July 30 – Davies Hit Danced Circles Around Davis

The Kinks proved their record label boss Clive Davis wrong this day in 1983, as “Come Dancing” hit #6 in Canada, a week after being top 10 in the States. As such it was their first top 10 single in the Great White North since “Lola” 13 years prior and their biggest hit in the U.S. since 1965!

Ray Davies had written the song more or less from memories of growing up in post-war England. He had six older sisters who liked to go out dancing on dates, but as was the norm back then, would “reward” their boys with little more than a platonic kiss. He has variously said it was about Gwen, a sister seven years his elder, or Rene, 18 years older than him. Rene was said to have bought him his first guitar and sadly, died on the dance floor (she had heart troubles) when he was still a teen.

Clive Davis famously admits to arguing with Davies about the single, thinking it a nice song but a terrible fit for rock radio. The label boss admits “MTV loved it” but thought it cost Arista album sales. It’s unlikely to be the case, since the album State of Confusion was the Kinks third-straight top 20 in the U.S., after not scoring one that popular in their first 15 years of existence. Davies on the other hand says the song is the “lyrics I’m most proud of” and to whit, he wrote a play based on the song in 2008.

20 thoughts on “July 30 – Davies Hit Danced Circles Around Davis

  1. Max posted a Kinks tune as he said he liked that late 70s early 80s Kinks records
    I was going to ask him about Come Dancing and Bam here it is! Lol
    Thanks for answering my question on when it came out as I do recall being in high school at the time

    Liked by 2 people

    1. yeah, high school time for me too. Loved that song, and whole album was good. Clive was wrong I think – it was the first Kinks album I bought, and mostly for the one song. when I heard one or two others spun a couple of times on FM and they sounded OK, I bought it on those HS part time wages (probably around when I was a stockboy for BiWay during the school year)!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. badfinger20 (Max)

    I saw them on this tour! This brought them a new generation of fans. It surprised me that it was as soft as it was except for Dave’s middle guitar but I loved it. In concert they were one of the rawest bands I had ever seen…loud and in your face…rock/punk.

    It is a great song and the story behind it is heartbreaking because of his sister’s death.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They would be a fine band to see, I bet. I said to Deke that clive was wrong in this case, as it was the first album by the Kinks I bought, and largely on the strength of that single. The play/musical looks alright too… wouldn’t mind seeing that, although I’ve not heard of it appearing over here and I haven’t been to a “Broadway” style play since the ’90s .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        The play does sound really interesting. Yea Clive was wrong. Oh…you read a book on Clive Davis right? A question I want to ask you tomorrow about it…there is a reason I have to wait…after my album is revealed.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I appreciate it!
      Ray Davies is a great writer & as I’ve said a few times on different blogs, I don’t think The Kinks were the best British Invasion band…but they were the most under-rated.
      BTW…you wrote about 54/40 & The Odds once…are you in that city by the Ohio River or up in the Great White North in disguise,eh?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think Obbverse who often adds comments here originated there even though he’s now an ocean away. Looks lovely out there, I’ve never actually been to BC but you have your share of musical talent by birth and adoption if you will. Last time i saw an interview with Elton John, maybe 6 months back, he was living on the island.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. J. Steve Morgan

        It’s strange. The text says that The Kinks is not the best band but the most undervalued. I doubt this is so. It was ranked as the fifth most influential band in rock history by a studio titled “The Real Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” David Bowie said he did not know a bad song about them, Mick Jagger’s son prefers them over The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Mick Foley loves them, and many other personalities also have them among his favorites. And don’t forget that they are in the USA and UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and were promoted the first year they could be. Ray Davies received the Ivo Novelo and was considered the first great musical legend in London, He also closed the Olympic Games in London, etc. In short, The Kinks are undervalued by those who do not really know rock.

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      3. Well, I thank you for your reply, and your opinion is valid but I stick with my point. turn on an oldies station and you’ll hear Rolling Stones ad nauseum, a good amount of Beatles, several Who songs a day, some Led Zeppelin (if you’re considering bands which came a little later but were largely contemporaries) but quite possibly zero Kinks. Likewise, as much as I do love “Come Dancing”, it’s their only song regularly played on ’70s-80s radio stations in North America , possibly reflecting that it was their only top 10 hit in over a decade. Yes, other musicians respect them, and some of us appreciate their tunefulness and wit, but the masses are largely unaware of their existence. So, not in the category of Big Star, say, as bands which were influential but almost unknown but at the top of most ordinary music fans minds when they think of British acts or ’60s ones.

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  3. Always put in a good album out, even if theres a bit a sifting to get the best songs. I’ve mentioned ‘Sleepwalker’ and ‘Full Moon’ before but ‘Don’t Forget To Dance’ is another great story song.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just a brilliant band for over 30+ years with multiple charting songs. And new Kinks music is in the works….

    And they became Arena Rock Gods in the late 70’s through most of the 90’s, So many great Ray Davies compositions on virtually every Arista Records release from “Wish I Could Fly Like Superman” to “Destroyer” to “Rock ‘N Roll Fantasy” and this list goes on an on.

    SiriusXM does a pretty good job everyday on DeepTracks playing a Kinks and Ray Davies track about every 1.5 to 2.0 hours each day. And no song is untouched!

    Pleased you blogged on “Come Dancing” as it did bring The Kinks a deep new generation of fans!

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    1. Thank you, Joshua for reading and commenting too!
      I like the Kinks quite a bit… Ray is a great songwriter. I’ve toyed with idea of getting SiriusXM… another kind of unneeded expense but the variety would be nice. Local radio is SO repetitive.

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  5. J. Steve Morgan

    I understand what you’re saying. But in terms of mass media, it must be said that in television commercials his music has been present many times. Musical pieces of them have also appeared in television series and movies. Therefore, the Kinks are undervalued in particular on the radio and maybe in the magazines. Are they too English? Are they too intellectual? Do they use too many musical genres? Are they out of fashion? Don’t they have good marketing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you hit on a number of the reasons unfortunately. They are really british, which sometimes is a detriment outside the UK (Blur fell into that trap too, whereas Oasis sounded a bit more “universal”, to ironically borrow a Blur song title). And they might have been a bit too smart for the masses some of the time … things like “All Day And All of the Night”were pretty straight forward but things like “Lola” or “Destroyer” made you think if you were listening. And yes, don’t think they were marketed all that well through the years. Clive Davis is a good example – he’s a great businessman, created many hit artists but didn’t want to release “Come Dancing” as a single.

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