Mr. Churchill Says
|"Mr. Churchill Says"|
|Single by The Kinks|
|from the album Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)|
|A-side||"Victoria" (R. Davies)|
|Released||12 December 1969 (UK)|
|Format||7" vinyl B-side|
|Recorded||May–June 1969 at Pye Studios (No. 2), London|
|Genre||Blues rock, folk rock, hard rock, progressive rock|
|Label||Pye 7N 17865|
|The Kinks singles chronology|
"Mr. Churchill Says" is a song written by Ray Davies and released by The Kinks. It appears on the album Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire).
Lyrics and Music
The song is about the struggle of World War II on the people of Great Britain. The song paraphrases parts of several of Prime Minister Winston Churchill's famous speeches including Never was so much owed by so many to so few, We shall fight on the beaches and This was their finest hour. In addition to Winston Churchill, the song mentions several other political, military and popular figures who were prominent during the war including Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook, Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, Louis Mountbatten and Vera Lynn (quoting her song "We'll Meet Again").
The song features a striking example of integration of sound effects into an arrangement, in this case a vintage air-raid siren which introduces a new section. The Kinks had been experimenting with the use of sound effects since the 1966 Face to Face album. Ray Davies is also featured on lead vocals.
When talking about the song (and Churchill himself) Ray Davies stated, "Today TV exposed weaknesses in politicians ... But I don't know about Winston Churchill. He may have been a bit more ruthless than we've been lead to believe. When the battle's over and you've won, you always look good. But what was achieved by it?"
Release and Reception
"Mr. Churchill Says" was first released as the second track on the second side of Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), where it followed "Shangri-La". However, it saw single release on 12 December 1969, where it was released as the B-side of the "Victoria" single in Britain.
Unlike other tracks on Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), "Mr. Churchill Says" has generally received mixed reviews from critics. Rolling Stone's J.R. Young praised the track, saying that "on "Mr. Churchill Says" the band moves effortlessly into a three or four part number, changing the tempo, the mood, and the melody while never losing a superb dancing beat." However, in his book, Preservation: The Kinks' Music 1964 - 1974, Andrew Hickey said that the track is "one of the lesser songs on the album, but a necessary breather after the intensity of 'Shangri-La'."
- Kitts, Thomas M. (2014-05-25). Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else.
- Young, J.R. "Rolling Stone". Retrieved 2014-05-26.
- Hickey, Andrew. Preservation: The Kinks' Music 1964 - 1974.
- Official Ray Davies Web Site
- The Official Ray Davies Forum - "The Old Grey Board"
- The Official Ray Davies Forum on YouTube