Britain through music | Part 3 | The Kinks, 'Waterloo Sunset'

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Here's part 3 of  our series on songs that namecheck British places and this one is a bit of a personal favourite. As evocative as each of the songs are to listen to, nothing beats visiting the places that inspired them for yourself, so be sure to come and check them out.

The Kinks, 'Waterloo Sunset'

Of all the songs which seem to capture the essence of London, ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by the Kinks stands out. It’s been rated as the ‘Greatest Song About London’ (London FM) and ‘Anthem of London’ (Time Out) and even featured as part of the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony.

The hustle and bustle of the city described in the lyrics mixed with the slow, dreamlike quality of the song encapsulates life in Britain’s capital. Swarming, in constant motion, yet transcendent and entrancing when watched from aside; the dramas, love affairs, hopes and dreams of millions of the city’s inhabitants - set to music against a timeless and awe-inspiring sunset that occurs here every day. About 2 minutes from our office, in fact.

Sunny Saturday ©Garry Knight

 

  Written by Ray Davies, it was released in 1967. He describes the setting around Waterloo as significant in his life. It was this view that Ray saw when wheeled out on to the balcony by nurses at St Thomas’ Hospital after a serious illness as a child. It’s also the location for long walks taken with his first wife and it’s certainly not uncommon to see couples taking a stroll along the waterfront.

Jodie C ©Jodie C

 

  At sunset from Waterloo Bridge itself, everything seems somehow suspended. The surface of the Thames catches a zillion wriggles of squirming light, the background roar of the city hushes into a never-ending yawn and if you time it right, Big Ben bangs out a chime across the entire city.

Mike Flemming ©Mike Flemming

 

  With the London Eye turning 15 this year, they’re offering a 30% discount for a limited time, so it’s a particularly good time to catch the view.

Yuichi Shiraishi ©Yuichi Shiraishi

 

  Once you’ve booked your trip to Britain, make sure you’ve downloaded the track, stick your headphones in and go and experience it for yourself.

Simon Hill ©Simon Hill

 

Now go to Part 4!

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