered. No songs that made this list (http://www.magnetmagazine.com/2008/06/01/a-well-respected-man-artists-pick-their-favorite-kinks-songs/) were eligible. To address one song a number of you guys mentioned that fit those criteria: “No More Looking Back” is one of my favorite Kinks songs, but we thought it was too well-known to include.
    I’ll throw another topic out there: If you could only pick one Kinks song to ever listen to again, what would it be? For me, hands down, it would be “Days,” which is probably my favorite rock ‘n’ roll song of all time. And in typical Kinks fashion, it was never included on a proper album in the U.S. and didn’t chart here. But then again, it’s these kind of things that have always made Ray, Dave and the boys underdogs and so much fun to root for.

  18. Posted January 19, 2009 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    Only one Kinks song to be able to listen to again…. Wow. I guess for me it would have to be Victoria.

  19. peter
    Posted January 19, 2009 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The whole “Schoolboy’s in disgrace”album is great! One of there best albums!

  20. José Duarte
    Posted January 19, 2009 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure if these are the 10 Great Overlooked Kinks Songs but I really like them all, apart from “In a Space” which isn’t in my top 200 favorite Kinks song.
    My other sugestions: “Big black smoke”, “This is where I belong”, “Sweet lady Genevieve”, “god’s children” ,”How do i get close . “Now and Then” “Long way from home”

  21. L.B.
    Posted January 19, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I find it hard to believe ‘Celluloid Heroes’ and ‘Im Not Like Everybody Else’ only have one mention each, both songs have real timeless, heart on sleave type lyrics, which is all in all sums up ray davies as a songwriter. These are the two most overlooked Kinks songs in my opinion.

  22. anders Nordqvist
    Posted January 19, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    The kinks have always been the best band for me since 1965 only Ian A comes close to the brothers.All the songs Ray and Dave have written are A1,no doubt wonderful melodies and lyrics. Lets hope that they get back together.

  23. Posted January 20, 2009 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    These are my candidates for most overlooked Kinks songs – Moments, Rosemary Rose, Polly, Big Black Smoke, Where O Where is Love, Property, The Road, Scattered. Among the slightly better known but still overlooked songs are Some Mother’s Son, Autumn Almanac, Most Exclusive Residence For Sale, End of the Season. These are great songs.

  24. David Watts
    Posted January 20, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    It’s hard to beleive that after all these years, the British Invasion “Big Four” music is still the best. My favorite overlooked Kinks tunes are:
    The London Song-both versions
    Too Much On My Mind
    That’s All She Wrote (from O.P.L.)
    Over My Head (from O.P.L.)
    Last of the Steam Powered Trains/Picture Book- Best Video Ever
    Something Better Beginning
    Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home?
    Missing Persons
    The Way Love Used To Be
    Love Me Till the Sun Shines
    Heart of Gold
    Big Black Smoke

  25. Judy
    Posted January 20, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Live Life (the UK Version)
    Days
    Life Goes On
    No More Looking Back
    Oklahoma USA
    Imaginations Real (Dave Davies)

  26. BG
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    THE WAY LOVE USED TO BE – from the Percy soundtrack.
    Easily the most underated and under played Kinks song.
    It’s my favourite Kinks song.
    I get goose bumps every time I play it.

  27. Posted January 23, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    so long, it’s too late, to much on my mind, Mr. Reporter, Lazy old sun, Misty Water, Berkley Mews, Lavendar Hill, This man he weeps tonight, Powerman, Starstruck (it should have been a big hit), Young and innocent days, Dreams, Complicated life, Lady Genevive, Oh where Oh where is love, Nothing lasts forever, You make it all worthwhile, Headmaster, I’m in disgrace, Education, Life Goes on, Brother, In a foreign land, permanent waves, Black Messiah, Killers eyes, Property, Long Distance, Killing time, Lost and Found, The Road, How Do I get Close, Looney Balloon, Harry Rag, Two sisters, Hatred, Did Ya,, Look through any doorway, Cliches of the world, Australia

  28. Posted January 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Pye era:EVERYbody’S GONNA be HAPPY for its experimental syncopation of drum beat. Amazing..
    ‘ALL OF MY FRIENDS WERE THERE’ ; for I’m playing in a band, I DO feel sympathy and the song’s mention of ‘wearing moustach’ seems to be related later Ray’s DISGUISE on VIDEOs. It’s very curious.
    RCA era:’Look a Little on the Sunny side’. This song never fails to cheer me up when I’m down.
    After RCA: I believe Ray’s song writing got better and better to Ray”s ‘working man’s cafe”…
    ‘ GALLON OF GAS’, ‘ART LOVER’…and… ‘The Road’! what a great song ! MUST for every man in rock band!
    Although I prefer the sound of 60s to 70s, I say that Ray’s song writing is still growing up and up. and up.

  29. John Drake
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    One song which I don’t think has been mentioned yet is ‘Where Are They Now’ . To me it sums up perfectly a time and a place. It also never fails to remind me of a time when Rock was all about challenging the Establishment.

  30. MattyG
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Its so nice to discover that others recognize the so many overlooked kinks songs. The entire schoolboys in disgrace album is greatness. i think it got a bad rep because it came right after Soap Opera which was pretty bad (with the exception of ‘You make it all Worthwhile’ and ‘Face in the Crowd’). Anyway, a couple songs that are very overlooked and havent been mentioned much are

    Trust Your Heart- from the Misfits album.

    Living on a Thin Line- from the Word of Mouth album.
    and
    Mr Big Man- from the Sleepwalker album. Daves guitar playing on this is extremely powerful.

  31. Moose Mijatovic
    Posted February 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    WHAT! Only one mention of, “Harry Rag”? On my list of things to do before I’m pushin’ up the grass… #1 is a “Harry Rag” sing-a-long in Ray’s local pub in north London.

  32. michael
    Posted February 1, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    10 others kinks
    Alcohol (live)
    Missing persons
    foreign land
    national health
    moments
    gods children
    did ya
    add it up
    back to front
    video shop

  33. Alma
    Posted February 4, 2009 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    MattyG,
    Please don’t label any Kinks album “bad”. That’s just blasphemous! Soap Opera is one of my all-time favorites. I realize that we all have our favorites and our not-so favorites but I’d never, never, label any Kinks album like that. There are only so many albums out there and as far as I know there aren’t any more Kinks albums “in the works”. Let’s cherrish each and every one of them that “The Boys” put out, favorite or not-so favorite.
    Please pop Soap Opera in the player again and give it a good listen, I bet it’s been a while. You may just be surprised. Please re-consider your thoughts and words.
    A fellow Kinker, Alma

  34. Posted February 12, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    – two sisters
    – Rosie won’t you please come home
    – Lavender hill

  35. Barry
    Posted February 14, 2009 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Nice list and add – ons by you fellow Kinks fans.. All good choices..
    Special atta-boy goes to the dude recommending London Town.. Very nice live version on Conan back in 1996 or ?? One of my later favs not listed yet is WAR IS OVER from U.K. Jive… Animal Farm from Village Green and I still laugh everytime time I hear the Morning Song ( humming only ) from Preservation Act One.. Money Talks from ACT 2 was great live and the ‘Ol Demon Alcohol was one of the best live songs ever for breaking up a concert audience…

  36. Jack
    Posted February 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Stormy Sky from sleepwalker…beautiful song

  37. notahemi
    Posted February 17, 2009 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The Kinks were “overlooked”, period.
    At least in America.

  38. Posted February 19, 2009 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Polly is the most underrated Kinks song (and it is from their Pye golden era). Then, Berkeley mews and It’s too late. All extraordinary songs.

  39. Al
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Personally I think that Some Mother’s Son ( from Arthur), Property (from State of Confusion), Scattered (from Phobia) and Around the Dial (from Give the People) are among the finest lyrics Ray has ever penned

  40. bill
    Posted April 14, 2009 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Austrailia, how did I mis that one. Now one more thing. Avery never got credit, at least in America for being one of the greatest drummers ever period.

  41. Posted April 14, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Soap Opera is a classic! Very underrated…In fact the RCA concept period is my favorite. Amazing records! Too many great songs to mention, but Underneath The Neon Sign, Some Mothers Son, Life Goes On, I’m In Disgrace, A Long Way From Home, Life Goes On, 20th Century Man, When Work is Over, Big Sky, and the list goes on and on…..the greatest band ever, total genius!

  42. Jeff
    Posted April 15, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    As I read through the list of songs noted here it makes me want to pull out all my old Kinks cd’s and re-visit these relatively obscure classic non-hits. I’ve always said to young people who have yet to discover the Kinks, start with the most obscure Kinks record and you will be rewarded. In fact, if you started listening to Kinks cd’s in reverse order by sales you couldn’t go wrong. This is what makes the Kinks so different (and special) compared to the Beatles, Stones and Who. All the best stuff these bands did is well known and sold a lot of copies.

  43. Steve L
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    Arthur, the song, never fails to lift my spirits. It’s from a very emotional and difficult album (try really listening to Shangri La sometime), but Arthur ends the album with one of the strongest declarations of non-romantic love you are likely to ever hear. Thanks for that.

    Don’t You Fret hasn’t turned up yet as overlooked but is really a great song in every way. Gentle, raucous, and brewing tea.

    The studio version of Alcohol is brilliant, capturing the sound of the Salvation Army on skid row perfectly. What a song.

    I’ll finally mention You Still Want Me, their second single and total flop, because it is hilarious that Ray tried to hit the big time with a bouncy stalker song. Listen to the lyrics – the song is so warped! “When you pass me by, you never look my way. But one thing I know, our love is here to stay. Cos you still want me. I know because the smile upon your lips is for me. They were meant for me to kiss. And you were meant to love me darling. I’ll be around when other guys have gone. I’ll tell you once more, I-I still love you so.” Travis Bickle’s national-freaking anthem! And totally overlooked for its 45 year existence.

  44. Melissa
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Animal farm is so brilliant.

  45. Melissa
    Posted August 3, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    shangrila, walter, arthur, harry rag, sweet lady genevieve, better things, monica, act nice and gentle, holiday in wakiki, dandy, victoria, you do something to me

  46. Frank Lima
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Noce to see a lot of the lesser know but GREAT KinKs songs get some credit and praise here. You can’t stop the music or the kinks from being my all time favorite band, and Ray really does write the best song sof all time. –

  47. Andrew Mason
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    OK,

    You guys are missing a few …If any kinks song hits you after the opening few lines it has to be STRANGERS, this has to be followed by MR CHURCHILL .. just listen to the clever incision of key Winston Churchill lines from his world war speeches all made to rhyme with the clever but simple guitar riff going on as it goes …… now tell me … strangers …. what did you think ? Ray Davies Solo stuff had some pearls, MORPHINE SONG, IMAGINARY MAN WORKING MANS CAFE