The Kinks – I’m Not Like Everybody Else

TheKinks

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

History is littered with obscure tracks and b-sides by artists that far exceed the standards of the artists’ singles & album tracks. The Cure, Joy Division, New Order, Oasis, The Beatles – those are just a few of the major bands that made it a practice to keep up high quality no matter where the song was being released. The summer of ’66 saw The Kinks release the single Sunny Afternoon backed by I’m Not Like Everybody Else. The A side was a a slice of musical hall whimsy that was a hit single. The B side – well, it just might be the best B side in history. A stunning slab of garage rock, it bears traces of the punk movement that would come into focus a decade later. Written by Ray Davies but sung by his brother Dave, it is an anomaly in The Kinks discography. It has that timeless quality – the lyrics might be directed at a woman, but you can sing along and use the chorus to reaffirm everything that makes you unique. Anger, isolation, and sweetness collide in winning fashion. A revamped version was cut in the mid 90’s with Ray Davies singing instead of Dave, and it also added a bit of hard rock muscle – this was the version used in the hit show The Sopranos. I like both versions, but prefer the original. Notably, the song has also been covered by the Television Personalities and Peter Perrett’s post The Only Ones band, The One. “If you all want me to settle down / Slow up and stop all my running ’round / Do everything like you want me to / There’s one thing that I will say to you / I’m not like everybody else / I’m not like everybody else”

The Monkees – Randy Scouse Git

monkeesAttack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

When knowledgeable people discuss groundbreaking music from the 60’s you get your usual suspects – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Love, The Who, Buffalo Springfield….and maybe someone will mention Skip Spence or Moby Grape. The Monkees? Almost never. Manufactured pop group that slowly faded away by the early 70’s that had some great singles. I think that might be the common view (though it seems like it is slowly changing). My opinion? The Monkees were one of THE greatest groups of the 60’s. 4 distinctive voices with a variety of styles on each record – these guys were incredible. My favorite song by The Monkees (and one of my favorites of all time) is “Randy Scouse Git”. A ridiculously catchy drum beat followed by what I’d describe as a pop-waltz introduction with sweet vocals by Micky Dolenz (who also wrote the song). A loose word association game in the lyrics before exploding in the shouted chorus – a preview of the punk rock era that would make its mark on the world less than a decade later. A bid to be taken seriously and inspired by an encounter with The Beatles, this track still makes my jaw drop every time I listen to it. The track was taken from the Headquarters record and was a #5 hit in the UK (and was retitled “Alternate Title” as the song’s title means…well…horny bastard from Liverpool). I had the honor of seeing this track played live by Mickey Dolenz twice – the 1st in 1996 with The Monkees, and the 2nd just last year on his solo tour (in tribute to the fallen Monkee, Davy Jones). Each time he introduced the song with a charming story about the 1st time he met John Lennon and how it tied into everything that was happening with The Monkees in the late 60’s. An incredible performer, those two shows rank highly on my mental “favorite shows of all time”. The chorus puts you back in the turmoil of the late 60’s, with lyrics resonating from an unlikely source:

Why don’t you cut your hair?
Why don’t you live up there?
Why don’t you do what I do,
See what I feel when I care?
Why don’t you be like me?
Why don’t you stop and see?
Why don’t you hate who I hate,
Kill who I kill to be free.