Supersonic Rocket Ship
|"Supersonic Rocket Ship"|
|Single by The Kinks|
|from the album Everybody's in Show-Biz|
|B-side||"You Don't Know My Name" (Dave Davies)|
|Released||September 1972 (USA), 5 May 1972 (UK)|
|Recorded||Recorded March 1972 at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London|
|Label||RCA RCA 2211 (UK), 74-0807 (USA)|
|The Kinks singles chronology|
Supersonic Rocket Ship is a single recorded by British rock band The Kinks, written by Ray Davies. It was released on 5 May 1972, in the UK, and in September of that year for its US release. 'Supersonic Rocket Ship' was also included as a track on the double LP Everybody's in Show-Biz, which was released on 25 August 1972, in the US and on 1 September in the UK. Everybody's in Show-Biz also yielded the song 'Celluloid Heroes', which, although not a hit, has become one of The Kinks' most popular songs.
In the song, the singer talks about his "supersonic rocket ship", which contains a kind of paradise or refuge from all the troubles in the world, where "nobody has to be hip", "nobody's gonna travel second class", and "there'll be equality, and no suppression of minorities". It fits in the groove of other Ray Davies songs like 'Apeman', that express a desire to go back to a simpler life or escape from all life's woes to a better world (a desert island, the rocket ship, etc.)
The song has strong Caribbean undertones (another similarity to 'Apeman'), perhaps influenced by the popularity of reggae music at the time. Rogan describes the song as having a "Calypso-style." This is emphasized with the use of a steel drum in the background. 'Supersonic Rocket Ship' also features prominent use of Ray Davies' National Steel resonator guitar.
It was released as a single in the UK in May 1972, and September in the US. It was a hit in the UK, climbing to #16 on Melody Maker, the same on Record Retailer, and #23 on New Musical Express. It was to be the band's last sizeable hit in the UK for 11 years, until 'Come Dancing' got to #11 in the summer of 1983. In the US, however, it only made it to #111 on Billboard. The single reached the Top Ten in Boston.
A promotional film was made for the single, featuring John Gosling attempting to become airborne dressed in angel wings and flight goggles, intercut with stock footage.
- Ray Davies - acoustic guitar, lead vocals
- Dave Davies - lead guitar, backing vocals
- John Dalton - bass guitar
- John Gosling - keyboards
- Mick Avory - drums, percussion
- Mike Cotton - trumpet
- John Beecham - trombone, tuba