11
Feb 05

THE KINKS – “Tired Of Waiting For You”

Popular12 comments • 1,905 views

#187, 20th February 1965

Pure mood – a boy, an absence, a wait. There’s barely a context, only the most abstract of frames, all that really lingers is the melancholy chorus, and this gives the single a mystique that the better-known songs around it maybe lack. Before I came to play the song back this morning I was convinced it was a good deal more psychedelic than it is – I remembered exotic instruments, tricksy studio play. They don’t exist but it has some of the lazy, half-dreamt feel of English psychedelia. The bubble is popped for me by Davies’ curiously flat, nasal voice – he’s never a singer I’ve particularly enjoyed but he’s usually much more expressive and convincing than this.

6

Comments

  1. 1
    SteveIson on 20 Jul 2008 #

    The sighing sublime mood changing melodic bit ‘Its your life and you can do what you want’ is the winning thing for me on this-a real trademark of Ray Davies’ writing..He does a similar thing on Days ‘I wish today could be tommorow’…8

  2. 2
    wichitalineman on 31 May 2009 #

    I knew this from a comp before the Guinness book existed, and was more than surprised to discover it was a no.1.

    I agree, it is all about mood, and the flat delivery – sung through gritted teeth over that pissed-off two-note riff – adds to the atmosphere of monotonous misery: Ray outside the cinema, freezing his ass off, waiting on a girl who’s late again (and eventually turns up with a faint, suspicious whiff of Old Spice about her). Anger threatens to spill out on the slightly growled “cos I’m sooo tired” on the very last chorus, but otherwise it’s a master class in restraint. Lonely soul Ray content to put up with being treated shabbily (“It’s your life…”) cos this bad girl’s better than no girl.

  3. 3
    Darren on 13 Aug 2009 #

    Erm,

    where’s the rest of the comments? One of the best songs of sixties and this is only the third comment.

    It’s a 9, btw.

  4. 4
    Tom on 13 Aug 2009 #

    It’s in the FAQ – loads of the early 60s comments got wiped back in 2005 unfortunately. I don’t remember a particular debate around this one, though 6 looks a little harsh I agree.

  5. 5
    thefatgit on 23 Feb 2010 #

    Davies totally succeeds in painting that mental picture of waiting for a girl, with economic aplomb. He doesn’t need to fill in the gaps or join the dots. We do that ourselves, cos we’ve all been there, right? It’s a deadpan delivery because it has to be.

    Simple, yet effective.

  6. 6
    johnny on 23 Feb 2010 #

    #5- completely agree about the economy of it. as a child familiarizing myself with all the “British Invasion” groups through oldies radio, the kinks always intrigued me because i knew they were holding back. with groups like the hollies, gerry, searchers, etc – though some were very good, what you see is what you got. with the kinks (and the zombies’ “she’s not there”) there was something else happening behind the curtain that thrilled me.

  7. 7
    Billy Smart on 2 Jan 2011 #

    TOTPWatch: The Kinks thrice performed ‘Tired Of Waiting For You’ on Top Of The Pops;

    21 January 1965. Also in the studio that week were; Brian Poole & The Tremeloes, Cilla Black, Del Shannon, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Manfred Mann and Sounds Orchestral. Jimmy Saville was the host.

    18 February 1965. Also in the studio that week were; Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas, Roy Orbison, Sandie Shaw, The Hollies and The Ivy League. David Jacobs was the host.

    25 December 1965. Also in the studio that Christmas were; Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Jackie Trent, The Hollies, The Seekers, The Walker Brothers and Unit 4 + 2. Jimmy Saville, Alan Freeman, Pete Murray & David Jacobs were the hosts.

    None of these editions survives.

  8. 8
    swanstep on 1 Mar 2014 #

    For some reason I’ve never listened carefully to this track before… and, whadaya know, it’s flippin’ pop genius. Killer chorus obviously: ‘I’m so tired (how so?) Tired of waiting (for whom?) Tired of waiting for you-oo-oo.’ So wish I’d thought of that! Nifty pre-chorus break ‘you can do what you want’ creating space w/ great drum fills before ingeniously crescendoing *into* the unfolding chorus grind. Wish I’d thought of that too. Main verses are just functional but the changes are great and the strange ‘keep-a me waiting’, which we’ll revisit in the cresendo into the Chorus, is introduced. It sounds almost like ‘keeper me waiting’ – as in ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ or perhaps as in a keeper of wild animals. Subterraneanly then the singer’s state of mind is conveyed – sick of being the timely, responsible, adult one, he’d rather be alone than be engaged in animal husbandry. Brilliant. A near perfect pop miniature. For me, it’s a:
    9 (could be a 10 on the right day or if really cranked up)

  9. 9
    hectorthebat on 7 Apr 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010)
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Dave Marsh & Kevin Stein (USA) – The 40 Best of the Top 40 Singles by Year (1981) 21
    Pause & Play (USA) – Songs Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Track at Each Week
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)

  10. 10
    Middlerabbit on 7 Apr 2014 #

    My introduction to this was via an advert from about 1987-ish for shower gel. Someone was kept waiting because their date couldn’t bring themselves to get out of the shower because this shower gel was so excellent. I can’t remember if it was a girl or a boy who was kept waiting.

    I didn’t know it was The Kinks, of whose output I might have just about heard All Day & All of The Night, Dedicated Follower of Fashion and maybe Come Dancing.

    When I got my first car, I bought hour long compilations of 60s ‘classics’, often informed by The Wonder Years which must have had the name and title of whatever song they had that week in the credits, or I’d never have known what to get.

    The two that spring to mind are The Kinks, which had the hits up to about Apeman and Lola and Donovan, which was the early acoustic stuff that always got put together. The Pye years, I suppose. I absolutely loved them both. And still do, really.

    I benefitted, in some ways, from parents who didn’t buy records or listen to music radio, and never had, really. It was all new to me and I had a great time catching up.

    Never had a metal phase. Led Zeppelin passed me by completely. For which I’m fairly grateful.

  11. 11
    Paulito on 2 Jan 2015 #

    I had always interpreted this in much the same way as others above have done – i.e. the fairly innocuous premise that it’s about having a girlfriend who’s continuously late for dates. But my sister reckons it’s the same theme as “Please Please Me” – frustration that the girlfriend isn’t ‘putting out’. Considering the suggestive subtexts to a lot of Ray Davies’s lyrics, I think this interpretation is probably spot on. Either way, and needless to say, this song still sounds terrific 50 (!) years on.

  12. 12
    lonepilgrim on 23 Jul 2015 #

    Yet another tale of male frustration. There’s a droney quality to the chorus that sounds vaguely Indian – a bit like ‘Blue Jay Way’ – and if you are so inclined you can interpret the words as a meditation on reincarnation: ‘I was a lonely soul/I had no body till I met you’. Not sure if that was Ray’s intention but it’s an ambiguous lyric.

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