The Kinks' Ray Davies on England's 'Sunny Afternoon'

Tuesday 26 Jul 2016
The Kinks in their 1960s heyday

When The Kinks’ legendary frontman Ray Davies wrote “Sunny Afternoon”, little did he know that it would provide the backdrop for the greatest moment in English football history.

The classic hit, which references the high level of tax in Britain at the time, was No1 at the beginning of the 1966 World Cup.

But the success of Alf Ramsey’s England team at the end of that month means the song is more special to Davies than it might otherwise have been.

He explained: “We had three very big hit singles in 1966, but I’ve got an emotional attachment to that song because it was No1 in July ’66 – and we all know what happened after that.”

“It was a magical moment. It was like it was meant to happen”

 Ray Davies on 1966

Formed in Muswell Hill, The Kinks are regarded as one of the most influential bands of all-time, with hits including “You Really Got Me”, “Waterloo Sunset” and “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”.

Davies and his bandmates were at the heart of the ‘Swinging Sixties’, a time when London was the capital of cool.

Even they had heroes, though.

Davies said: “That England team of 1966 had very special role models, even for people like me. I wrote to Alf Ramsey but he wouldn’t put me in the squad!

“I was the same as any football fan; I grew up hoping England would one day win the World Cup. We had a lot of great players.

“There are so many great stories attached to that summer. It was romantic and it showed the fun side of football.”

And what does Davies remember of 30 July 1966?

Bobby Moore kisses the World Cup

Bobby Moore with the Jules Rimet trophy

“We were meant to play a gig at a festival in Exeter but we stayed in my front room and watched the match,” he said.

“And because there was extra-time we were late for the gig, but the crowd were on our side. It was a great day.

“It was a job well done. A very heroic day.

“When we won the World Cup it was a magical moment. It was like it was meant to happen.

“We were touring Europe and the world around that time and people took English football more seriously because of ‘66.”

Ray Davies

Ray Davies poses at Wembley

Having provided a talking head for ‘Bo66y’, a film about England’s World Cup-winning captain, Bobby Moore, Arsenal fan Davies was recently invited to attend the film’s premiere at Wembley Stadium.

And he has nothing but praise for England’s iconic No6.

Davies said: “I met Bobby a couple of times because footballers and pop stars interacted quite a bit in those days.

“I didn’t know him very well but he was a great leader.

“That quality is obviously crucial as a captain and it’s the same in a band really. You’ve got to roll with the punches and I think ‘Moore-o’ did that in many respects.

“He was a very dignified man, he knew how to hold his own and he was a great player and a great role model.”

By Glenn Lavery