Waterloo Sunset (3:13)

Cover of The Ultimate Collection

From The Ultimate Collection and 132 other releases

Waterloo Sunset” is a song released as a single by The Kinks in 1967, and featured on their album Something Else by the Kinks. It was composed and produced by The Kinks lead singer and songwriter Ray Davies and is one of the band’s best known and most acclaimed songs.

The lyrics are from the point of view of a solitary man on the south bank of the Thames watching (or imagining) the romantic encounters of a couple at Waterloo Underground, then crossing Waterloo Bridge. Davies, in his 1996 autobiography X-Ray, says the inspiration for the song came from an incident when he was hospitalized as a boy. On the BBC radio show The Davies Diaries, Davies stated that “I can’t tell you who they are because they’re good friends of mine”. In a 2008 interview with Spinner Magazine, Davies stated “it was a fantasy about my sister going off with her boyfriend to a new world and they were going to emigrate and go to another country.”

The couple - “Terry” and “Julie” - mentioned in the lyrics are widely reported and presumed[1][2] as being British film stars of the time Terence Stamp and Julie Christie but Davies, in a 2004 interview, denied this, saying: “No, Terry and Julie were real people. I couldn’t write for stars.”[3]

The recording features Davies’ first wife Rasa on background vocals. “When the record was finished and it was coming out”, Ray Davies remembered, “I got my wife Rasa to drive me down to Waterloo Bridge to see if the atmosphere was right… I’ve never worked with a song that has been a total pleasure from beginning to end like that one”.

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