Waterloo Sunset (1967)

The Kinks

Something Else by The Kinks
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Astoundingly, “Waterloo Sunset,” a huge 1967 #2 smash single for The Kinks in Great Britain and Europe, failed to chart in either the U.S. or Canada.

Although there is an air of melancholy hanging around, the song celebrates all kinds of human interaction, from the roiling masses in the world’s busiest train station to the desire of a boy and a girl to find refuge in their love, away from the crowd. It sketches the innocence and aimlessness of youth in the 1960s.

It is an ideal mix of the avant-garde and pop sensibility. “Waterloo Sunset” mixes exuberant guitar playing with Merseyside (the musical flavor of Liverpool beyond The Beatles) beats and arrangements. The harmony arrangements of The Beatles do creep in, but instead of sounding like a rip-off, they feel perfectly at home.

As one radio-listener survey concluded from its polls, it is the greatest song about London ever written. And one of the tip-top train songs you will ever hear.

Millions of people swarming like flies
’round Waterloo underground
But Terry and Julie cross over the river
Where they feel safe and sound
And they don’t need no friends
As long as they gaze on Waterloo sunset
They are in paradise

Waterloo sunset’s fine