My Kinks are not what you think

I don’t think people realize how fragmented my thought process is.  I was thinking about the things my children won’t know.  You know the internet meme.  The latest offshoot is the 45rpm adapter that all of us over 40 know so well. I don’t think my brother had singles, but that is a different issue.  For some reason, my mind immediately went to “Death of a Clown” by the Kinks.  Perhaps you don’t know it.  The Kinks – other than “Lola” which my Lambchop loves and “You Really Got Me” (re-popularized by Van Halen in ’78) – are seriously under appreciated.

“Death of a Clown” is the rare Dave Davies contribution.  We all know and love his big brother Ray.  Some of you probably even remember his relationship and child with Chrissie Hynes of The Pretenders (and now you realize why there was a Kinks cover on each of the first two Pretenders albums.)  Meanwhile, I’m still drinking to the death of clown.

My makeup is dry and is cracked on my chin
I’m drowning my sorrows in whisky and gin
The lion tamer’s whip doesn’t crack anymore
The lions they won’t fight and the tigers won’t roar

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
So let’s all drink to the death of a clown
Won’t someone help me to break up this crowd
Let’s all drink to the death of a clown
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Let’s all drink to the death of a clown

The old fortune teller lies dead on the floor
Nobody needs fortunes told anymore
The trainer of insects is crouched on his knees
And frantically looking for runaway fleas

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Let’s all drink to the death of a clown
So won’t someone help me to break up this crowd
Let’s all drink to the death of a clown
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Let’s all drink to the death of a clown
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

And I continue to drink to the death of clown.  In an effort to expand my thoughts, I turn to “David Watts.”  I’m pretty sure most of you don’t know that song either.  Why aren’t the Kinks more popular?  I know most of you know the song “Picture Book,” but that is because it was an HP commercial a few years back.  I wish I could be like David Watts…

I am a dull and simple lad
Cannot tell water from champagne
And I have never met the queen
And I wish I could have all that he has got
I wish I could be like David Watts

He is the head boy at the school
He is the captain of the team
He is so gay and fancy free
And I wish all his money belonged to me
I wish I could be like David Watts

Well, maybe I’m not that simple.  And I don’t want to be too gay and fancy free. I forgot, this song is a bit homoerotic.  The 60s were a bit ambiguous in some ways weren’t they?  But we all have our heroes to worship.  No, I’m not going to talk about David Bowie.

We should all stretch a bit.  Go find “I’m in Disgrace” from Schoolboys in Disgrace or “Everybody’s a Star (Starmaker)” from The Kinks Present a Soap Opera or “Celluloid Heroes” from Everybody’s in Show-biz.  Who doesn’t love a song that references Greta Garbo and Bela Lugosi?

We often wonder how did so and so get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The Loving Spoonful for example.  The Loving Spoonful in a the rock hall makes me think about the MLB Hall of Fame.  Some people want to turn it into the “hall of very good.”  Do any of you associate the Kinks with “very good’ and not “Fame?”  The Loving Spoonful is very good.   Isn’t it time  you dug a bit deeper and turned your vague affection for the Kinks into love?  I’m sure you know “Rock and Roll Fantasy” by  Bad Company.   Do you “Rock and Roll Fantasy” by the Kinks that came out a few months earlier?  It is a love song to rock and roll, not Paul Roger’s feeble attempt at upstaging Kiss’ stage show in a song.

The next time you revel in your Beatles and your Stones, stretch a bit and remember The Kinks.  Tonight, I’m drinking to the death of a clown.

*Props to those of you who found the hidden Bowie/Mott the Hoople reference.

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