Misfits (The Kinks album)

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Studio album by The Kinks
Released 19 May 1978
Recorded July 1977 - January 1978 at Konk Studios, London
Genre Rock
Length 40:29
Label Arista
Producer Ray Davies
The Kinks chronology
Low Budget
Singles from Misfits
  1. "A Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy"
    Released: 19 May 1978
  2. "Live Life"
    Released: 14 July 1978
  3. "Black Messiah"
    Released: 29 September 1978 (UK)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Blender 3/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau (B)[3]
Rolling Stone (favourable)[4]

Misfits is the sixteenth studio album by the English rock group The Kinks, released in 1978. Following the minor success of Sleepwalker in the United States, Misfits featured a more rock-oriented style than many other Kinks records of the 1970s. Despite internal conflicts within the band, leading to both bassist Andy Pyle and pianist John Gosling quitting the band, the album made the Top 40 in America. The album also contained the minor hit single "A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy", as well as less successful releases "Live Life" and "Black Messiah".


Misfits was the second album the band recorded for Arista Records, the record company the band switched to from RCA Records in 1976. Although the band had spent a good portion of the 1970s releasing concept albums, their previous album, Sleepwalker, signaled a shift toward more rock based material. In addition, the album began the band's commercial comeback in the US, the album reaching #21 and its title track peaking at #48.[5] However, after the recording of said album, longtime bassist John Dalton quit the band, being replaced by Andy Pyle. The personnel shifts, however, would continue into the recording of Misfits, where Pyle and the band's pianist, John Gosling, both left the band.


Many of the album's songs, such as "Hay Fever", "In a Foreign Land", and "Black Messiah", were leftovers from the band's previous 1977 album, Sleepwalker.[6] "In a Foreign Land", specifically, was in the planned running order until late in recording, being replaced with the late addition "Mr. Big Man".[6]

The album was recorded at Konk Studios in London following the band's tumultuous 1977 tour.[7] Due to conflicts between Ray Davies and Pyle, the latter began contemplating leaving the band. Gosling, also wanting to leave the band since Dalton's resignation, began to work with Pyle over plans to form another band.[8] However, when Ray Davies, caught wind of the project, he began to intervene.[8] Gosling remembered, "We [me and Pyle] rehearsed and held auditions at the Bridge House pub in Canning Town. It was exhilarating, like starting over. But Ray somehow found out and started giving me a hard time during my last overdub sessions for Misfits."[8] Eventually, both members departed. In addition, founding drummer Mick Avory, also considering leaving, became a less active participant, leaving Dave Davies's friend Nick Trevisick to drum on four songs and session drummer Clem Cattini to drum on "Live Life".[9] However, Avory stayed with the band until 1984. Zaine Griff and Ron Lawrence took over on bass for some songs.[10]

Release and reception[edit]

Although it was unable to chart in Britain, Misfits reached #40 in America.[1][10] The debut single from the album, "A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy", was also a minor hit in the US, reaching #30.[1] Follow-up singles "Live Life" and "Black Messiah" (the latter a British-only release), however, failed to make an impact.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Ray Davies, except as noted. 

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Misfits"     4:41
2. "Hay Fever"     3:32
3. "Live Life"     3:49
4. "A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy"     4:58
5. "In a Foreign Land"     3:03
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Permanent Waves"     3:47
2. "Black Messiah"     4:08
3. "Out of the Wardrobe"     3:35
4. "Trust Your Heart"   Dave Davies 4:11
5. "Get Up"     3:22

On the UK version of the LP, a longer version of "Live Life" (4:47) switches places with "Black Messiah". Remastered CD releases have the UK LP track order and include a shorter "Live Life" as a bonus track (different than the US version). Arista released a ten track CD (Arista 260 173) that reproduces the original, non-UK LP version.

Remastered CD
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Misfits"     4:42
2. "Hay Fever"     3:33
3. "Black Messiah"     4:08
4. "A Rock & Roll Fantasy"     4:58
5. "In a Foreign Land"     3:02
6. "Permanent Waves"     3:48
7. "Live Life"     4:47
8. "Out of the Wardrobe"     3:37
9. "Trust Your Heart"   Dave Davies 4:11
10. "Get Up"     3:22
Remastered CD bonus tracks
No. Title Length
11. "Black Messiah" (Single remix) 3:37
12. "Father Christmas"   3:42
13. "A Rock & Roll Fantasy" (US single edit) 4:01
14. "Live Life" (US single remix) 3:47

Musicians and production[edit]

The Kinks

  • Ray Davies: vocals, guitar, piano, synthesizer
  • Dave Davies: lead guitar, vocals (lead vocals on "Trust Your Heart")
  • Mick Avory: drums except as noted
  • Andy Pyle: bass guitar except as noted
  • John Gosling: piano, organ, synthesizer
  • John Dalton: bass guitar on "In a Foreign Land"

Other musicians

  • Ron Lawrence: bass guitar on "Live Life", "A Rock & Roll Fantasy" and "Get Up"
  • Nick Trevisik: drums on "Trust Your Heart", "A Rock & Roll Fantasy" and "Get Up"
  • Zaine Griff: bass guitar overdubs
  • Clem Cattini: drum overdubs
  • John Beecham: trombone on "Black Messiah"
  • Nick Newall: clarinet on "Black Messiah"
  • Mike Cotton: trumpet on "Black Messiah"


  • Written and Produced by Raymond Douglas Davies
  • Engineered by Steve Waldman
  • Photography - James Wedge



  1. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Kinks: Misfits > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  2. ^ Blender review[dead link]
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "The Kinks". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Emerson, Ken (12 July 1978). "The Kinks: Misfits". Rolling Stone (Straight Arrow) (RS 269). ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. 
  5. ^ Jovanovic 2014, pp. 229.
  6. ^ a b Hinman 2004, pp. 206.
  7. ^ Jovanovic 2014, pp. 230.
  8. ^ a b c Jovanovic 2014, pp. 231.
  9. ^ Jovanovic 2014, pp. 232.
  10. ^ a b Jovanovic 2014, pp. 233.


  • 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. 
  • Jovanovic, Rob (2014). God Save The Kinks: A Biography. Aurum Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1781311646. 
  • The Kinks - Misfits at Discogs (list of releases)