Come Dancing (song)
US 7" 45 Cover
|Single by The Kinks|
|from the album State of Confusion|
|Released|| 19 November 1982
21 April 1983
|Format||7" single, 12" single|
|Recorded||October 1982 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London|
|Genre||Pop rock, new wave|
|Length||3:54 (LP version), 4:27 (12" single)
3:59 (UK 7" single), 3:44 (US single)
|Label||Arista ARIST 502 (U.K.)
Arista AS 1054 (U.S.)
|The Kinks singles chronology|
Song themes and meaning
The song is a nostalgic look back at childhood memories of its writer: the Kinks' frontman Ray Davies, remembering his older sister going on dates to the local Palais dance hall where big bands would play. The lyrics tell how the Palais has been demolished and his sister now has her own daughters who are going on dates.
"Come Dancing" is a tribute to Davies' sister Rene who bought him his first guitar, with the song's lyrics affording Davies' sister a happy life denied her in reality. Living in Canada with her (reportedly abusive) husband, the 31-year-old Rene was visiting her parental home in Fortis Green at the time of Ray Davies' thirteenth birthday — 21 June 1957 — on which she surprised him with a gift of the Spanish guitar he'd tried to persuade his parents to buy him. On the evening of the same day, Rene — who had a weak heart as a result of a childhood bout of rheumatic fever — suffered a fatal heart attack while dancing at the Lyceum ballroom.
Recording and release history
Ray Davies had been working on a film script about the British dance halls of the 1950s: it occurred to him to use that milieu as the basis of a song during a Kinks' rehearsal at Konk Studios, the recording facility in Hornsey which Ray Davies owned, with the track being recorded within the next few days. Showcasing Kinks' keyboardist Ian Gibbons in a virtuoso performance (emulating a fairground calliope), "Come Dancing" was recorded in October 1982 and a promotional music video directed by Julien Temple was shot within the month.
Overlooked in the UK in its November 1982 single release, "Come Dancing" was released as a single in the US in January 1983 over the objections of Arista Records president Clive Davis who Davies recalls "didn't want to put it out because it was too much of an English subject matter". In fact, the track's promotional video became a staple of the fledgling MTV network, which gave the single sufficient momentum to enter the Billboard Hot 100 that May, ascending to the Top 40 in June 1983 and peaking at #6 in July, making "Come Dancing" the Kinks' highest charting US single (tying "Tired of Waiting for You" from 1965).
"Come Dancing" was re-released in the UK due to the interest occasioned by a Top of the Pops broadcast which featured videos of several current US hits including "Come Dancing". The track peaked at #12 on the UK singles chart dated 27 August 1983.
"Come Dancing" also charted in Australia (#36), Belgium (Top 20), Canada (#6), Ireland (#4), the Netherlands (#25), Switzerland (#13) and Sweden (#18).
The song is available in many edits of the same version. The version included on the State of Confusion album (and used on all compilations since) is an edit running to 3:54. The full length version running to 4:27 was released on a UK 12" single with the UK and US 7" singles using different, shorter edits. A demo version (running to 4:40) was also released in 2008 on the Picture Book CD box set.
Basis for a musical
The Ray Davies song "Come Dancing" serves as the title number for a stage musical set in a 1950s music hall which premiered at the Theatre Royal Stratford East on 13 September 2008. Ray Davies had written the original version of the play in 2001; the final version of Come Dancing featured a book co-written by Davies and Paul Sirett and a score written by Davies which comprised three Kinks hits (including the title song) and a number of original songs. Davies also appeared as Narrator in the production which ran until 25 October 2008. Come Dancing was scheduled to begin a tour of Great Britain in January 2010, but this was canceled after Davies dropped out of the production.  
- Thomas M. Kitts Ray Davies: not like everybody else (2008) Routledge New York NY ISBN 0-203-93563-2 pp. 11-12
- Ottawa Citizen 2 June 1997 p.79
- Dave Davies Kink: an autobiography (1997) Hyperion NYC p.227
- Jurgensen, John (10 June 2011). "Well-Respected Man". The Wall Street Journal.
- Johhny Rogan The Complete Guide to the Music of the Kinks (1998) Omnibus Press London p.138
- Clapton, Diana. "Dave Davies - In the Spotlight". Dave Davies.
- "Ray Davies Pens Come Dancing Musical at Stratford - - News". Whatsonstage.com. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
- "Ray Davies' Musical 'Come Dancing' - 2010 UK Tour Cancelled". Allgigs.co.uk. 2010-02-05. Retrieved 2010-11-23.