A Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy
|"A Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy"|
|Single by The Kinks|
|from the album Misfits|
|B-side||"Artificial Light" (UK)
"Live Life" (US)
|Released||May 19, 1978|
|Recorded||July 1977 – January 1978 at Konk Studios, London|
|Label||Arista 189 (U.K.)
Arista AS 0342 (U.S.)
|The Kinks singles chronology|
The lyrics of "Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy" describe a man named Dan who is a huge fan of The Kinks. He engulfs himself in their music whenever he feels unhappy, "living in a rock 'n' roll fantasy". The song also details when Ray Davies and his brother Dave were thinking of breaking up The Kinks. This is evident in lyrics such as "break up the band, start a new life be a new man."
Release and Reception
The track was the first from Misfits to be released as a single. It was backed with "Artificial Light" in Britain, and "Live Life" on the U.S. version. It peaked at #30 on the Billboard Hot 100 in America, and also charted at #30 in Canada.
The track is generally cited as one of the best from Misfits. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic called the track one of the two "touchstones" of the album and named it as a highlight from the album. Ken Emerson of Rolling Stone called the song "ruthless", and went on to say, "It's a twofold fantasy: that of Davies, who'll "break up the band, start a new life, be a new man," and that of a diehard Kinks fan, Dan, who's wrapped up in their records. At its lovely beginning, the song suggests a breathy ballad by the Bee Gees, another veteran group but one that, unlike the Kinks, is now enjoying greater commercial success than ever before. As the lyrics describe Dan's rapt devotion, billowing harmonies deliberately evoke the Beach Boys, a band that seems to have soldiered on only for the sake of nostalgia. Then, as this description reaches its climax, the Kinks burst into an approximation of the sound of Boston's dense, swirling guitars. (If Boston can scarcely get it together to record a second LP, imagine how the Kinks, whose success was equally over-night, feel as they approach their twenty-second or so!) "A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy" ends with Davies insisting, "Don't want to spend my life, living in a rock 'n' roll fantasy /...Don't want to waste my life, hiding away anymore," but after nearly fifteen years as a rock & roller, it's clear that any alternative is every bit as much a fantasy. You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
It appeared on the compilation album Come Dancing with The Kinks.