Johnny Thunder

Album: The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (1968)
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • The Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society album finds Ray Davies paying tribute to some of the colorful people he knew growing up in London ("Do You Remember Walter?," "Wicked Annabella"). On this rocker, he recalls "Johnny Thunder," a rebellious biker he once knew.
  • Johnny Thunder was inspired by the Marlon Brando movie The Wild One and also a cockney Ray Davies knew, whom he told Rolling Stone he saw "as a Neal Cassady type character."

    "All rebels look like Marlon Brando on a motorbike, but they don't wear a bowler hat," he added.
  • Ray's brother, Kinks guitarist Dave Davies, has different memories of the inspiration for Johnny Thunder.

    "There was a guy that I knew that I thought Ray modeled Johnny Thunder after," he told Rolling Stone. "He was a loner, and he'd drive around and didn't say much. In the middle of Muswell Hill, there's a big roundabout, where you go 'round just before the hill itself. It's very steep. This guy used to sped on his bike 'round the roundabout and the story has it one day his footrest hit the road and he toppled and that was the end of Johnny Thunder. But Ray has different memories of that."
  • Ray Davies returned to the Johnny Thunder character in The Kinks' 1973 Preservation Act 1 song "One of the Survivors."

    See Johnny Thunder sitting on his motorbike
    Riding along the highway,
    Rock and roll songs from the 1950s
    Buzzing around in his brain
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Fire On The StageSong Writing

When you have a song called "Fire," it's tempting to set one - these guys did.

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"They're Playing My Song

The first of Billy's five #1 hits was the song that propelled Madonna to stardom. You'd think that would get you a backstage pass, wouldn't you?

Billy Gould of Faith No MoreSongwriter Interviews

Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, chats to us about his two new experimental projects, The Talking Book and House of Hayduk, and also shares some stories from the FNM days.

Kerry Livgren of KansasSongwriter Interviews

In this talk from the '80s, the Kansas frontman talks turning to God and writing "Dust In The Wind."

Kip WingerSongwriter Interviews

The Winger frontman reveals the Led Zeppelin song he cribbed for "Seventeen," and explains how his passion for orchestra music informs his songwriting.

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete BlondeSongwriter Interviews

The singer/bassist for Concrete Blonde talks about how her songs come from clairvoyance, and takes us through the making of their hit "Joey."