Released in February 1977, “Sleepwalker” was the first entry for the band in Billboard’s Hot 100 since 1970’s “Apeman,” which bubbled under at 45. It’s a pity that the band was ignored in that period as some of their classic recordings, such as “Celluloid Heroes” – one of my particular favorites, failed to chart.
The title cut to their “Sleepwalker” album, the single charted at #48 on the Hot 100 in early 1977. The album returned the band to a more classic sound of The Kinks we’ve known and loved. The song really should have done better, as it has a great instrumental and lyrical hook, as well as fantastic lead guitar part by Dave Davies. My only guess is that the lyrical content is a little bit creepy. “I’m a sleepwalker . . . I’m a night stalker; I’m a sleepwalker . . . I’m a night hawker.”
When ev'rybody's fast asleep, I start to creep.
Through the shadows of the moonlight, I walk my beat.
Better close your window tight:
I might come in for a bite,
My favorite part of the song is the bridge where Ray Davies does his pseudo Bob Dylan impersonation. It is a great tune that should have done better, but it really was a comeback record for the band in the late seventies and the album charted at #21 and was their highest charting album in the US since 1965’s “Kinks-Size.” The single “Sleepwalker” was followed by “Juke Box Music” that failed to chart.
Pseudo Live VersionOn March 8, 1977, The Kinks appeared on the Merv Griffin Show and performed “Sleepwalker” and “Celluloid Heroes” in a pseudo live performance. I think Ray Davies vocals may have been live, but the instrumentation appears to be canned.
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