Come Dancing (song)

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"Come Dancing"
US 7" 45 Cover
Single by The Kinks
from the album State of Confusion
B-side "Noise"
Released UK 19 November 1982
USA 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.)
Writer(s) Ray Davies
Producer(s) Ray Davies
The Kinks singles chronology
(UK, 1981)
"Better Things"
(US, 1981)
"Come Dancing"
"Don't Forget to Dance"
Audio sample
file info · help

"Come Dancing" is a 1982 recording by British rock group The Kinks; a 1983 hit single in both the US and the UK, the track was included on the album State of Confusion.


"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.[1] 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.[1][2]

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.

Writing and recording[edit]

Ray Davies reportedly began writing the song in March 1982 on a flight home from Tokyo using a newly purchased Casio keyboard.[3] The song was completed in London that October.[3] Ray had been working on a film script about the British dance halls of the 1950s:[4] 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. Author Nick Hasted claimed that the song was also written "to reach out to the Kinks' lost British audience."[5]

A demo for the song was created at Konk in October 1982. A master backing track with bass, acoustic guitar, and drums was made during that same month, with overdubs following.[3] Ray later said of Mick Avory's drum performance on the song, "Just keep Mick Avory nervous, and you'll get great performances from him. He's responsible for some of the great comedy drum parts. His drum roll into 'Come Dancing,' a really sharp click-click-click, then RAAH! - it's totally a beat late. It's totally unplanned, and that's what was so magical, when we were rolling."[5] Dave Davies later claimed that the recording was completed on the day after an intense argument with brother Ray.[3] Also completed that month is "Don't Forget to Dance," which competed with "Come Dancing" for the A-side of the first single from State of Confusion.[3]

Release and reception[edit]

Clive Davis didn't want to put it out, because he thought it was too vaudevillian, too English. It was only the video that convinced him. It went on MTV when it first started, and they couldn't stop rotating it.

– Ray Davies[5]

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".[6]

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".[7] 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).

Music video[edit]

A promotional music video directed by Julien Temple was shot within the month, with Ray Davies staring as the "spiv" character (a persona he would revisit in several other music videos).[3][5] Dave Davies later said of Temple, "Julian was such a posey sod, walking around in a fur coat like he was Orson Welles, even though he was only doing a promo video.[8] Local fans of the band appeared as the audience.[3]

Different edits[edit]

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.


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.[9][10]

Chart performance[edit]



  1. ^ a b Jacobs, Alan. "Come Dancing". The American Conservative. American Ideas Institute. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Kitts 2008, pp. 11-12.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Hinman 2004, p. 260.
  4. ^ Ottawa Citizen 2 June 1997 p.79
  5. ^ a b c d Hasted 2011.
  6. ^ Jurgensen, John (10 June 2011). "Well-Respected Man". The Wall Street Journal. 
  7. ^ Rogan 1998, p. 138.
  8. ^ Jovanovic 2014, pp. 243.
  9. ^ "Ray Davies Pens Come Dancing Musical at Stratford - - News". Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  10. ^ "Ray Davies' Musical 'Come Dancing' - 2010 UK Tour Cancelled". 2010-02-05. Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  11. ^ " – The Kinks – Come Dancing" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 38, No. 22, July 30 1983". RPM. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 21, 1983" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  14. ^ " – The Kinks – Come Dancing" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  15. ^ " search results". Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  16. ^ " – The Kinks – Lola". Swiss Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "KINKS". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "The Kinks awards on Allmusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "Top 100 End of Year CAN Charts - 1983". 
  20. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1970". Retrieved 2011-01-03. 


  • Davies, Dave (1998). Kink. Hyperion. ISBN 9780786882694. 
  • Hasted, Nick (2011). You Really Got Me: The Story of the Kinks. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1849386609. 
  • Hinman, Doug (2004). The Kinks: All Day and All of the Night: Day by Day Concerts, Recordings, and Broadcasts, 1961-1996. Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0879307653. 
  • Kitts, Thomas (2008). Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else. Routledge. ISBN 0-203-93563-2. 
  • Jovanovic, Rob (2014). God Save The Kinks: A Biography. Aurum Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1781311646. 
  • Rogan, Johnny (1998). The Complete Guide to the Music of the Kinks. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780711963146. 

External links[edit]