The Kinks-inspired stage show Sunny Afternoon won Best Musical at the Olivier Awards (the British equivalent of the Tonys) on Sunday night, while Ray Davies won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music for his work on the show’s score.
Accepting his award, Davies said, “When you write songs you write about people. Without people we have no plays, we have no films. People are the source of my material. Next time you’re sitting in a park and you see someone like me looking at you, don’t phone the police—I’m just writing about you.”
The show was written by dramatist Joe Penhall and tells the story of the early life of brothers Ray and Dave Davies and their band The Kinks. The actors who play Ray and Dave, John Dagleish and George Maguire, won Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively.
Sunny Afternoon brings together over 30 of The Kinks’ songs including “You Really Got Me,” “Dedicated Follower of Fashion,” “I Go To Sleep,” “Waterloo Sunset,” and tracks from the concept albums Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One (1970) and Everybody’s in Show-Biz (1972).
During his time with The Kinks, Ray Davies began to move away from writing singles to concentrating on concept albums/musicals, most notably The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968), Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) (1969) (which was tied-in to a television drama), Preservation Act 1 (1973), Preservation Act 2 (1974), Soap Opera (1975) (which was made into a TV musical Starmaker), and later the film Return to Waterloo (1984), which Davies wrote and directed.
Davies’ shift towards more theatrically-inspired albums came after the disappointing response to The Kinks’ ninth studio album Muswell Hillbillies (1971). In April 1972, The Kinks were touring and promoting that record when they appeared on German TV’s Beat Club, where they performed a selection of tracks from the album and more. This was The Kinks last recording session for the show, with Beat Club going off air later that year. In total, eleven songs were performed by the band, though only one (“Muswell Hillbillies”) was ever aired.
In spring 2009, Radio Bremen presented a “new” transfer that collected together all the known clips from the session, including previously unseen performances of “Holiday” and “Alcohol.” Taken from that package comes this edited version of The Kinks’ Beat Club session, presenting six of the tracks performed: “Lola,” “Holiday,” “Alcohol,” “Skin and Bones,” “Muswell Hillbillies” and “You Really Got Me.”