Victoria

Album: Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) (1969)
Charted: 33 62
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Songfacts®:

  • "Victoria" was written for Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire), a soundtrack to a British TV play on which Ray Davies collaborated with dramatist and screenwriter Julian Mitchell. The program was canceled at the last minute when the producer was unable to secure financial backing and has never been produced. However Davies' music was still recorded by the Kinks and released as a concept album.
  • "Victoria" is a typically satirical Ray Davies song, containing many of his themes from his late '60s material such as English nostalgia and the little people. It finds him fusing the image of the historical 19th Century UK queen and the grim realities of her downtrodden subjects' life during her reign with the British rule of its Empire, which had reached its peak in Queen Victoria's reign.
  • Musically, "Victoria" finds Ray Davies balancing the nostalgic music hall and rock sides of his songwriting. While the track is centered on a thumping rock electric blues guitar riff, the triumphant "Land of hope and gloria" bridge enhances the remainder of the song.
  • Commercially, "Victoria" represented a relative return of form for The Kinks. In the US, the song was chosen as the lead single from Arthur. It peaked at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100, the band's first release to reach the chart since their Top 20 hit "Sunny Afternoon" in 1966.

    "Victoria" was released as the album's third single in the UK, and was the only one to chart, reaching #33.
  • A cover version by The Fall was the Manchester band's second UK Top 40 hit in 1988 peaking at #35.

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