1001 Songs Challenge #193: Sunny Afternoon (1966)
On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon (1966)
Back in the UK, dear reader! We seem to be shifting between the US and the UK a lot at the moment. It’s an intense competition between the two and I suspect it is only going to get worse as this decade continues. I’m not sure I can handle the pace. Today, we have a second appearance from The Kinks who previously graced this list with You Really Got Me, a hard rock number, but today they have shifted away from that style and gone for something more music hall related, very different to how the group started. The song in question is Sunny Afternoon. Don’t get many of those in the UK.
In a similar vein to The Beatles’ Taxman from the Revolver album, Sunny Afternoon is all about an aristocrat who has fallen on hard times due to changes in the tax system. He has been forced to cough up a lot more money, being a big earner and all that, so much so that he still has his stately home but not much else, not even his yacht. Bless. All he can do is enjoy the sunny afternoon of the title and be lazy. Don’t be too sympathetic with the rich man, dear reader, for we learn his girlfriend has left him due to “drunkenness and cruelty” (from him, not her) so any attachment you may have had is probably gone now. This guy had more money than he knew what to do with but the taxman has taken what is owed to the state. Maybe he should have managed his finances better.
I do love this one from The Kinks. It was a brave move for them to branch off, musically, in a different direction but it’s one of the reasons why they are so renowned today. Many more great songs were still to come, such as Waterloo Sunset, but Sunny Afternoon is a masterclass from their back catalogue. It sounds such a pleasant number but when you dig deep into the lyrics you find it is anything but. Will this be the last we see of The Kinks? I suspect not.
Favourite songs so far:
Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues (1958)
The Everly Brothers – All I Have to Do Is Dream (1958)
Ben E. King – Stand By Me (1961)
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
The Mamas & The Papas – California Dreamin’ (1965)
The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1965)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody (1965)
The Who – Substitute (1966)
The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon (1966)