Saturday, December 6, 2014

I'm Not Like Everybody Else

A great, great rock song from the B side of the 1966 single Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks, their last US hit until Lola in 1970 (which, with the lyric "I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man, and so is Lola" raised the eternal question; was Lola glad or a man?).  For more on what happened to The Kinks during those four years see Kinkdom.

For the youngsters out there 45 rpm records used to come out with an A side (with the hope that the disc jockeys would play it and make it a hit) and a B side, usually a throwaway tune because you had to have something on the other side of the 45 and often not included in the followup album if the A side became a hit.  The only exception in the 60s were The Beatles who often had both sides become hits (see Beatles/Stones Face Off).

THC remembers buying Sunny Afternoon, taking it home and listening to it a few times and then turning it over to see what the B side sounded like.   From the first 30 seconds he was hooked and played it repeatedly.  The song became unexpectedly popular with fans of The Kinks (admittedly a pretty small group at the time) and over the years became a highlight of the band's stage shows.  It's been covered by many other artists over years and was even played over the closing credits in an episode of The Sopranos.

At the meta level it is also interesting to think about how The Kinks (and Dave and Ray Davies in their solo careers) have made the song a singalong in their concerts.  It is a little unnerving to see hundreds or thousands of people chanting in unison "I'm not like everybody else"; who are they referring to?

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