Celluloid Heroes

Album: Everybody's in Show-Biz (1972)

Songfacts®:

  • The Kinks close Everybody's in Show-Biz, in which they examined the difference between Hollywood stereotypes and American reality, with this number about movie stars and the Walk of Fame.

    Kinks frontman Ray Davies wrote the song; when he visited Los Angeles, he would stay at a hotel near the Walk of Fame, and was intrigued by how it represented success alongside failure.
  • The song was released as the second single from Everybody's in Show-Biz, but failed to chart. However, the track received consistent airplay on AOR radio stations in the US into the 1980s and it remains a song that is often played when these stations mark the passing of a Hollywood star.
  • Ray Davies sings here about his desire to be a movie star - not the actor, but the character portrayed on screen, since those characters are immortal and invulnerable. This view reflects his rise to fame as a rock star, which while glamourous, could also be exhausting and aggravating for Davies.
  • The album version runs 6:21, but the single release was cut down to 4:39.
  • The Hammond organ on this song was played by Dave Rowberry, who is best known for replacing founding keyboardist Alan Price in the Animals. He played on many of the group's big hits, including "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place," "It's My Life," "Don't Bring Me Down" and "See See Rider," the last of which he was credited as the arranger.
  • Ray Davies re-recorded the song for the singer's 2010 collection of new studio collaborations of his compositions, See My Friends. This new version featured Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi. The American band previously had recorded a live performance of the song (featuring Ray Davies) as the B-side to their 2002 single "Misunderstood."

Comments: 1

  • Terry from Colchester, VtThis incredibly evocative song is one of my favorite Kinks tunes. The last verse is so forlorn that it's very moving. Ray Davies is a genius. My wife and I were fortunate enough to see them before they disbanded and they played this song that night. It was a small show at Stratton Mountain Ski Area in Vermont, and they played two long sets and several encores.
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