The Kinks “Better Things” (1981)

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It seems to me the turning of the annual calendar means not only a new year but the inherent wish, whether recent times have been good or bad, for things to get better. And on that theme there are many good songs from which to choose, but some are just, well, better than others.

A trio of my favorites are all named ‘Better Days’, three different songs by different artists – Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, and The Jayhawks – but all with a similar message and the same simple title. The one that would probably first come to most people’s mind would be The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper hit ‘Getting Better’, possibly followed by Pearl Jam’s ‘Better Man’. And other somewhat lesser-known members of this list of improvement would likely include ‘It’s Getting Better (Man!!)’ by Oasis and ‘Better Than It Was’ by Fastball, as well as two with somewhat different twists on seeking progress, ‘Make It Better (Forget About Me)’ by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and ‘I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better’ by The Byrds, a title line which was always followed in the song by the phrase “when you’re gone.”

However, the best example here (better than better), both musically and lyrically, would have to be the classic Kinks song ‘Better Things’, which was released on their 1981 album Give The People What They Want. If what the people wanted was three minutes of melodic pop perfection paired with some hopeful and inspiring words, then the great Ray Davies, who wrote the tune about his impending split from his second wife, Yvonne, certainly delivered it to them.

Enjoy the song, happy new year, all, and in whatever way it may manifest, here’s to a truly better year.


Better Things, written and produced by Ray Davies

Here’s wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses, too
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way

Here’s hoping all the days ahead
Won’t be as bitter as the ones behind you
Be an optimist instead
And somehow happiness will find you
Forget what happened yesterday
I know that better things are on the way

It’s really good to see you rocking out
And having fun
Living like you’ve just begun
Accept your life and what it brings
I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things

Here’s wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses, too
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way

I know you’ve got a lot of good things happening up ahead
The past is gone, it’s all been said
So here’s to what the future brings
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things
I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things
I hope tomorrow you’ll find better things


4 thoughts on “The Kinks “Better Things” (1981)

  1. The Kinks were my first favorite “rock” band. And of all the early British invasion bands, for some reason The Kinks always appealed to me the most. Growing up in the 70s and listening to AM radio in NYC, I first heard music like the Bee Gees and such (and don’t get me wrong, I still love The Bee Gees too, they have some of the most beautifully produced songs ever recorded), but it wasn’t until i was introduced to The Kinks by some older kids in the neighborhood that my rock n roll education began. I was told to buy “One for the Road”, their live double album, (double albums were cooler, because, obviously, you got twice the music) and listened to Dave Davies’ power chords, like the intro to You Really Got Me, and Ray Davies’ great lyrics and was instantly hooked. It was my first ever album purchase. I even had my mom sew a Kinks patch onto my denim jacket, when that was a cool thing to do. In 1981 I bought Give The People What They Want and begged my parents to let me go see them at the old Brendan Byrne Arena at the Meadowlands with a bunch of my junior high school “mates”, to use a British expression. We sat in just about the last row and remember just having the greatest time. And when people ask me what my first concert ever was, I say with a little bit of pride, “The Kinks”, although that probably just makes me look old. Ironically, Better Things wasn’t even played at that show! I caught them again at the old Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ in 1987 for 2 intimate shows. I was working there at the time and I told my boss that I wouldn’t be doing much work for these shows because this was my first favorite band. They sounded amazing. I kept thinking, this is what a band that’s been together for 25 years should sound like. Sadly, that was the last time I caught them as a band, but I have seen Ray Davies and Dave Davies individually a few times. Thanks for the trip down memory lane Bill, I’m listening to One for the Road again right now. Happy New Year to you too.

    1. Thx, Boris. Really glad to see how much this triggered for you (and for your regular readership). Behind the obvious big 2, The Kinks are kinda the forgotten great British Invasion band, right?, and they were truly fantastic.

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