Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"Better Things" by The Kinks

Song#:  0831
Date:  11/28/1981
Debut:  98
Peak:  92
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  As with the first single from their album "Give the People What They Want," the #85 "Destroyer," this second single bumbled around the bottom of the chart for a while not making much impact at pop. However, it did good business at rock radio and reached #12 on the Mainstream Rock chart. In the UK, this was the first single from the album and it reached #46. It was the group's first single to reach the chart since 1972.

ReduxReview:  I first became familiar with this song through a version by one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Dar Williams. She chose the song to close her 1997 album "End of the Summer." Although essentially a break-up song, it is cheerfully upbeat with an optimistic message. Williams does a great job covering the song, but I do have to give the edge to The Kinks' original. It's one of my favorites from their catalog.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Much has been said about The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" being one of the first pop works to feature the sitar. However, The Kink's incorporated Middle Eastern raga sounds on their 1965 song "See My Friends," which pre-dates The Beatles' song. "See My Friends" was a hit in the UK and reached #10, but it didn't chart in the US. It's been said that The Beatles heard this song and the sitar-ish guitar inspired them to seek out the instrument and include it on "Norwegian Wood" a few months later.


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