Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sunny Afternoon

One of those minor questions that bugs you for years until finally you look it up: Was the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" a response to the Beatles' "Taxman"? No, apparently not. The Kinks' track was released as a single on Jun 3rd, 1966. "Taxman" wasn't released as a single, so it didn't come out until a month later, with the Aug 5 release of Revolver. Awful close, but it seems more likely that there was something in the air. In my search, however, I've discovered that one reviewer is an idiot:
While ”Sunny Afternoon” appeared a breezy tune on the surface, it belied a scathing indictment of a brutal tax system that in itself would become a favorite preoccupation of English musicians, such as George Harrison’s ”Taxman” of the same period and would help drive The Rolling Stones into tax exile a few years later. To a sarcastically fluffy acoustic guitar and a lazily descending riff Davies defiantly kicks back to enjoy the fine summer weather while his fortune crumbles around him...
It's an elementary mistake to confuse the speaker of a song or poem for the author. "Sunny Afternoon" is a breezy tune on the surface that contains a scathing indictment... of wealthy people like George Harrison who would complain that their taxes were oppressive.

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