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Ray Davies wrote this. The original version can be found on The Kinks' 1967 album Something Else. It wasn't released as a single.
The Jam's version was released as a double sided single along with "A Bomb In Wardour Street." (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2)
The song bemoans the fact that most of us will never attain the glory or stature we want. "David Watts" is the person we all want to be, but will never become. (thanks, scott - cape cod, MA)
Jam Bassist Bruce Foxton rather than Paul Weller sang lead on this as it wasn't in the right key for the Jam frontman.
Weller told Mojo magazine June 2008 that it was his idea to cover this. He explained: "The first time I went to America (October 1977), you could buy all these old Kinks records that you couldn't get here at the time. As a kid I'd only heard the singles. So it was our choice to record the track, with 'A' Bomb on the B-side. We wanted Billy Hunt as the single, but the record company turned it down. But David Watts worked for us- it put us back on the map."
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This Kentucky singer/songwriter's hits include "She Couldn't Change Me" (recorded by Montgomery Gentry) and "It Ain't Easy Being Me."