See My Friends
|"See My Friends"|
|Single by The Kinks|
|B-side||"Never Met a Girl Like You Before"|
|Released||30 July 1965
29 September 1965 (US)
|Genre||Psychedelic rock, raga rock|
|Label||Pye 7N 15919
Reprise 0409 (US)
|The Kinks singles chronology|
"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)".
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, which owns the publishing rights to the song, specifies the title as "See My Friends", 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.
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."
- The Records recorded a cover of the song which appears on a bonus EP included with their debut album Shades in Bed.
- Richard Thompson on his 2003 live album 1000 Years of Popular Music.
- 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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