The 4th chart-topping single of 1965 is a bit of a Ctrl-Alt-Del moment. The first three #1s have felt like a mini revolution in all their Latin-soul, jazzy, glossy-pop glory. You could have been forgiven for asking: Is the Beat movement dead already?
Tired of Waiting for You, by The Kinks (their 2nd of three #1s)
1 week, from 18th – 25th February 1965
Of course it isn’t. The Kinks are swooping in to save the day for all the boys with guitars out there. A wonky, woozy intro – it feels kind of like you’re floating on a swing on a hot summer’s day – then in comes Ray Davies… So tired, Tired of waiting, Tired of waiting for you… (On a side note, I’ve always thought that Davies sings with a strange accent – as if English wasn’t his first language. Kind of Indian sounding. It’s really noticeable here…)
Anyway, he’s being kept waiting by a girl. And not ‘waiting’ as in she’s late for a movie. Waiting as in waiting. I was a lonely soul, I had nobody till I met you, But you keep-a me waiting, All of the time, What can I do? He might be waiting for a declaration of love; or waiting for you-know-what, like a horny teenager. Who knows?
I mentioned in my post on ‘You Really Got Me’ that that song, while being one of The Kink’s biggest and best known hits, isn’t really indicative of their sound. ‘Tired of Waiting for You’ is much more Kinks-y to me, especially when the band harmonise on the bridge: It’s your life, And you can do what you want… There are hints of ‘Waterloo Sunset’ there – and I can mention/link to that song now as it – unbelievably – won’t be featuring in this countdown. One of the great chart-travesties, that. I’m also getting a Searchers-vibe in the song’s chiming melancholy, too.
The edge is still there, though. The crunchy guitars that blasted their way through ‘You Really Got Me’ are barking in the background, especially in the build-up to the final chorus, as Davies pleads Please don’t keep me waiting… It’s a song about frustration, albeit politely voiced frustration. It’s like the polite cousin of ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’… (Now there’s a song which we will be meeting on this countdown – hurrah!)
The Kinks will have one more number one, and several more famous songs that don’t make the chart summit. But I’ve enjoyed re-hearing this one. I had a Kinks’ Greatest Hits on CD as a kid, and while I knew this song I’ve never really listened to it in much detail. It’s a nicely forgotten chart-topper from an ever so slightly under-rated band. And coming as it does, in early 1965, as pop music races to evolve and improve at a staggering pace, it already sounds like a bit of a throwback.