Ray Davies – Now a Well Respected Man? or still Kinky?

Back in the 60s, when I was a mere slip of a lad, and the Kinks were the height of rebellion I used to endlessly play ‘Well Respected Man’ and ‘I’m Not Like Everybody Else’. Those two songs seemed to summarise my feelings towards the bourgeois society that was going on all around me.

I wanted no part of that status-ridden culture – mowing the grass in straight lines, polishing the car, looking neat and tidy and carving the Sunday roast. I wanted freedom and adventure and the Kinks represented full-blown rebellion.

I was only fifteen. I hadn’t discovered Kerouac yet and I was only just getting into Dylan but I knew they were out there waiting for me with a new perspective on life. I wanted it to rage!!

It is quite a shock to find the rebels of yesteryear being absorbed into society and becoming part of the establishment – Sir Ray Davies – Sir Mick Jagger.

It is how the revolution is subverted; it is absorbed and becomes fashion.

It is worth a revisit to the lyrics of ‘Well Respected Man’ to see how well they fit with a knighthood. It described the hypocrisy and double standards of respectable society. I loved it:

“A Well Respected Man”

‘Cause he gets up in the morning,
And he goes to work at nine,
And he comes back home at five-thirty,
Gets the same train every time.
‘Cause his world is built ’round punctuality,
It never fails.

And he’s oh, so good,
And he’s oh, so fine,
And he’s oh, so healthy,
In his body and his mind.
He’s a well respected man about town,
Doing the best things so conservatively.

And his mother goes to meetings,
While his father pulls the maid,
And she stirs the tea with councilors,
While discussing foreign trade,
And she passes looks, as well as bills
At every suave young man

‘Cause he’s oh, so good,
And he’s oh, so fine,
And he’s oh, so healthy,
In his body and his mind.
He’s a well respected man about town,
Doing the best things so conservatively.

And he likes his own backyard,
And he likes his fags the best,
‘Cause he’s better than the rest,
And his own sweat smells the best,
And he hopes to grab his father’s loot,
When Pater passes on.

‘Cause he’s oh, so good,
And he’s oh, so fine,
And he’s oh, so healthy,
In his body and his mind.
He’s a well respected man about town,
Doing the best things so conservatively.

And he plays at stocks and shares,
And he goes to the Regatta,
And he adores the girl next door,
‘Cause he’s dying to get at her,
But his mother knows the best about
The matrimonial stakes.

‘Cause he’s oh, so good,
And he’s oh, so fine,
And he’s oh, so healthy,
In his body and his mind.
He’s a well respected man about town,
Doing the best things so conservatively.

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If you love Rock Music you will find this interesting. I started getting into Rock when I was ten years old with the likes of Little Richard and Buddy Holly. I went to my first gigs when I was fourteen seeing the British Birds (with Ronnie Wood) and Them (with Van Morrison). It was a baptism of excitement. Since then I’ve been to more gigs than I care to think about and I’ve seen nearly everyone worth seeing close up and personal. I’ve been a regular at Abbey Road studios, behind the scenes in festivals and mega-concerts and met most of the major players.

Rock has been a great passion to me.

I’ve lived through it all from Beatles to White Stripes, Bo Diddley to the Kills, and I’m still at the front!

The masses of LPs and CDs I’ve collected are testament to my love of the music. I ran Britain’s first History of Rock Music course (An excuse for me to play loud music) and introduced it into the school curriculum.

Rock is not life – it’s more important than that!

This book tells that story:

In the UK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Search-Captain-Beefheart-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1502820455/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477299594&sr=1-1&keywords=opher+goodwin+in+search

In the USA

https://www.amazon.com/Search-Captain-Beefheart-Opher-Goodwin-ebook/dp/B00O4CLKYU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477299823&sr=1-1&keywords=opher+goodwin+in+search

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10 thoughts on “Ray Davies – Now a Well Respected Man? or still Kinky?

      • Yeah same here. Actually it reminds me of most adults including my parents and it just scares me that I could become like that some day and I guess that’s why I do my best to avoid becoming a cliché.
        Yeah it’s weird!

      • it is hard being out of step with the rest of society. But it is far more rewarding to be different. There is much more than that boring limited outlook. There’s a whole world out there to explore, think and write about.

  1. It is not that weird. Remember, that it goes the other way back, too. Noone listens to the old aristocracy anymore. This is an antagonism, it is out of time, but for me as a fan of the Kinks (and a very long-lasting one), it is a recognition of a long dedication, a masterful career and the best songs from Britain in the 5 decades. I do not think Ray Davies is changing focus and life style because of a Sir.

    • Neither do I – he said he was embarrassed by the award. In one sense it is great to recognise him and in another it is weird that you get recognised by the establishment for being antiestablishment.

  2. I was there also from the beginning – I was born in 1949 – the Beatles blew me away – they were awesome and the early rolling stones just as good (latter day stones not so good) if fact, that was the order of my favorites at the time – kinks were alittle behind them but with the release of kinks kontroversy all that changed over night. From then on it was the kinks and the beatles. No one is in the same league as Ray Davies when it comes to lyrics to songs – a fan till the end of my time on mother earth.

    • I agree Lanny. They were magic times – one great song after another. I thought it would never end! Beatles, Stones, Who, Yardbirds, Them, Smallfaces, Downliners Sect, Animals, Prettythings……………. Aaaah!!

  3. I’d like to think that Ray would refuse the knighthood as Bowie did, but Ray was the most “British” of all his peers and in the years to come he and his family will be better served and respected by the award, and more people will come to know his work.

    • I’m sure he was torn. But I think you are right. It will add credence to the brilliance of his songwriting. In one sense it is great that this is being recognised. Just seems weird to me.

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