Tune du Jour: “Waterloo Sunset” (Part #1) – The Kinks
THE CLASH of Collaborations: Ray Davies and Damon Albarn vs. The Crouch End Festival Chorus vs. Jackson Browne vs. London Symphony Orchestra & Urban Voices Collective
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Ray seems to really like this song. He plays it a lot, especially at special occasions. And he seems to particularly like playing it when the occasion calls for a collaboration with other artists. There are at least four such collaborations floating around at there. In this post we will try to answer the timeworn question, just who “Waterloo Sunsets it best with Mr. Davies?


The Original


The Kinks:


THE CLASH of Collaborations


Damon Albarn vs. The Crouch End Festival Chorus vs. Jackson Browne vs. London Symphony Orchestra & Urban Voices Collective
Ray Davies & Damon Albarn (April 2, 2002):

Ray Davies & The Crouch End Festival Chorus (June 15, 2009):

There is a brief interview preceding the song. Waterloo Sunset starts at about the 2:00 mark.

Ray Davies & Jackson Browne (November 1, 2010):

Ray Davies with the London Symphony Orchestra & Urban Voices Collective (August 20, 2012):


Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. It is your solemn responsibility to decide which cover song prevails. In other words … Which Side Are You On?!!? 


Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

  1. Arnold Plotnick says:

    The Kinks are my favorite band, period. Perhaps it’s sacrilege to not include Waterloo Sunset in my top 10 personal favorite Kinks tracks, but so be it. (I feel the same way about Celluloid Heroes). I recognize what a great song it is, though, and understand its importance in the Kinks’ pantheon. The thing about the Kinks that really kept them apart from the other British Invasion groups of the day was their extreme British-ness, and and this song is a prime example of that. This makes me give the vote to Damon Albarn, as he maintains the British-ness with the accented lyrics, as well as the sheer reverence he’s giving the music while he’s accompanying Ray. You can see how much the song means to him, and it comes through on this cover.

  2. Cuspid says:

    I’ve now listened to one version or another of this song 11 times in a row. And I can honestly say that I enjoyed #11 as much as #1. As for the duets, I liked the one with Jackson Browne best.

    Arnie might be right. Maybe the Kinks were too-British for the American market to be mega-successful. I think the Jam suffered the same fate. Although, in retrospect it was really the American music fan who unjustly suffered the most from the Kinks being banned from the USA from ’65-’69. Those were their best years, IMO. Imagine if U2 had not been allowed to tour the USA from War through Achtung Baby.

  3. Kerry Black says:

    Classic song from a classic band.

    Enjoyed all, voted for Damon Albarn, although I’d never heard of him. I looked him up and saw he was in Blur. I’ve seen their name around for years, but never listened to their stuff.

    • Arnold Plotnick says:

      Wow…. you never heard Blur? Find their single on YouTube called “There’s No Other Way”. And the entire album “Parklife”.

      • Kerry Black says:

        I just went to YouTube and watched the video for “There’s No Other Way”. Yeah, I heard that song countless times in the nineties, I just never knew who did it.

        I wasn’t listening to much nineties rock during the nineties, at least not intentionally. Sure, you’d always overhear stuff at bars, or catch a bit of something while channel surfing. That sounded okay to me, somewhat psychedelic, melodic…not too loud, noisy, or heavy. I was basically hiding from Grunge in those days.

  4. RDubbs says:

    Yes all three versions are terrific. The minimalist delivery of the Damon Albarn and Jackson Browne versions are simple and beautiful, or one might accurately say “simply beautiful”. The London Symphony version was predictably spectacular. But for some reason the choral version most captured my imagination. Beautifully simple yet lush.

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