The Kinks’ Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire

The Kinks’ Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire

Posted 29 Oct 2019
the kinks
Ray Davies, Mick Avory and Dave Davies of The Kinks. Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.

We’re taking a look back at The Kinks’ 7th studio album, Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire which was released in October 1969, and celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. The album exemplifies one of the most creative periods of The Kinks’ longstanding history and is a prime example of Ray Davie’s incredible knack to weave complex stories into catchy songs. 

At the time, the band’s previous album, 1968’s The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society had failed to chart in the U.S. and was their lowest-selling record in their native U.K., but they certainly didn’t seem to let the setback stand in their way. Instead, they forged new ground to produce one the first-ever narrative-driven concept albums. 

The Kinks | Arthur: The Full Trailer

The Arthur narrative was inspired by Ray and Dave Davies' sister and brother-in-law, Rose and Arthur Anning, emigrating to Australia in 1964. Collectively, the songs delve deep into the life story of Arthur Morgan – a carpet layer who wrestles with classism, family life, the turmoil of post-war England, and the promised prosperity of a new life in Australia. The details of the story are explained in an accompanying booklet, but, being the great concept album that it is, you don’t really need the background info to appreciate the songs. Davies taps into themes relating to Britishness and class, that are arguably just as relevant today as they were in 1969. 

The Kinks | “Yes Sir, No Sir”

From the hard-hitting "Brainwashed" to the sonically luscious and light, "Drivin'" and "Australia", Arthur is a poppy, orchestral masterpiece, deeply self-reflective and sharply political. Rolling Stone Wrote: “Arthur is a masterpiece on every level, Ray Davies’ finest hour. The Kinks’ supreme achievement and the best British album of 1969.”

The Kinks | “Australia” [2019 Mix] [Official Audio]

To mark 50 years since the release of this pioneering rock musical, The Kinks have announced a special anniversary reissue of Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire. In addition to stereo and mono mixes of Arthur, you get a ton of bonus selections! Including, 4 CDs comprising of 81 tracks in total, 5 of them unreleased and 28 previously unreleased versions; 2019 remastered versions of the original album, mono and stereo single versions, B-sides, alternate mono and stereo mixes, rehearsal tracks, BBC mixes and the lost Dave Davies’ solo album. 

Also included is a 68-page softback book has also been included, featuring extensive essays by world-renowned Kinks experts; new interviews with Ray Davies, Dave Davies and Mick Avory, as well as band photos, original release international cover artwork and printed memorabilia. It’s a must-have for any Kinks fan! 

Check out the Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire 50th Anniversary box set HERE

“Ray Davies’ finest hour... beautifully British to the core.” – Melody Maker.

Listen to the Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire on Spotify:

Listen to the Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire on Apple Music:

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