Certain Songs #844: The Kinks – “Till The End of The Day”

Album: The Kink Kontroversy
Year: 1965

The last of the early hard-rocking Kinks singles, “Till The End of The Day” definitely showed that they were kind of getting tired of the formula, so the riff isn’t quite as narsty, and the guitar solo isn’t quite as wild.

It’s also definitely more sophisticated than “You Really Got Me” or “All Day and All of The Night,” as Ray Davies growing by leaps and bounds as a songwriter, and you can almost feel him chafing at having to dumb it down even this much.

And so “Till The End of The Day” could have been a complete disaster: an obvious compromise to remind their audience after the relatively tamer singles like “Set Me Free” and “See My Friends” that they could still rock it up when they needed to. And some folks have no doubt chosen to see like that — a definite step back when they didn’t need to.

But not me, I love “Till The End of The Day” because instead of sounding like a compromise, it sounds like a synthesis of everything that had made them great from that moment. From the opening three stinging guitar chords to the final unexpected rave-up, “Till The End of The Day” is a spot-on combination of power, melody and brains.

And lyrically, it’s one of the few unreservedly happy songs Ray Davies has ever written.

Yeah, you and me
We live this life
From when we get up
Till we go sleep at night
You and me were free
We do as we please, yeah
From morning, till the end of the day
Till the end of the day

And with Dave Davies and Pete Quaife drenching the whole song with harmonies and and “ooooooohhhhhs” and “ahhhhhhhhhhs,” Mick Avory’s secret drum builds and Nicky Hopkins adding his inimitable piano licks, “Till The End of The Day” sounds like it was fully thought out from start to finish.

And as such, is my favorite of all of their early singles.

I also need to give a shout out to the live version of “Till The End of The Day,” from the Live at Kelvin Hall record. While sonically, that record is an utter mess — like The Kinks were recorded from across the street during rush hour — the performance of “Till The End of the Day” that opens it is spectacularly sloppy, even if it sounds like they overdubbed Dave’s guitar solo over the guitar solo he actually played.

“Till The End of The Day”

“Till The End of The Day” performed pretty poorly live in 1966

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