The Kinks

Where Have All the Good Times Gone

Song Review by

”Where Have All The Good Time Gone?”

Ray Davies (1965)

”Where Have All The Good Times Gone?” was released as a b-side to the first single ”Till the End Of The Day” from The Kinks’ fourth long player, The Kink Kontroversey. In what would become typical Ray Davies’ fashion, the tracks forlorn sentiments went against the grain of the times, lamenting the end of the party just as swinging London was kicking into high gear. Musically, the recording suggested a more pronounced English folk rock element that would soon develop into the band’s favored sound for what remained of the ‘60’s. Davies and company seem to be experimenting with a looser, late night wooziness that was not previously apparent on their initial hard rock singles or well crafted pop ballads. The simple arrangement propelled by strummy guitars has the feel of an after hours sing-a-long, especially in the loosely harmonized and oft repeated chorus lyric. Ray Davies seems to be pining for the good old days with lines like, “Well once we had an easy ride and always felt the same / Time was on our side and I had everything to gain / Let it be like yesterday / Please let me have happy days” while later casting a skeptical eye to generational over-glorification of the past, delivering verses with a loose mouthed nonchalance that at times boarders on a childlike taunt, “Ma and Pa look back at all the things they used to do / Didn’t have no money and they always told the truth / Daddy didn’t have no toys / And mummy didn’t need no boys” At this point the meaning of the chorus has been transformed, the Davies’ brothers harmonies on the same lines now soaked with sarcasm, sound more like a jeer, “Won’t you tell me / Where have all the good times gone? / Where have all the good times gone?” Reaching the final verse, the nostalgia has matured into full-blown, generation gap resentment as Davies means to have the last word with the scornful comment, “Well, yesterday was such an easy game for you to play / But let’s face it things are so much easier today / Guess you need some bringing down / And get your feet back on the ground”. -Tom Maginnis

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Kink Kontroversy 1965 Sanctuary 2:53
Till the End of the Day 1966 Castle Music Ltd. 2:51
No Image 1980 Hallmark Recordings
No Image 1984
No Image 1984 Vestron
Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 [Rhino] 1989 Rhino 2:47
No Image 1989 Pickwick
Fab Forty: The Singles Collection 1964-1970 1990 Charly Records
Complete Collection 1992 Castle Music Ltd. 2:50
No Image 1994
Well Respected Kinks [BMG Special Products] 2001 BMG Special Products 2:52
No Image 2002 Universal Distribution
Picture Book [Box Set] 2008 Sanctuary 2:50
The Best of Kinks: 1964-1971 2014 BMG / Sanctuary 2:50
The Anthology 1964-1971 2014 BMG / Sanctuary / Sony Music 2:49
Bowie Heard Them Here First
Various Artists
Ace 2:50
Greatest Hits [Marble Arch] Marble Arch Records
Kinks Kontraband