THE GREATEST OF ALL TUNES: Better Things and Misfits by The Kinks

So I’m creating my top 10 list of songs and this is my fourth entry.  So far, here’s where we are:

  1. Layla by Derek and the Dominoes (1970) (link)
  2. Grindin’ by Clipse (2002) (link)

Just two songs so far.  But today, two additions to the list, two songs, one artist: The Kinks.  Probably one of the ten best rock bands of the 1970s/’80s.

First, Misfits.

Misfits (1978)

Misfits was an underrated album that never got big, and the title track is an anthem for the underdog.  “Take a good look around you, misfits are everywhere….”  The album was the closest The Kinks got to soft rock, but in the best way possible—it’s one of my all-time favorite albums.  Not enough people know about this tune, and there’s not a single cover worth posting. So sad.

Second: A better known song of hope and inspiration.

Better Days (1981)

Never heard of this song?  You’re forgiven.  Better Things, a song about Ray Davies’ second divorce, only reached #92 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it’s one of the greatest songs of all time.  Seriously.  If this song doesn’t make your heart swell in the face of pain, you’re probably immune to hope.  It was first released as a single, and then edited a bit as a track from the band’s biggest album, Give the People What They Want.

Some really, really great covers appear below.  And before that, here’s my update to my list of by 100 favorite songs of all time.  “Better Days” knocks Grindin’ down to #2, and then Misfits knocks it again down to #4.

And: Covers of the top 30 Kinks songs here and here

  1. Layla by Derek and the Dominoes (1970) (link)
  2. Better Things by The Kinks (1981)
  3. Misfits by The Kinks (1978)
  4. Grindin’ by Clipse (2002) (link)

Covers:  Don’t miss Dar Williams’ cover.


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