Sunny Afternoon

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"Sunny Afternoon"
West German picture sleeve
Single by the Kinks
from the album Face to Face
B-side"I'm Not Like Everybody Else"
Released3 June 1966 (1966-06-03)
Recorded13 May 1966[1]
StudioPye, London
Songwriter(s)Ray Davies
Producer(s)Shel Talmy
The Kinks singles chronology
"Dedicated Follower of Fashion"
"Sunny Afternoon"
"Dead End Street"

"Sunny Afternoon" is a song by the Kinks, written by chief songwriter Ray Davies.[5] The track later featured on the Face to Face album as well as being the title track for their 1967 compilation album. Like its contemporary "Taxman" by the Beatles, the song references the high levels of progressive tax taken by the British Labour government of Harold Wilson.[6][7] Its strong music hall flavour and lyrical focus was part of a stylistic departure for the band (begun with 1965's "A Well Respected Man"), which had risen to fame in 1964–65 with a series of hard-driving, power-chord rock hits.[8]


"Sunny Afternoon" was written in Ray Davies' house when he was ill. He recalled:

I'd bought a white upright piano. I hadn't written for a time. I'd been ill. I was living in a very 1960s-decorated house. It had orange walls and green furniture. My one-year-old daughter was crawling on the floor and I wrote the opening riff. I remember it vividly. I was wearing a polo-neck sweater.[9]

Davies used the song's narrator to reflect on his own situation in the song's lyrics: "The only way I could interpret how I felt was through a dusty, fallen aristocrat who had come from old money as opposed to the wealth I had created for myself." In order to prevent the listener from sympathizing with the song's protagonist, Davies said, "I turned him into a scoundrel who fought with his girlfriend after a night of drunkenness and cruelty."[9]

Davies explained of the circumstances in which the song was written and recorded:

"Sunny Afternoon" was made very quickly, in the morning, it was one of our most atmospheric sessions. I still like to keep tapes of the few minutes before the final take, things that happen before the session. Maybe it's superstitious, but I believe if I had done things differently—if I had walked around the studio or gone out—it wouldn't have turned out that way. The bass player went off and started playing funny little classical things on the bass, more like a lead guitar: and Nicky Hopkins, who was playing piano on that session, was playing "Liza"—we always used to play that song—little things like that helped us get into the feeling of the song. At the time I wrote "Sunny Afternoon" I couldn't listen to anything. I was only playing the greatest hits of Frank Sinatra and Dylan's "Maggie's Farm"—I just liked its whole presence, I was playing the Bringing It All Back Home LP along with my Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller and Bach—it was a strange time. I thought they all helped one another, they went into the chromatic part that's in the back of the song. I once made a drawing of my voice on "Sunny Afternoon". It was a leaf with a very thick outline—a big blob in the background—the leaf just cutting through it.[9][10][11]

Release and reception[edit]

Released as a single on 3 June 1966, "Sunny Afternoon" went to number one on the UK Singles Chart on 7 July 1966, remaining there for two weeks.[12] The track also went to number one in Ireland on 14 July 1966. In America, it peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart early autumn 1966.[13] The promotional video for the single featured the band performing in a cold, snowy environment.

In a 1995 interview, Ray Davies recalled being surprised at the song's broad appeal, stating, "'Sunny Afternoon', I remember the record coming out and I walked into a British Legion or a pub. I thought I was in a British Legion. All these people, old soldiers and things, singing it. I was 23 years old. I said, 'Wow, all these old people really like it.' And this old guy came up and said, 'You young guys... this is the sort of music we can relate to!' I thought, Wow, this is it, it's the end (laughs)."[14]

Billboard praised the single's "off-beat music hall melody and up-to-date lyrics."[15] Cash Box said that it is a "slow-moving, blues-drenched, seasonal affair with a catchy, low-key repeating riff."[16] "Sunny Afternoon" was placed at No. 200 on Pitchfork Media's list of The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s.[17] The song was featured in and was the title song of West End musical Sunny Afternoon. It has been covered by artists including Jimmy Buffett, Stereophonics, Michael McDonald, and Michael Caruso.

Charts and certifications[edit]


According to band researcher Doug Hinman,[46] except where noted:

The Kinks

Additional musicians


  1. ^ Hinman 2004, p. 83.
  2. ^ Goldsmith 2019, p. 254; Paytress 2022.
  3. ^ Gelbart 2003, pp. 222–223.
  4. ^ "The Kinks Album Guide". Rolling Stone Magazine. 20 June 2019.
  5. ^ "6 Music - Kinks reunion exclusive". BBC. 4 October 2006. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  6. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 200.
  7. ^ Everett 2010, p. 48.
  8. ^ Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 102. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  9. ^ a b c "Sunny Afternoon". Songfacts.
  10. ^ Jovanovic, Rob. God Save The Kinks: A Biography.
  11. ^ Hinman, Doug. All Day and All of the Night.
  12. ^ "Bartley Gorman King of the Gypsies". Maxim. Archived from the original on 24 July 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  13. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 78, no. 40. Nielsen Company. 1966. p. 18. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
  14. ^ Cavanagh, David (September 1995). "The Village Green Mutual Appreciation Society". Mojo.
  15. ^ "Spotlight Singles" (PDF). Billboard. 30 July 1966. p. 18. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  16. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 23 July 1966. p. 16. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  17. ^ "Staff Lists: The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s". Pitchfork. 14 August 2006. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  18. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts - 12 October 1966".
  19. ^ "Every AMR Top 100 Single in 1966".
  20. ^ "The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  21. ^ "The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  22. ^ "The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  23. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5723." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  24. ^ "Denmark's Best Sellers" (PDF). Cashbox (10 September 1966): 50.
  25. ^ Timo (13 August 2015). "Sisältää hitin: Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1960: Artistit KET - KIR". Sisältää hitin. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  26. ^ "InfoDisc : Les Tubes de chaque Artiste commençant par K" (in French). InfoDisc. Select "Kinks" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  27. ^ "The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  28. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Sunny Afternoon". Irish Singles Chart.
  29. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e dischi (in Italian). Set "Tipo" on "Singoli". Then, in the "Artista" field, search "Kinks".
  30. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Kinks" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  31. ^ "The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  32. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Archived from the original on 27 January 2021. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  33. ^ "The Kinks – Sunny Afternoon". VG-lista.
  34. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  35. ^ "Listas de superventas: 1966". 21 July 2020.
  36. ^ Hallberg, Eric (193). Eric Hallberg presenterar Kvällstoppen i P 3: Sveriges radios topplista över veckans 20 mest sålda skivor 10. 7. 1962 - 19. 8. 1975. Drift Musik. ISBN 9163021404.
  37. ^ Hallberg, Eric; Henningsson, Ulf (1998). Eric Hallberg, Ulf Henningsson presenterar Tio i topp med de utslagna på försök: 1961 - 74. Premium Publishing. p. 205. ISBN 919727125X.
  38. ^ "Kinks: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  39. ^ "The Kinks Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  40. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 10/01/66". 1 October 1966. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  41. ^ "AMR Top Singles of 1966".
  42. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1966". Ultratop. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  43. ^ "Top 100 1966 - UK Music Charts". Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  44. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
  45. ^ "British single certifications – Kinks – Sunny Afternoon". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  46. ^ Hinman 2004, pp. 83–84.
  47. ^ Everett 2009, p. 60: (twelve-string, acoustic rhythm); Hinman 2004, p. 84: (Ray Davies, acoustic guitar).


External links[edit]