Destroyer

Album: Give The People What They Want (1981)
Charted: 85
  • One of the great paranoia songs, "Destroyer" is about a guy who is losing his mind. There's a "little yellow man" in his head, who might be there because of the "red" (amphetamine) under his bed.
  • The lyrics are based on the Kinks' song "Lola," which is about a cross-dresser. In this song, the guy becomes paranoid (with good reason) after taking Lola back to his place. She tries to talk him down from his high anxiety, but it's no use: this guy has serious problems.
  • This song borrows the main riff from The Kinks' song "All Day And All Of The Night." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bert - Pueblo, NM, for above 2
  • Throughout the '60s, The Kinks were very popular in their native UK, but lesser known in America, owing in part to a musicians' union ban that kept them from performing in the US from 1965-1969. In the '80s, the group focused more on America and became more popular there. Their frontman and primary songwriter, Ray Davies, channeled his American experience into the Give The People What They Want album, which was largely inspired by the American media, which relied on sensationalism and scandal for ratings. "Destroyer" is rather prescient in that regard, as overstimulation and a flood of information makes the guy in the song completely bonkers. There's even a line, "hidden cameras everywhere," because he feels like he's constantly being watched - a fear many Americans share.

Comments: 12

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 10, 1981, the Kinks performed "Destroyer" on the NBC-TV late-night program 'Saturday Night Live'...
    Just over two weeks later on October 25th "Destroyer" entered Billboard's Top 100 chart at position #92, two weeks later it would peak at #85 {for 1 week} and it spent 4 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #3 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart...
    Between 1964 and 1983 the quartet had twenty-four records on the Top 100 chart, five made the Top 10, "You Really Got Me" {#7 in 1964}, "All Day and All of the Night" {#7 in 1965}, "Tired of Waiting for You" {#6 in 1965}, "Lola" {#9 in 1970}, and "Come Dancing" {#6 in 1983}...
    In their native United Kingdom they have had three records peak at #1 and also three others peak at #2.
  • John from Grand Island, NyThe Kinks are Rock's most underappreciated group.
  • Carrie from , MiI often thought of it as a guy strung out on drugs and his addiction is causing him to lose it and become paranoid. Reds=Red Devils or Seconal, blues=Amytal or Tuinal, yellows=Valium green=marijuana

    I guess it's all in how you interpret it
  • Jake from Newyork, NyThis song i almost like a story about the Kinks they include stuff from thier other songs in it.
  • Georgia from London, United KingdomTrue blue= Loyal and unwavering in one's opinions. always the same and like himself.
    Red= Communist (term popular during the Cold War)
    yellow= cowardice

    Ray Davies might not have intended these common 'translations' when writing the lyrics, but it does make it a bit fun when listening to the song.
  • William from Syracuse, NyFront man for the Kinks, Ray Davies, has a medical condition called "Bipolar disorder" formally known as Manic Depressive illness. Davies' creativity is often fueled by his bouts of mania and hypomania. His catalogue of recordings and novels are representative of his life experiences. "Destroyer" represents fully the debilatating affects of the mood swings persons who have this disorder experience. He is in every sense of the word a Renaissance man; a Troubador, an example of the spark of genius that few have had the courage to express. If I were to meet him I would extend my hand and thank him for the pleasure and the pain he has shared with me thru the years through his work.
  • Michael from San Diego, CaGreat guitar work in this high energy tune!
  • Melquiades from CaliConscious self rip off. I don't find particularly amusing him reconstructing his old melodies and riffs from earlier songs. Just look at their album's name, Ray at this time didn't give a damn. Gimme Arthur's songs anytime of the day.
  • Allen from Bethel, AkYes, this is a good song, but not their best. Try listining to album "The Village Green Preservation Society"
  • Chris from Sunnyvale, CaThis is definately their heaviest song and maybe their best.
  • Don from San Antonio, TxHell yeah, this song rips. The huge drum sound is all over the album, and although this is probably the best song, the rest of the album can be fun to listen to. They should have stuck with heavy rock more. Listening to them can be like looking at a Playboy, where you have to use your imagination to fill in what you're not getting from the product. Or movie directors that won't show you the monster cuz it makes it more "suspenseful". NO! Get out of my face with that nonsense...the TRUTH is you're incapable of making quality entertainment. Go sell used cars.
  • Amay from Edison, NjProbably the best Kinks song.
see more comments

Jimmy WebbSongwriter Interviews

Webb talks about his classic songs "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman" and "MacArthur Park."

Joe Elliott of Def LeppardSongwriter Interviews

The Def Leppard frontman talks about their "lamentable" hit he never thought of as a single, and why he's juiced by his Mott The Hoople cover band.

Mike Scott of The WaterboysSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Whole Of The Moon" and "Red Army Blues," and why rock music has "outlived its era of innovation."

Colin HaySongwriter Interviews

Established as a redoubtable singer-songwriter, the Men At Work frontman explains how religion, sobriety and Jack Nicholson play into his songwriting.

"Stairway To Heaven" Lawsuit: A TimelineSong Writing

Untangling the events that led to the "Stairway To Heaven" lawsuit.

Dan ReedSongwriter Interviews

Dan cracked the Top 40 with "Ritual," then went to India and spent 2 hours with the Dalai Lama.