Face to Face (The Kinks album)

Face to Face is the fourth studio album by the English rock band the Kinks, released in October 1966. The album marked a shift from the hard-driving style of beat music that had catapulted the group to international acclaim in 1964, instead drawing heavily from baroque pop and music hall. It is their first album consisting entirely of Ray Davies compositions, and has also been regarded by critics as one of rock's first concept album. Davies' blossoming songwriting style became increasingly observational and satirical, commenting on English culture, social class and the music industry.

Face to Face
Face to Face (The Kinks album) coverart.jpg
Studio album by
Released28 October 1966
  • mid-April – 21 June 1966
  • (except October 1965 for "I'll Remember")[1]
StudioPye, London
ProducerShel Talmy[nb 1]
The Kinks chronology
The Kink Kontroversy
Face to Face
Something Else by the Kinks
The Kinks US chronology
The Kinks Greatest Hits!
Face to Face
The Live Kinks
Singles from Face to Face
  1. "Sunny Afternoon"
    Released: 3 June 1966

Despite containing the hit single, "Sunny Afternoon", the album's initial reception was lukewarm in both the UK and United States compared to the Kinks' previous LPs, charting at No. 12 and No. 135, respectively. Face to Face eventually earned retrospective critical acclaim, recognized as a pivotal record of the psychedelic era and an important milestone in the Kinks' evolution. The album was included in Robert Christgau's "Basic Record Library" of 1950s and 1960s recordings, published in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981).[5] The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[6]


Ray Davies suffered a nervous breakdown just prior to the major recording sessions for the album.[7] In contrast to the band's earlier "raunchy" sound, he had started to introduce a new, softer style of writing the previous year with compositions such as "A Well Respected Man" and "Dedicated Follower of Fashion". In July 1966, the single "Sunny Afternoon", also written in that style, reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart, and the song's popularity proved to Davies and the Kinks' managers that the group could find success with this style of songwriting. The new album would follow this pattern, as would the group's recorded output for the next five years.[8] The 1966–71 period inaugurated by this album would later be called Davies' and the Kinks' "golden age".[9]

Rock historians have credited the album as arguably one of the first rock/pop concept albums, with the loose common theme of social observation.[10][11] In the album's original conception Ray Davies attempted to bridge the songs together with sound effects, but he was forced by Pye Records to revert to the more standard album format before the album's release. Some effects remain, such as in "Party Line", "Holiday in Waikiki", "Rainy Day in June" and in songs not included on the final album ("End of the Season", "Big Black Smoke").[12]

Recording and productionEdit

The Kinks performing in Oslo, Norway, on 16 June 1966. John Dalton, second from left, served as a temporary bassist after Pete Quaife was injured in car accident on 3 June.[13]

"I'll Remember" was the earliest track on the album, having been recorded in October 1965 during sessions for The Kink Kontroversy. Two other songs recorded during the Face to Face sessions – "This Is Where I Belong" and "She's Got Everything" – were eventually released as B-sides to singles released in 1967 and 1968, respectively. Both songs eventually appeared on the 1972 US compilation album The Kink Kronikles.[14] Pete Quaife temporarily quit the band before the June–July 1966 recording sessions; his replacement John Dalton can only be confirmed as playing on the track "Little Miss Queen of Darkness".[7] Contractual issues held up the release of the album for several months after recording was completed; Ray Davies was also in conflict with Pye over the final album cover art, whose psychedelic theme he later felt was inappropriate.[15]

Two songs on Face to Face, although written by Ray Davies, were originally recorded and released by other British bands in the months prior to the release of this album. The Pretty Things had a minor UK hit in July 1966 with "A House in the Country", which peaked at No. 50; their final entry on the UK Singles Chart. Herman's Hermits, meanwhile, took their version of "Dandy" top ten in several countries (including No. 5 in the US and No. 1 in Canada), beginning in September 1966.[16][17] The Rockin' Vickers also recorded a version of "Dandy" which they released as a single in December 1966 in both the UK and the US. Despite what the sleeve notes say on The Rockin' Vickers The Complete, the song "Little Rosy" was not written by Ray Davies (Music: Herbie Armstrong; Lyrics: Paul Murphy).[18]

Release and receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [10]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [19]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [20]
MusicHound     [21]

The album was released in a particularly tumultuous year for the band, with personnel problems (Pete Quaife was injured; he resigned and later rejoined the band), legal and contractual battles and an ongoing hectic touring schedule. The album was critically well received, but did not sell particularly well at the time of its release (especially in the United States), and was out of print for many years.[22] Reissues since 1998 have included bonus tracks of songs released contemporaneously as singles (most notably "Dead End Street") as well as two unreleased tracks.[23]

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[24]

Unreleased songsEdit

"Mr. Reporter" was recorded in 1969 for Dave Davies' aborted solo album, and was released as a bonus track on the 1998 Castle CD reissue of Face to Face. An earlier version featuring Ray Davies on lead vocals was recorded in February 1966 and was apparently intended for this album or an unissued EP. The scathing track satirizes the pop press, and was probably shelved to prevent offending music journalists who had been crucial to the Kinks' commercial success. This early version was finally officially released in 2014.

Other unreleased songs from the Face to Face sessions reportedly include "Fallen Idol", about the rise and fall of a pop star, "Everybody Wants to Be a Personality", about celebrities, "Lilacs and Daffodils" (also known as "Sir Jasper"), which is reportedly about a schoolteacher (and is the only Kinks track with vocals by Mick Avory) and "A Girl Who Goes to Discotheques". It is unclear whether any of the unreleased tracks will ever be released officially. Dave Davies indicated they were never satisfactorily completed for release, and some were later reworked into different songs such as "Yes Man", another song from these sessions, which was an early version of "Plastic Man".[citation needed] In a 2012 interview, Ray Davies stated that "Lilacs and Daffodils" was "awful."[25]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Ray Davies, except "Party Line" by Ray and Dave Davies. Track lengths per AllMusic.[10]

Side one

  1. "Party Line" – 2:35
  2. "Rosy Won't You Please Come Home" – 2:34
  3. "Dandy" – 2:12
  4. "Too Much on My Mind" – 2:28
  5. "Session Man" – 2:14
  6. "Rainy Day in June" – 3:10
  7. "A House in the Country" – 3:03

Side two

  1. "Holiday in Waikiki" – 2:52
  2. "Most Exclusive Residence for Sale" – 2:48
  3. "Fancy" – 2:30
  4. "Little Miss Queen of Darkness" – 3:16
  5. "You're Lookin' Fine" – 2:46
  6. "Sunny Afternoon" – 3:36
  7. "I'll Remember" – 2:27


According to band researcher Doug Hinman,[26] except where noted:

The Kinks

Additional musicians

Additional production

On 3 June 1966, Quaife was seriously injured in a car accident.[28] Ray Davies writes in his autobiography that because of Quaife's injuries, the band required a session bassist for a marathon session on 6 June 1966, during which six songs were recorded: "Rosy Won't You Please Come Home", "Too Much On My Mind", "Session Man", "Rainy Day In June", You're Looking Fine" and the unreleased "Fallen Idol".[28][29] Quaife disputes Davies' account, contending that all of the songs were recorded prior to his accident and that they closely resemble his playing style.[27] Talmy later said he did not recall hiring a session bassist for a marathon session, adding that the playing style does not resemble that of Herbie Flowers, whom Talmy typically called for session work.[28] Hinman concludes: "No definitive resolution to the confusion is available."[27] According to Hinman, bassist John Dalton's only confirmed contribution to the album is on "Little Miss Queen of Darkness", recorded 21 June 1966.[27]


Weekly chart performance for Face to Face
Chart (1966–67) Peak
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[30] 9
UK Melody Maker Top Ten LPs[31] 8
UK Record Retailer LPs Chart[32] 12
US Billboard Top LPs[33] 135
US Cash Box Top 100 Albums[34] 57
US Record World 100 Top LPs[35] 47
West German Musikmarkt LP Hit Parade[36] 12

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Hinman lists Talmy as the LP's producer, while acknowledging that the original sleeve notes credit him as "Recorder", Ray Davies as "Musical Director" and both Ray and Dave Davies with "arrangements".[27]
  2. ^ The sleeve notes credit O'Duffy only as "Irish".[27]


  1. ^ Hinman 2004, pp. 68, 92.
  2. ^ Kitts 2002, p. 12: "Face to Face, arguably The Kinks' first and one of rock's first thematically linked albums ..."
  3. ^ "Ray Davies – Album By Album". Uncut. 15 August 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Face To Face (1966)". StereoGum. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "A Basic Record Library: The Fifties and Sixties". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0899190251. Retrieved 16 March 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  6. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  7. ^ a b c Schaffner 1982, p. 100.
  8. ^ Miller 2003, p. 4.
  9. ^ Heller, Jason (14 February 2008). "Primer: The Kinks". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  10. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Kinks – Face to Face". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  11. ^ Scott Schinder; Andy Schwartz (1 October 2007). Icons of Rock: An Encyclopedia of the Legends Who Changed Music Forever. ABC-CLIO. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-313-33845-8.
  12. ^ Miller 2003, p. 9.
  13. ^ Hinman 2004, pp. 84–85.
  14. ^ Miller 2003, p. 104.
  15. ^ Tony Dunsbee (1 March 2015). Gathered from Coincidence: A Singular History of Sixties' Pop. M-Y Books Ltd. p. 452. ISBN 978-1-909908-33-8.
  16. ^ Schaffner 1982, p. 288.
  17. ^ Stan Hawkins (2009). The British Pop Dandy: Masculinity, Popular Music and Culture. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-7546-5858-0.
  18. ^ Tim Neely (28 June 2007). Goldmine Price Guide to 45 RPM Records. Krause Publications. p. 582. ISBN 978-0-89689-461-7.
  19. ^ "The Kinks Face to Face". Acclaimed Music. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  20. ^ "The Kinks: Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 23 December 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ Brock Helander (1982). The Rock Who's Who: A Biographical Dictionary and Critical Discography Including Rhythm-And-Blues, Soul, Rockabilly, Folk, Country, Easy Listening, Punk, and New Wave. Schirmer/Mosel Verlag GmbH. p. 309. ISBN 978-0-02-871250-5.
  23. ^ Nathan Brackett; Christian David Hoard (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon and Schuster. p. 459. ISBN 978-0-7432-0169-8.
  24. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  25. ^ "THE KINKS - FACE TO FACE |". Archived from the original on 17 September 2012.
  26. ^ Hinman 2004, pp. 83–84, 92.
  27. ^ a b c d e Hinman 2004, p. 92.
  28. ^ a b c Hinman 2004, p. 84.
  29. ^ Davies 1995, pp. 288–289.
  30. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – The Kinks – Face to Face". Hung Medien.
  31. ^ "Top Ten LPs" (PDF). Melody Maker. 10 December 1966. p. 2.
  32. ^ "The Kinks". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  33. ^ "Billboard Top LP's" (PDF). Billboard. 25 February 1967. p. 44.
  34. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Albums" (PDF). Cash Box. 21 January 1967. p. 63.
  35. ^ "100 Top LP's" (PDF). Record World. 4 February 1967. p. 16.
  36. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Kinks – Face to Face" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 18 April 2022.


External linksEdit