Victoria (3:40)

Cover of The Ultimate Collection

From The Ultimate Collection and 53 other releases

“Victoria” is a song written by Ray Davies of The Kinks, which appeared as the opening track of the 1969 concept album, Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire).

In the satirical style that Ray Davies had become known for in his earlier works such as the Kinks 1966 hit, Dedicated Follower of Fashion, the lyrics juxtapose the paternalist aspirations of the British Empire in the Victorian age, “Land of my Victoria/Land of hope and gloria” , with the grim realities of life in Britain during the nineteenth century, “Sex was bad and obscene/And the rich were so mean”, and expresses the simple adulation of the queen and country by the working class, “Though I am poor, I am free/When I grow I shall fight/For this land I shall die”.

The music starts with a simple electric blues riff under the lyrics, and builds to an exuberant climax with brass and strings at the “Land of hope and gloria” bridge. The play-out features brass, heavy rock guitar and raucous background vocals from Dave Davies, and a “psychedelic” effect is achieved by use of an Indian-style drone, reminiscent of the effect on the group’s 1965 single, “See My Friends”, and by then familiar to audiences from recordings by The Byrds and The Beatles.


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Long ago, life was clean
Sex was bad and obscene
And the rich were so mean
Stately homes for the Lords

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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  • khambrel13

    even Sonic Youth did a cover. that gives them cool points in my eyes (as if they needed any more, right?).

    13 Aug 12:23pm Reply
  • LostImeem

    I have a great cover version of this song by Sonic Youth with The Fall.

    27 Jun 8:13pm Reply
  • rythmking

    I dedicate this track to the barmaid at the bigginhall pub coventry.

    3 Jun 8:54pm Reply
  • Druid66

    Always reminds me of a Victoria I know... which is another thing I dig about it.

    5 Feb 6:17am Reply
  • nick_honest

    great song

    29 Jan 6:05am Reply
  • marjo47


    16 Jan 4:08pm Reply
  • gmpwca

    big thumbs up to this entire album!

    26 Nov 2013 Reply
  • kiteo

    Some of the songs that were thrown away on B-sides and album tracks then would be band's best songs now.

    22 Nov 2013 Reply
  • pvmnt


    8 Oct 2013 Reply
  • wolfy76484

    Rocking track but is it a true 60s version?

    18 Aug 2013 Reply
  • whoozon1st

    One of the most unappreciated bands of all time. Love Ray Davies & the Kinks. Clever lyrics, great tunes, with a touch of humor thrown in. What Rock n' Roll is supposed to be

    21 Apr 2013 Reply
  • bliksala


    14 Oct 2012 Reply
  • YoFaaaWay

    fuck a live version

    19 Sep 2012 Reply
  • yogijohn888

    Gotta agree with nomoresongs below. My most favorite Kinks album. Driving around socal in the 70's with God Save The Kinks bumper sticker on my van.

    2 Jun 2012 Reply
  • DftD

    how i met your mother :)

    30 May 2012 Reply
  • Drag30

    Just another masterpiece by one of the most skilled bands of the time. Amazing..

    6 May 2012 Reply
  • Druid66

    I knew a woman named Victoria, but not as well as I'd have liked to have known her, so this reminds me of her... she was a huge fan of the Kinks, too.

    6 Apr 2012 Reply
  • BlueOclock

    Well, what is this? Only one of my all time favorite songs from one of my all time favorite groups, that's all!!!!

    13 Mar 2012 Reply
  • Roy1968Wood

    Dave Davies playing guitar and offering whoops in the background = a great Kinks tune!!

    8 Mar 2012 Reply
  • prinzcharles8


    6 Feb 2012 Reply
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