03 March 2021 | James Porteous | Clipper Media
The Kinks’ 1968 album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society failed to chart on release but it went on to become one of the most influential and important works in rock.
Now, more than 50 years later, The Kinks: Echoes of a World – The Story of the Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society takes a closer look at the album’s creation.
Set to the context of the time, the musical documentary explores the secret of the album’s enduring appeal and how it overcame its inauspicious start to become one of the best-loved albums of all time.
Featuring new interviews with members Ray Davies, Dave Davies and Mick Avory, the program also includes songs from the album as well as classics like “You Really Got Me,” “All Day and All of the Night,” and “A Well Respected Man.”
Watch: The Kinks: Echoes of a World – The Story of the Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (2018)
UK and US version
All tracks are written by Ray Davies.
|1.||“The Village Green Preservation Society“||2:45|
|2.||“Do You Remember Walter?“||2:23|
|5.||“Last of the Steam-Powered Trains“||4:03|
|7.||“Sitting by the Riverside“||2:21|
|4.||“Phenomenal Cat” (spelled “Phenominal Cat” on the LP sleeve)||2:34|
|5.||“All of My Friends Were There“||2:23|
|8.||“People Take Pictures of Each Other“|
Song and album notes (Wikipedia)
In late summer of 1968, the Kinks had hoped to release the album as a two-record set with 20 tracks, but Pye Records rejected this plan. A twelve-track version of the album was released in September 1968 throughout certain European markets; these are now valuable collector’s items. Production of this version was quickly halted at Ray Davies’s insistence and the final revamped fifteen-track version was released in the UK in November 1968.
U.S. record label Reprise had intended to release many of album’s tracks on a separate Kinks album titled Four More Respected Gentlemen sometime in mid-1968 to fulfil a contractual album obligation. This was in the final stages of pre-production when Reprise dropped all plans to issue it, based on the strength of the forthcoming Village Green album.
The photography used for the album art was shot in August 1968 on Parliament Hill, a part of Hampstead Heath, North London.
“Starstruck” was released as a single in Europe and the United States, and charted in The Netherlands, peaking at #13. This is the only appearance of any track from the album on the hit parade in any country.
A promotional film was shot for “Starstruck” in late 1968 in Kenwood (another part of Hampstead Heath) for the overseas promotion of the single, and has since been re-used in various Kinks bios. The only other surviving contemporary footage of the band performing Village Green songs is their January 1969 spot on the TV music programme “Once More with Felix“, on which they were seen performing “Last Of the Steam-Powered Trains” and “Picture Book” in colour. This clip, long believed lost, came to light in 2007.
Today, the album is both consistently available on US Reprise CD (since 1990) and on Vinyl (It began being repressed in 2018 in conjunction with the albums 50 year anniversary), the album is reported to be the best-selling non-compilation album in the Kinks’ catalogue. Ray Davies has recently referred to it as the “most successful flop of all time”.
“Picture Book“, the flip side of the U.S. single “Starstruck“, became popular after it was used in a 2004 television commercial for Hewlett-Packard digital imaging products.
“The Village Green Preservation Society” and “Village Green” were used in the 2007 British comedy Hot Fuzz.