Sunday, September 20, 2015

Musical Interlude: Come Dancing (1982-3)

The early years of MTV not only enabled a new generation of artists to emerge, but it also allowed veteran acts to, ah, reintroduce themselves to a new generation of fans.

While the pipeline of music from the UK to the US remained intact with the emergence of David Bowie and Elton John at the end of the 60's-early 70's, and the punk rock movement pioneered by the Sex Pistols and Clash in the late 70's, the next wave represented a return to soft rock (Duran Duran, Howard Jones), and revived interest in 60's stalwarts the Who and the Kinks.

In 1982, the Kinks released "State of Confusion", and while the title track gained some airplay on album-oriented rock stations (AOR), the band scored its biggest hit since "Tired of Waiting For You" when "Come Dancing" peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring & summer of 1983.

The video is a semi-biographical bit as Ray Davies spins the tale of his older sister going out on a date with a suitor (Ray Davies with a fake mustache and a pinstriped "spiv" suit, which might've been a variant on the zoot suits that were popular here in the 40's). The final bit with the washer women on stage is priceless. Davies would revisit the "spiv" character in subsequent videos, including the follow-up, "Don't Forget to Dance".

Here's "Come Dancing":


magicdog said...

I still love this song! It has a retro appeal in many ways - especially the keyboards.

You're correct in this tune being somewhat autobiographical. Ray's oldest sister and he were quite close when he was a child (I think there was about a decade between them in age) and she gave him his first guitar as a gift. I'd read elsewhere that he had given his sister a happier ending in the song than she had in real life; she died on the dance floor of the Palais Dance Hall while visiting her family. She had a weak heart and she collapsed during a dance set.

I'm sure if she had lived, the ending of the song (in which she has daughters who make her wait up at night with worry) would have certainly come true! Always does when you go from freewheeling single person to concerned parent.

hobbyfan said...

I used to think that was Dave wearing the zoot suit, not Ray, but it turns out I was wrong. More Kinks down the line.....