Ray Davies - Waterloo Sunset

HideShow resource information

Background Information and performance circumstances

  • written by English singer, guitarist and song writer Ray Davis (born 1944)
  • released by his band - the Kinks in May 1967
  • reached number 2 in the British charts
  • very sucessful in Australia, New Zealand and Europe but failed to make the chart sin the USA - specific British references
  • much early 1960s pop music in Britian was strongly influenced by American Rhythm and Blues and Rock 'n' Roll, British bands (esp. the Beatles and the Kinks) had by 1967 established a style which was more individual, and less reliant on Blues influences
  • the song lyrics reference London landmarks, such as Waterloo station, and are very different in nature from the traditional love songs that dominated pop music at the time
  • the song includes a narrative element, like a ballad, as told from the viewpoint of a slightly detatched outsider, who seems to need nothing more in life than to be able to observe the movement of crowds around London, and of course, the 'Waterloo sunset'
  • Terry and Julie, the couple mentioned in the song, were long assumed to be, sixtires icons Terence Stamp and Julie Christie, but Davies has since made statements in interviews suggesting that they were variously his sister and her boyfriend, or that Terry was his nephew, Terry Davies
  • Davies also claimed in 2010, that the original title was 'Liverpool Sunset', opening up the possibility that the Liverpool suburb of Waterloo was in his mind when working on early drafts

Performing forces and their handling

  • the Kinks were, at this time, a 4 piece 'beat combo'/group - Ray Davies (lead vocals and acoustic guitar), his brother David (lead guitar and backing vocals), Pete Quaife (bass guitar and backing vocals), and Mick Avory (drums) w/ female backing vocals for this, and a lot of Kinks tracks of the period, were provided by Rasa Dodzpetris, Ray Davie's first wife
  • Ray Davies' lead vocals on this track are restrained and 'English', avoiding strident vocal tone, slides and growls of the rhythm and blues styles - the tone quality of the main vocal line is slightly clipped and 'tinny' (a result of double tracking? meaning that the part is recorded onto two tracks, which are then played back together)
  • main vocal line has a range of a thirteenth (B-G#) and at the top end Davies often uses the falsetto range of his voice
  • the backing vocals sing throughout almost all of the song, providing a mixture of sustained 'oo's and punctuating 'La's and 'Sha la la's - this **** style backing provides a smooth and stylish foil to the words, while the 'Sha la la' in bars 24 and 28 acts as an effective link into the verse, and during the fade. on both occasions, they imitate the lead vocals 'Waterloo Sunset's fine'
  • lead guitar part is prominent from the very beginning of the track, where the quality of the sound chosen is evident both in the dominant pedal of bars 1-4 and in the…


No comments have yet been made

Similar Music resources:

See all Music resources »See all Developing Musical Understanding resources »