Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Come Dancing" by The Kinks

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1437
Date:  05/07/1983
Debut:  90
Peak:  6
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The Kinks had not scored a major hit in the US since they reached #9 in 1970 with "Lola." Despite the lack of a significant hit, the band's albums were steady sellers over the years with their last three hitting the Top 20. By this time, The Kinks were rocking fairly hard. Leader Ray Davies wanted to bring back a bit of their earlier sound for fans and wrote this tune. From their album "State of Confusion," the song was issued in the UK first, yet it failed to chart. In the US, Arista label head Clive Davis wanted a different song as the lead single. He was convinced this was too slight of a song to be a hit. However, Davies was convinced it was the one and after the video (directed by Julian Temple) started to rev up on MTV, Davis relented and issued the single. It would end up becoming their highest peaking US chart single (#16 AC, #17 Rock), tying with their 1965 #6 hit "Tired of Waiting for You." The US success of the song sparked a reissue of it in the UK where it went on to reach #12. The song would be the last major hit for the band in either territory.

ReduxReview:  I didn't care much for this nostalgic tune when it came out, but I did like the video. I definitely connect more with the song now, especially when learning of its inspiration (see below). I should have liked this tune a lot more back in the day due to its themes. My mom and dad loved big band music and I grew up hearing a lot of standards from the 40s and 50s that played on a radio station they would listen to while playing cards. I know they often went dancing as well, but that was well before my time. They became homebodies during my childhood. All those memories and music should have led me to really diggin' this, however I wasn't into it. Of course now I appreciate it a lot more.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song was inspired by Ray Davies' sister, Irene (aka Rene). She loved to dance and would frequent dance halls in the 50s that featured big bands. Due to a bout of rheumatic fever that she contracted as a child, Rene's heart was weak. On the night of Ray's thirteenth birthday in 1957, Rene went to a dance hall and ended up having a fatal heart attack. Earlier in the evening, she had given Ray one of the most influential gifts he ever received for his birthday - his first guitar.  2) Davies used this song as inspiration for a stage musical. He began toying with the idea soon after the song became a hit, but it took him until 1997 to fully write the play. Then it took another decade to make it to the stage. The musical "Come Dancing" debuted in 2008. Davies wrote the music and co-wrote the book. He also appeared in the show as the narrator. The show ran for a six-week period. It was not Davies first stage show. In 1981 he co-wrote a musical called "Chorus Girls," which had a short run in the UK. Then in 1988, he wrote the music for "80 Days," a musical based on the Jules Verne book "Around the World in 80 Days." It had a 5-week run in San Diego. Most recently, Davies wrote a musical about his earlier life with The Kinks called "Sunny Afternoon." It premiered in the West End in 2014 and is still currently running. Nominated for five Olivier awards (the UK equivalent of the Tony awards), the show won four including Best Musical and one for Davies for Outstanding Musical Achievement.


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