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The Kinks - Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire

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Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire

The Kinks

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When The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society was released in November 1968, the Davies brothers unveiled an album that was out of time. It was a pop masterpiece that was steeped in nostalgia for an Olde England and some thought it was almost backward-looking, though today it is considered one of the most influential records of its time. What’s more, it proved that there’s more to life than just Lennon/McCartney and Jagger/Richards! Following that spectacular record, their fans were wondering what could possibly come next. The idea didn’t come from either of the brother’s creative brains but in fact from the producers of Granada Television who commissioned them for… a rock opera! The plot takes place in post-war England and revolves around Arthur, a carpet-layer who emigrates with his family to Australia as he struggles to find his place in the world. The story was inspired by the Davies brothers’ older sister Rose who moved down under in 1964 with her husband Arthur. Her move left a mark on Ray, who later composed Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home in 1966 for the album Face to Face. In any case, it provided more than enough material for the English songwriter to produce these deliciously crazy and ironic songs. In the end, the film was never shot and so Arthur was released in October 1969 with no visual aid.

Almost as brilliant and nostalgic as , the record’s instrumental richness, skillful songwriting and intelligent compositions went to prove once again that The Kinks were just as creative as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. On Shangri-La, one of their most impressive compositions, the Davies brothers mix pop, rock and blues. Dave’s guitar playing is particularly impressive, revealing both thick riffs (Brainwashed) and intricate ballads (Young and Innocent Days). Unfortunately, the public didn’t exactly lap up the unusual, daring songs of this baroque farandole, instead opting for The Who’s Tommy. Though fortunately, time has been kind to Arthur and today the record is considered a genuine masterpiece. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

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Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire

The Kinks

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1
Victoria
00:03:40

Raymond Douglas Davies, Composer, Writer - Ray Davies, Producer, Writer - The Kinks, MainArtist

© 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company ℗ 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

2
Yes Sir, No Sir
00:03:48

Ray Davies, Producer, Writer - The Kinks, MainArtist

© 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company ℗ 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

3
Some Mother's Son
00:03:28

Ray Davies, Producer, Writer - The Kinks, MainArtist

© 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company ℗ 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

4
Drivin'
00:03:21

Ray Davies, Producer, Writer - The Kinks, MainArtist

© 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company ℗ 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

5
Brainwashed
00:02:36

Raymond Douglas Davies, Composer, Writer - Ray Davies, Producer, Writer - The Kinks, MainArtist

© 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company ℗ 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

6
Australia
00:06:47

Ray Davies, Producer, Writer - The Kinks, MainArtist

© 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company ℗ 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

7
Shangri-La
00:05:23

Raymond Douglas Davies, Composer, Lyricist - Ray Davies, Producer, Writer - The Kinks, MainArtist

© 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company ℗ 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

8
Mr. Churchill Says
00:04:42

Ray Davies, Producer, Writer - The Kinks, MainArtist

© 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company ℗ 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

9
She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina
00:03:07

Raymond Douglas Davies, Composer, Writer - Ray Davies, Producer, Writer - The Kinks, MainArtist

© 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company ℗ 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

10
Young and Innocent Days
00:03:20

Ray Davies, Producer, Writer - The Kinks, MainArtist

© 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company ℗ 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

11
Nothing to Say
00:03:11

Ray Davies, Producer, Writer - The Kinks, MainArtist

© 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company ℗ 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

12
Arthur
00:05:26

Ray Davies, Producer, Writer - The Kinks, MainArtist

© 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company ℗ 1969 Sanctuary Records Group Ltd., a BMG Company

Album Description

When The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society was released in November 1968, the Davies brothers unveiled an album that was out of time. It was a pop masterpiece that was steeped in nostalgia for an Olde England and some thought it was almost backward-looking, though today it is considered one of the most influential records of its time. What’s more, it proved that there’s more to life than just Lennon/McCartney and Jagger/Richards! Following that spectacular record, their fans were wondering what could possibly come next. The idea didn’t come from either of the brother’s creative brains but in fact from the producers of Granada Television who commissioned them for… a rock opera! The plot takes place in post-war England and revolves around Arthur, a carpet-layer who emigrates with his family to Australia as he struggles to find his place in the world. The story was inspired by the Davies brothers’ older sister Rose who moved down under in 1964 with her husband Arthur. Her move left a mark on Ray, who later composed Rosie Won’t You Please Come Home in 1966 for the album Face to Face. In any case, it provided more than enough material for the English songwriter to produce these deliciously crazy and ironic songs. In the end, the film was never shot and so Arthur was released in October 1969 with no visual aid.

Almost as brilliant and nostalgic as , the record’s instrumental richness, skillful songwriting and intelligent compositions went to prove once again that The Kinks were just as creative as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. On Shangri-La, one of their most impressive compositions, the Davies brothers mix pop, rock and blues. Dave’s guitar playing is particularly impressive, revealing both thick riffs (Brainwashed) and intricate ballads (Young and Innocent Days). Unfortunately, the public didn’t exactly lap up the unusual, daring songs of this baroque farandole, instead opting for The Who’s Tommy. Though fortunately, time has been kind to Arthur and today the record is considered a genuine masterpiece. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

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