A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy

Album: Misfits (1978)
Charted: 30
  • Kinks leader Ray Davies wrote this song, calling it a "Method acting songwriting job."

    While he was writing the song in 1977, he learned that Elvis Presley had died, which influenced the lyric. He was staying in New York at the time, and when he looked out his window late at night, he saw a single light on in one of the buildings. Davies imagined that light being the apartment of an ardent Elvis fan, which became the character Dan the Fan in the song.
  • The Kinks were falling apart around this time; guitarist Dave Davies wanted to stop touring, and keyboard player John Gosling and bass player Andy Pyle had decided that Misfits would be their last album with the group. Ray Davies explained in Rolling Stone: "The song was almost a homage to them; if you listen to the lyrics, it's about someone leaving the band because they've given up the cause, and the two brothers will find a way through this."
  • The line, "The King is dead, rock is done," is a reference to Elvis.
  • Inspired by the death of rock 'n' roll legend Elvis Presley and the departures of bassist Andy Pyle and pianist John Gosling from The Kinks, this song finds Ray Davies questioning whether rock and roll is something mature adults should do.

    Hello me, hello you, you say you want out
    Want to start anew, throw in your hand
    Break up the band, start a new life, be a new man
    But for all we know, we might still have a way to go
    Before you go, there's something you ought to know


    The lyrics go on to describe a man named Dan living in Davies' block who is a huge fan of The Kinks. Whenever he feels unhappy, Dan loses himself in their music, "living in a rock 'n' roll fantasy."
  • By 1978 The Kinks may have been selling out Madison Square Garden, but they weren't altogether happy. "A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy" details Ray Davies and his brother Dave considering breaking up the band. "The song is about two guys," Ray told Q Magazine. "Shall we call it a day?"
  • Released as the first single from Misfits, the track was The Kinks' most successful single in the US since their 1970 top ten hit "Lola."

Comments: 15

  • Frank from Montvale, NjAccording to Ray the character dan the fan in this song was written about me, not the whole song but just the character dan the fan because in 1978 when that song was written I already had been to approximetely 125 plus kinks shows and have gone on to see about 150 to 175 more since, plus close to 200 solo Ray and Dave shows combined. - The Montvale, New Jersey Hillbilly Boy aka Dan the Fan in KinKdom ( Frank Lima )
  • Markshark from Denver, CoDear Ryder- I was saddened to read your bigoted comments about "it?s much more thoughtful and deep than their earlier stuff". Apparently you have perhaps been exposed to only the Kinks' top-40 staples... In fact, Ray Davies' songwriting has always been far more philosophical and of a much more demonstrated emotional depth than his peers during any period you care to study. I suggest pulling your head out of top-40 rotation, and delving into Arthur, or The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, among several others... You are mistaken to form your judgement from only the pop pap, which Davies also has done exceptionally well with.

    And to Greg: THANKS ffor the book tip, I'll track one down!
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaGreat song. I can remember this song on the radio at the time.
  • R.h. from Pauls Valley, OkI agree with Gina from Paradise Valley. This song is about Dave Davies wanting to quit the band because he was basically tired of it all. "Dan is a fan; he's seen our shows; he's seen us low and he's seen us high". This refers to the loyal fans of The Kinks who supported them over all the years; the good and the bad. Just like Dead Heads. Thank you, Gina.
  • Sucrepop from Le Pre Saint Gervais, FranceJust love this song. We've made a cover of it, listenable here

    http://www.sucrepop.com/articles.php?lng=fr&pg=1238

    hope you like it as much we like to record it
  • Jimbo from Sequim, WaRay always writes real stories about believable characters and that's why his songs always grab me. Like so many of his other great songs this one comes straight from the heart and that's why its a personal favorite.
  • Kim from Go Ask Alicewhat instruments are used in this song
  • Ryder from Patricksburg, InThis song makes me come close to crying whenever I hear it. It so beautiful; it?s much more thoughtful and deep than their earlier stuff.
  • Greg from Alsip, IlIn Ray's Waterloo Sunset book he goes into great detail about Dan, who is an obsessive rock music fan who is ready to kill himself. He turns on his radio to listen to one last song before he dies, that is when he hears the news about Elvis dying, thus rock and roll saves his life. A must read for fans of the Kinks as well as literature.
  • Jim from St Louis, MoWhat a great song....just more proof that Ray Davies is one of the greatest writers ever in Rock Music.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaHow did this get in the top 10? and I find this a lot better then Bad Company's "Rock n roll fantasy" Just says something about me I guess.
  • Gina from Paradise Valley, AzThis song is awesome. It seems to me that Ray is singing to his brother...about not breaking up the band and realizing how many people love their music, almost depend on it.
  • Paige from Derry, NhI can relate so closely to this song. I love it so much.
  • Guillermo from Celaya, Mexico "Rock and roll Fantasy" deals about a Rock music fan named Dan, who listen records all day. But is too a statement about the end of "The Rock and Roll era" with the death of the king Elvis, and the surge of the Punk Rock Movement with it's "back to basics" formula. The circle was finished.
    These facts ocurred in 1977, the year the song was written and recorded.
  • Eddie from Petaluma, Cawhat a deep song
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