The Kinks classic Ray Davies said “belongs to the world now”

A song can flow out of an artist in a stream of consciousness, distilling their feelings and thoughts during a precise moment. While the lyrics often derive from a highly personal place, once the track is dispatched into the collective consciousness, its meaning changes over time. There’s one classic song by The Kinks that Ray Davies said “belongs to the world now”.

The track Davies was referring to is one he wrote straight from the heart in 1968 when his life was in a complex state of flux. While The Kinks had been an established force in the music industry for many years, nothing was guaranteed, and Ray was unsure whether their next song would be their last.
Additionally, from a family perspective, his sister Rosie had just left the United Kingdom to begin a new life in Australia. This was before the modern days of WhatsApp and FaceTime, preventing the Davies clan from communicating with her.

As the lyrics suggest, Ray was going through a period of turmoil, yet he was able to be gratuitous for the precious memories he shared with his sister before she moved to the other side of the world. Despite the bittersweet nature of the lyrical content, there’s still an injection of hopefulness into ‘Days’, which raises a smile from anyone who hears the saccharine effort.

Looking back upon the song with Rolling Stone, Ray once explained of ‘Days’: “It’s a goodbye song, but it’s also an inspirational song. It could also mean a new beginning. I wanted to write a sad song with an optimistic praise to it. My sister Rosie had gone to Australia, and we didn’t have communication — no Internet in those days. She left and said, ‘Say goodbye, my loving brother,’ and I said, ‘Thank you for being my sister.’ So the song’s for her, really, and her generation.’”

At first, his brother Dave felt hesitant about the track, describing it as “very sad”, and the song continues to impact him emotionally with every listen. He told the same publication: “My feelings at the time were always very mixed [about ‘Days’] because I always thought it was a very unhappy song. It’s very sad, and it hasn’t got the humour. It saddens me every time I hear it, and in fact, Pete was unhappy, and Ray was going through a lot of trauma in his personal life.”

While the song was initially written amid a period of hardship for Ray, fans of the band garnered their own meaning from ‘Days’, creating a universal yet personal relationship. Although listeners weren’t waving goodbye to their sister as she started a new life in Australia, we can all relate it to pivotal life moments of our own.

Therefore, in 2010, Davies said of the song’s legacy in a clip posted on The Kinks’ official YouTube channel: “The song has grown in intensity over the years. I didn’t think much about the song when I wrote it. Sometimes songs occur like that. You don’t think about it, but it’s built up quite a lot of mystique over the years. It certainly left me. It belongs to the world now.”

Watch Ray Davies perform ‘Days’ at Glastonbury Festival in 2010 below.

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