We’re bringing you a fresh look at a wonderful meeting of British rock minds as Britpop stars from the ages converged with Damon Albarn joining The Kink’s Ray Davies for a performance of ‘Waterloo Sunset’ and Blur’s ‘Parklife’.
During the nineties, there was a swell of prosperity in British music as bands like Oasis, The Stone Roses, Pulp and a whole host more begun storming the charts with their own special brand of Britpop. Amongst the top echelon of that crowd was Damon Albarn and his band Blur who, by 1995, were only matched for guitar rock gravitas by the Gallagher brothers and Oasis.
With a new crop of young artists grabbing the GB baton for rock and roll, the music scene was rife with adoration for the artists which had gone before them. Unlike any time before, the rock bands of the nineties were all paying homage to the stars who sparkled before them. It would lead to a spate of duets and collaborations between old and new legends of Britain’s filthy dancefloors.
Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher would collaborate with Paul Weller (to cover a Beatles song, no less), Liam Gallagher would never stop talking about John Lennon, and Damon Albarn, during a special performance on Channel 4’s youth TV show ‘The White Room’, joined the legendary Kinks frontman and principal songwriter, Ray Davies.
In the clip below, then-presenter and now DJ, Mark Radcliffe, introduces the Blur frontman as “Brit-encrusted” and, by all accounts, in 1996 that’s about right. The singer had just picked up a host of Brit Awards, Blur’s seminal record Parklife was out and gathering critical and commercial success as it went, and his band were the bastions of British rock and roll. To top it all off, he was invited to sing with an icon of his youth, Ray Davies.
The Kinks frontman is introduced by Radcliffe as the “King Kink” which Davies recalls as “making me feel about a thousand years old,” yet still is expertly accurate. The principal songwriter of the band The Kinks, Davies himself was experiencing a renaissance thanks to Britpop’s success and reference to his work. It was a very happy meeting then, between two artists deeply impressed by one another.
That is how the clip goes down. After Davies performs some acoustic renditions of Kinks classics, including a rousing cover of ‘You Really Got Me’, Albarn is introduced to sing a tender and touching cover of ‘Waterloo Sunset’.
Davies’ love letter to London is given a breath of fresh air by the sprightly Albarn who adds a touch of charm to proceedings as the Kinks man expertly strums away. While the cover of ‘Waterloo Sunset’ is a wonderful performance the real kicker comes when Davies manages to coax out a small part of Blur’s chart-topper ‘Parklife’ from the clearly bashful Albarn.
So sit back and watch two legends of Britpop from vastly different times come together to perform two of their most iconic hits.