See My Friends

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For the 2010 Ray Davies album, see See My Friends (album).
"See My Friends"
See My Friends cover.jpg
Single by The Kinks
B-side "Never Met a Girl Like You Before"
Released 30 July 1965
29 September 1965 (US)
Format 7" vinyl
Genre Psychedelic rock, raga rock
Label Pye 7N 15919
Reprise 0409 (US)
Writer(s) Ray Davies
Producer(s) Shel Talmy
The Kinks singles chronology
"Set Me Free"
"Who'll Be the Next in Line"
(US, 1965)
"See My Friends"
"Till the End of the Day"
(UK, 1965)
"A Well Respected Man"
(Ex-UK, 1965)

"See My Friends" is a song by The Kinks, written by the group's singer and guitarist, Ray Davies. Released in 1965, it reached #10 on the UK Singles Chart. A rare foray into psychedelic rock for the group, it is credited by Jonathan Bellman as the first Western rock song to integrate Indian raga sounds, being released four months before the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)".[1]

The song is sometimes mistitled "See My Friend", because this is how the song was identified on the initial UK single pressing. However, the website of Kassner Music,[2] which owns the publishing rights to the song, specifies the title as "See My Friends",[3] which are also the words Davies clearly sings throughout the track. Most subsequent issues of the song have borne the more familiar "See My Friends" title.

Ray Davies has been heard to say the song is about the death of his older sister, Rene, who lived for a time in Ontario, Canada. Upon her return to England she fell ill due to an undiagnosed hole in her heart and died while dancing at a night club. Just before she died, he has said, she gave him his first guitar for his 13th birthday.

Inspiration for the song came from a stopover in Bombay during The Kinks' 1965 Asian tour, where the jetlagged Davies encountered fishermen chanting on their way to their morning work.[4]

Ray Davies, at the time of the song's release, expressed disappointment toward the single's lukewarm reception, saying "[It's] the only one I've really liked, and they're not buying it. You know, I put everything I've got into it ... I can't even remember what the last one ["Set Me Free"] was called - nothing. It makes me think they must be morons or something. Look, I'm not a great singer, nor a great writer, not a great musician. But I do give everything I have ... and I did for this disc."[5]

Shel Talmy, who was the producer of the record "See My Friends", says in different interviews that the song had been inspired by Jon Mark.[6][7][8]



  1. ^ Jonathan Bellman. The Exotic in Western Music. Lebanon, New Hampshire. 1998.
  2. ^ Kassner Music
  3. ^ Kassner Associated Publishers Ltd
  4. ^ Bellman, Jonathan (1998). p. 294
  5. ^ Hinman 2004, pp. 64.
  6. ^ Shel Talmy Interview.
  7. ^ Shel Talmy Interview: Part Two.
  8. ^ Shel Talmy interviewed by Artie Wayne, Part Two.


  • Bellman, Jonathan (1998). The Exotic in Western Music. Lebanon, NH: UPNE. ISBN 1-55553-319-1. 
  • 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. 

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