Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reprise Records: A Kinks' Twofer

It’s time for Twofer Tuesday and keeping in our theme with our Fourth Week Label Feature on Reprise Records, I had to narrow down which one of the multi-hit recording artists to feature. The Kinks won the toss and are today’s double header. Signed in the UK with Pye Records, Mo Ostin had arranged for several Pye artists, such as The Kinks, to be distributed in the US on Reprise.

Tired of Waiting for You

Recorded at Pye Studios in December 1964, “Tired of Waiting for You” was The Kinks’ third Top 10 hit in the US. In addition, this 1965 release from their album “Kinda Kinks” was tied with 1982’s “Come Dancing” as the band’s highest charting singles in America; both peaked at the #6 position.

In the UK, “Tired of Waiting for You” was the second of The Kinks’ three number one releases that included “You Really Got Me” and “Sunny Afternoon.” It is frequently heard even today on oldies radio.

A Well Respected Man

While The Kinks came from a working class background, these “Muswell Hillbillies” were adept at drawing from numerous musical traditions and Ray Davies became quite the songwriter as our second song exhibits. While The Kinks often resulted to low brow antics on and off stage, they were often shunned by those of a respectable echelon of society and were in fact banned by the American Federation of Musicians from performing in the US for four years.

Because of the snobbery that Ray Davies encountered at the hands of other guests at a resort hotel in 1965, he penned “A Well Respected Man.” The tune uncovered unconventional activities of fictional members of the upper crust. While the song appeared on the “Kwyet Kinks” EP in the UK, it never charted, as it was not issued as a single. Pye released it on the mainland as a single and Reprise did the same in the US.

Written in a music hall tradition that was uncommon to most Americans, “A Well Respected Man” did quite well on this side of the Atlantic and it may have been the message of hypocrisy that resonated with American audiences. It charted at #13 in late 1965.  It’s great writing like this that has earned Ray Davies a spot in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.  See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/hay-festival/10856940/Ray-Davies-America-has-finally-accepted-The-Kinks.html.

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