Back Track looks back at an old cover that deserves a new spotlight.
David Watts is a real person according to Ray Davies, which makes the song unique in its character study. Lacking the mockery of the British class system, and missing the common person woes of the working citizen, “David Watts, ” the 1967 song from Something Else by the Kinks, is authentic in its compliments, although not without moments of ironic, homoerotic lyrics, as the Kinks were wont to write. The song simply reminds us of a person we desire to be, but cannot become. It’s a universal concept, going beyond the world of England, presented as a bouncy pop song.
And that sincerity may have been what attracted The Jam to cover the song on their 1978 album All Mod Cons. That, and the catchy “Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa.” Similar to The Kinks, The Jam was known for imagining a changed England, but with faster tempos, and more outward anger as they emerged with punk contemporaries. The Jam brings strength to the song, with a tighter sound, and quicker beats, and it most likely was recorded while the band wore tailored suits. Listen below and note lead vocals are performed by bassist Bruce Foxton.
The Jam – David Watts (The Kinks cover)
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