The Kinks: Songs of the Semi-Detached

Mark Doyle (Author)


Of all the great British rock bands to emerge from the 1960s, none had a stronger sense of place than the Kinks. Often described as the archetypal English band, they were above all a quintessentially working-class band with a deep attachment to London, particularly the patch of suburban North London where most of the members grew up. In this illuminating study, Mark Doyle examines the relationship between the Kinks and their city, from their early songs of teenage rebellion to their later album-length works of social criticism, providing a unique perspective on the way in which the band responded to the shifting nature of working-class life. Along the way, he finds fascinating and sometimes surprising connections with figures as diverse as Edmund Burke, John Clare, Charles Dickens, and the Covent Garden Community Association. More than just a book about the Kinks, this is a book about a city, a nation, and a social class undergoing a series of profound, sometimes troubling changes--and about a group of young men who found a way to describe, lament, and occasionally even celebrate those changes through song.

Product Details

$16.00  $14.72
Reaktion Books
Publish Date
April 04, 2020
5.8 X 0.9 X 8.2 inches | 0.75 pounds
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About the Author

Mark Doyle is professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University. He is the author of Fighting Like the Devil for the Sake of God: Protestants, Catholics, and the Origins of Violence in Belfast and the editor of The British Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia.


"This is the kind of critical work I love best: cogent, insightful, well-written, a bit quixotic, and showing a complete mastery of the subject. Doyle brings something else entirely to the growing library of Kinks histories and memoirs. Just as Dave Davies provided the sonic architecture for entire genres of rock, Ray's songwriting established him as the quintessential London chronicler of the twentieth century. The Kinks are well worthy of this deeply researched book, delivered with analytical rigor and wit."--David Smay, author of "Swordfishtrombones" (33 1/3) and coeditor of "Lost in the Grooves"