Ray Davies and the gang have always done cool stuff, from the ahead-of-its-time garage snarl of “You Really Got Me” to the weird “Lola” to the wonderfully evocative “Come Dancing” (the video of which is still my all-time favorite). But “Waterloo Sunset” was their best song. The story is simple: the narrator lives in a flat with a westward view of London’s Waterloo Station (when London was still the center of the world and not the Arab mecca it is today), and simply states “as long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset, I am in paradise.” But the Randy Newmanesque subplot is that the narrator is at best a loser, and at worst a voyeur (“Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station, every Friday night”). The song has the classic short-story ability to tell more between the lines than the story itself can. In addition, Dave Davies sounds like he’s playing the lead guitar with a pair of needle-nosed pliers. “Waterloo Sunset” isn’t just “fine,” as the last line states, it’s pretty damn wonderful.
And just for kicks, here are the Kinks on Hullabaloo in 1966, introduced by Annette Funicello, of all people. Ray Davies is so out of it, he can barely stand up straight amid all of the odd girls lounging around the set.