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."
Suggestion credit: 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.
Suggestion credit: 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."
The real David Watts was a concert promoter from Rutland in the English Midlands. The Kinks band members were invited back to his house for a drink one night after a concert. Ray Davies recalled to Q magazine in a 2016 interview:
"My brother, Dave, was in a flamboyant mood and I could see David Watts had a crush on him. So I tried to do a deal and persuade Dave to marry David Watts cos he was connected with Rutland brewery. See, that's how stupid my brain was. (Chuckles silently) I thought if I can get Dave fixed up with this Watts guy I'll be set up for life and get all the ale I want."
But the song's about complete envy," Davies added. "It was based on the head boy at my school. He was captain of the team, all those things, but I can't tell you his real name as I only spoke to him a few months ago."
Rayna from Pembroke Pines, FlDavid Watts was indeed a real person and a friend to the band, and he supposedly had the sparks for Dave Davies.
David from Youngstown, OhIn "The Kinks: The Official Biography" Ray Davies is quoted as saying Watts was a concert promoter who was gay and came on to his brother, David. That's why there's the line about David Watts "being so gay and fancy free."
Dave Watts from London, United KingdomDavid Watts was the keyboard player in the Tornados "Testar" he was involved with many of the sixties and seventies pop records iether playing in the bands, or being the session pianiston on their recordings. I have heard that this was recorded as a bit of a laugh as a B side. Nobody expected it to be a hit.Least of all David Watts
Udi from London, IsraelThe Jam version is nota t all crap. I just listyenned to it just after the Kinks one and, to my tast, I frefer the Jam one. More va va voom.
Tamara from Kyabram, AustraliaI lke this song because my Dad IS David Watts, not only in personality wise but also in his name. My Dad's name really is David Watts!
Jeff from Liverpool, Englandto tom in newark and john in boston listen to revolver then sound affects by the jam then you'll see where mudassir is coming from as weller admitted in 1980 he'd been listening to revolver a lot and took his influence from there
Dave from Cardiff, WalesWas David Watts a real person? Ray Davies brother (who was also a member of The Kinks) was called Dave, perhaps he was the inspiration for the song?
Tom from Newark, DeJohn, in defense of Mudassir, he is not comparing the Jam and the Beatles. He simply said that they produced "one of the finest volley of singles in the history of music". That certainly does not mean that the Beatles did not produce a finer volley, just that the Jam are up there. I agree with that.
P.S. you are all wrong, this song is great, very infectious beat. Ba-ba-ba-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah! Ba-ba-ba-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah!
John from Boston, MaWell, Mudassir, I like the Jam just as much as the next guy, but to compare the singles released by The Jam to the singles released by The Beatles for example, well that's just plain stupid
Lucy from Glasgow, ScotlandTotally agree with you Nessie, Paul Weller needs to be on here, he's a legend!
Nessie from Sapporo, JapanMudassir, I agree. There are plenty of better Jam songs -- and Kinks songs, for that matter. And why are there no Paul Weller postings on this site? A crime!
Mudassir from Bolton, EnglandBetween Tubestation and Absolute Beginners, the Jam produced one of the finest volley of singles in the history of music. This preceded that era and to be honest, compared to the original, its crap and a bit of a let down - it was really just a weller/childhood-mod tribute thing.