28/9/17 – Dave Davies / The Kinks – Death Of A Clown – 1967

Video Of The Day

Song Of The Day

Life & Death

As I sit here in the archive, playing an American copy of The Kinks’ 1967 album Something Else on the Reprise label, I’m in awe at how prolific Ray Davies was as a writer – but on this album it wasn’t just Ray. Although The Kinks first album, released in 1964, had been made up of covers and Ray Davies originals, including the classics, You Really Got Me and Stop Your Sobbing (later recorded by The Pretenders on their debut) it wasn’t till the previous album Face To Face, released in 1966, that Ray had written all of the songs.

Can you imagine how difficult it must have been being in a band with such a talented, unique and prolific writer as Ray Davies? But, not only was Dave Davies the main writer on Death Of A Clown (Ray did also get a credit) but he wrote three songs in total on the album. Dave must have felt so good to emerge from the shadow of his brothers’ talents in what was also a famously fractious relationship.

The song seems to be about the circus of The Kinks’ success and the songs’ high chart position (No.3 in the UK) made Dave Davies consider his options and contemplate a solo career. In an unusual decision the song was initially released in July of 1967 as a Dave Davies solo single but also appeared on the Something Else album released by The Kinks in September of that year. Despite Dave Davies’ hit single and the fact that the album also included what might be considered the Kinks’ and Ray Davies’ greatest ever song, Waterloo Sunset (UK No.2 in May), the album sold badly and unbelievably failed to chart.

There are two clips of the same version of Death Of A Clown below to illustrate how the song was a solo single with a video for Dave Davies but also an album track for The Kinks, the Something Else album cover is featured in the clip.

My makeup is dry and it cracks ’round my chin
I’m drowning my sorrows in whiskey and gin
The lion-tamer’s whip doesn’t crack anymore
The lions they won’t fight and the tigers won’t roar
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
So let’s all drink to the death of a clown

Won’t someone help me to break up this crown?
Let’s all drink to the death of a clown
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Let’s all drink to the death of a clown

The old fortune teller lies dead on the floor
Nobody needs fortunes told anymore
The trainer of insects is crouched on his knees
And frantically looking for runaway fleas
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Let’s all drink to the death of a clown

So won’t someone help me to break up this crown?
Let’s all drink to the death of a clown
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Let’s all drink to the death of a clown

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_a_Clown

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Something_Else_by_The_Kinks

21/5/16 – The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset – 1967

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2 Responses to “28/9/17 – Dave Davies / The Kinks – Death Of A Clown – 1967”

  1. simone September 29, 2017 at 2:26 am #

    Dave’s following single, an ode to lost love, Susannah’s Still Alive is also worth a listen. Have you heard Dave’s current album?…a collaboration with his son Russ titled Open Road, containing the understated single Path Is Long. Lovely Marty 🙂

  2. Mr Wisdoms Whopper September 30, 2017 at 2:27 am #

    There was of course the tempestuous relationship between the brothers. Dave felt undervalued perhaps?

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