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The Kinks — 20th Century Man
Album: Muswell Hillbillies
Avg rating:
7.4

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1310









Released: 1972
Length: 5:48
Plays (last 30 days): 1
This is the age of machinery
A mechanical nightmare
The wonderful world of technology
Napalm, hydrogen bombs, biological warfare

This is the twentieth century
But too much aggravation
It's the age of insanity
What has become of the green pleasant fields of Jerusalem

Ain't got no ambition, I'm just disillusioned
I'm a twentieth century man but I don't wanna be here
My mama said she can't understand me
She can't see my motivation
Just give me some security
I'm a paranoid schizoid product of the twentieth century

You keep all your smart modern writers
Give me William Shakespeare
You keep all your smart modern painters
I'll take Rembrandt, Titian, Da Vinci and Gainsborough

Girl, we gotta get out of here
We gotta find a solution
I'm a twentieth century man but I don't want to die here

I was born in a welfare state
Ruled by bureaucracy
Controlled by civil servants
And people dressed in grey
Got no privacy, got no liberty
'Cause the twentieth century people
Took it all away from me

Don't wanna get myself shot down
By some trigger happy policeman
Gotta keep a hold on my sanity
I'm a twentieth century man but I don't wanna die here

My mama says she can't understand me
She can't see my motivation
Ain't got no security
I'm a twentieth century man but I don't wanna be here

This is the twentieth century
But too much aggravation
This is the edge of insanity
I'm a twentieth century man but I don't wanna be here
Comments (155)add comment
Best Kinks tune by far.  
The Kinks and other 60s/70s bands are still relevant to the world....change is indeed slow. Too bloody slow esp now.
Ray Davies; one of the greats for sure.
Quite topical in 2020. Wow, the Kinks truly were ahead of their time!
Kinks  CLASSIC  -  a real gem from the past and sadly rather appropriate for March 2020
Moving it up to a 9 today. Keep em coming Bill!
Thanks Bill!!!!   Let's get this quarantine rolling...was worried we were going to a funeral!!!
Always a 10. In honor of Reverend Jim.
The Kinks are always good keep em coming
Amazing how this gains power as it rolls along
 surfnetter1 wrote:
Was thinking just the other day, Muswell Hillbillies and here it is...
 primm
Posted: Sep 24, 2016 9:07
 {#Boohoo} arguably their best album ! every song is outstanding rock on !

 
Agreed, the Kinks made many outstanding albums with “Muswell Hillbillies” being one of their best.  Not a bad song on the whole album.
me no like
never noticed that ray's voice reminds me so much of chuck prophett (sp?).......is it just me....in the parts where he's not screaming here
Davies bros have always been my fav over.....the rest in this era.  Great lyrics and best delivery.  Dave's Lead and Ray's vocals are always super!  This is my total fav from them.
Historic Crouch End pub in London Borough of Haringey. Worked there for 12 years and my wife lived there for awhile. Had a few drinks at the place too. Last year moved to Berlin (Germany) - that's where the action is at the moment.
Was thinking just the other day, Muswell Hillbillies and here it is...
 primm
Posted: Sep 24, 2016 9:07
 {#Boohoo} arguably their best album ! every song is outstanding rock on !
Song is going on 46 years old. If I didn't know better, I would say 46 days. Or just redub 20th Century Man to 21st.  Funny how nothing changes, sometimes not even change. 
Hearing this today was perfect for me. In the past few days I finished a book about the Kinks, watched Ray's film 'Return to Waterloo' and just last night called an old friend who thought the Kinks were the best of the best back in the day. I love it when events synchronize like that.
 coloradojohn wrote:
I grin when this song comes on! So many of my Ozzie, British and Canadian expat friends in Tokyo also loved this well. The cover shot sends me back to some of the grand old pubs in Melbourne that still look like that... Gimme a Boag's...VeeBee...'n' a Toohey's, mate~!

 
How 'bout a Resch's in an oil can and a bottle of Broken Hill?
Hell yeah!
I grin when this song comes on! So many of my Ozzie, British and Canadian expat friends in Tokyo also loved this well. The cover shot sends me back to some of the grand old pubs in Melbourne that still look like that... Gimme a Boag's...VeeBee...'n' a Toohey's, mate~!
 Zapmedia wrote:
My all time favorite Kinks tune!
 

 
Certainly one of their best, I think.
Anybody who identifies with the counter culture from that era must find this song at the very least interesting.

As for all you straight, well-behaved conventional dudes and dudettes from the period, it is never too late:  Get a life!  
Some them twice.  Last time Ray Davies sprayed a Heineken on me (but that was at the Stone Pony).
 
My all time favorite Kinks tune!
 
 h8rhater wrote:

Ignorance is lionized now.  Didn't you get the memo?

 
LOL.

As the article about the Kinks in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame makes clear, the Kinks have a unique place in rock history. Whether you like them or not they were: "Always a band of anti-trendsetters" (https://www.rockhall.com/inductees/kinks) and forerunners of several rock genres from punk to heavy metal. 

It is always good to hear them, thanks Bill.  
 johnjconn wrote:

Overrated band, cheesy lyrics



 dragon1952 wrote:

The Kinks have endured for over 50 years, were at the forefront of the British invasion and likely influenced many of the bands you like today. To call them overrated is just plain ignorant.

 
Ignorance is lionized now.  Didn't you get the memo?
 Ahnyer_Keester wrote:
Man do I hate The Kinks. PS(very)D.

 
Why share the h8? Tell us when you love a band.  It will be so much more meaningful
I always get caught my Ray's growl and commitment to the lyrics. Get song.
Man do I hate The Kinks. PS(very)D.
{#Boohoo} arguably their best album ! every song is outstanding rock on !
Totally underrated band...Lets party..{#Cowboy}
hey Ray it gets worse....you coulda morphed into 21st Century Schizoid Man!
 
Really Ray - wait till you get to the 21st Century
i didn't pay much attention to this album when it came out
it was played a lot on FM
and i heard a lot of it but this was 1972
and i thought the Kinks were just some over-the-hill mid-60's pop band
7 years is a long time in rock-n-roll years
 
 oldfart48 wrote:


first punk tune EVER RECORDED  right here.... KINKS RULE...{#Dance}

 
Right on!
one of their best records by far and some of ray's best writing thanks bill !

Don't wanna get myself shot down
By some trigger happy policeman
{#Guitarist} Yep!
Think these awesome lyrics are even more true of this 21st century.
 dragon1952 wrote:

The Kinks have endured for over 50 years, were at the forefront of the British invasion and likely influenced many of the bands you like today. To call them overrated is just plain ignorant.

 
Ditto what dragon said. 
 johnjconn wrote:

Overrated band, cheesy lyrics



 
The Kinks have endured for over 50 years, were at the forefront of the British invasion and likely influenced many of the bands you like today. To call them overrated is just plain ignorant.
Here's one thing, among many, which is great about The Kinks. It's the diversity of their output. Their range is just incredible.
Punk rock!!!
 Byronape wrote:

And there wasn't anything such as police brutality in the 70's?  Or in London where this album was recorded?  I think there might be a tiny bit of a difference between the culture in the UK in 1972 and New Orleans in 2004 when he was shot.  I have a feeling that chasing after the dude that stole his woman's purse might not have been his smartest move either.


 
It was just a flesh wound, said the Black Knight.

Quite an indictment of the 20th century drift towards benevolent socialist dictatorships. Same could still be said and perhaps more so of the 21st.


 johnjconn wrote:

Overrated band, cheesy lyrics



 

I agree though there are a few songs that I really like from them and this just happens to be one of them. 8
 Lrobby99 wrote:
The KINKS soo underrated and nearly forgotten.

 
NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD......{#Dance} ( their in several vynal piles )
 johnjconn wrote:

Overrated band, cheesy lyrics



 

first punk tune EVER RECORDED  right here.... KINKS RULE...{#Dance}
 johnjconn wrote:

Overrated band, cheesy lyrics



 
From '64 to about '72, their output held it's own with their more famous brethren.  Hardly overrated.
 Cynaera wrote:
I have GOT to get my turntable out of storage and hook it up. Musicmusicmusic in the vinyl form, and this is one of them.
 

Miss you so much, Cynaera...

love this song...
 
Outstanding!
great lyrics
 CamLwalk wrote:
Stones, Marley's 'War', Elvis Costello's best song, now this.  Pretty hot run there Bill!
 
Ditto this fine afternoon...thanks again Bill.

Underrated band. Great lyrics.
This is the edge of insanity and I like it!!!
HEY guess what Ray - YOU DIDN'T...{#Lol}
 Businessgypsy wrote:
Ray could have used a policeman when that gutterpunk in New Orleans shot him. Revisionist history always dreams of the "good old days" that never were.
 
And there wasn't anything such as police brutality in the 70's?  Or in London where this album was recorded?  I think there might be a tiny bit of a difference between the culture in the UK in 1972 and New Orleans in 2004 when he was shot.  I have a feeling that chasing after the dude that stole his woman's purse might not have been his smartest move either.

Don't wanna get myself shot down
By some trigger happy policeman,
Gotta keep a hold on my sanity
I'm a twentieth century man but I don't wanna die here.


Ray could have used a policeman when that gutterpunk in New Orleans shot him. Revisionist history always dreams of the "good old days" that never were. Great song, tho'.

I have GOT to get my turntable out of storage and hook it up. Musicmusicmusic in the vinyl form, and this is one of them.
I remember this LP coming out! Sensational!
I'm dancing in my seat!
This is one of my all-time favorites by the Kinks.  Such snarky-yet-truthful lyrics, and some really great instrumental stuff going on.  I also like "Massive Reductions, " but this one will invariably make me tap my foot, grin, and then double-take and think, "Whaaaa?!" {#Dancingbanana}
 westslope wrote:
Love the electric piano or is that an organ?
 
Both !

MH is the best album of the Kinks. With a better production it would have become a real classic one
 AdyMiles wrote:
boring and predictable strumming thud thud music
 

Boring and predictable comment from someone who has apparently, blessedly, gone the way of excelsior. Yay!

Great song, and poignant is right.  I'd like to hear The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again after this: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Stones, Marley's 'War', Elvis Costello's best song, now this.  Pretty hot run there Bill!
My boy just came in and said "So dad is this like Can then, sounds a bit like them?"
At the time he had a point and I was proud
Now the 70's groove is there and I'm not so sure.
At least he's got Can on his iPod eh?
Yeah you got me really goin now,
right from the very start
yeah you got me goin
yeeees
 tonypf wrote:
As far as I was concerned, Ray and the rest of the Kinks were one of the great bands on the planet during this period.
 
{#Yes},,some songs I like  You Really Got Me
                                       
All Day and All of the Night
                                       
Dead End Street
                                       
Dedicated Follower of Fashion
                                       
Tired of Waiting for You

 wendyleefrancis wrote:
This is the Kinks at their best! There are many songs from this early era of the Kinks that are absolute classics - some of the best music ever produced.
 
The Kinks came on the scene about the same time as the Stones and the Beatles. 20th Century Man is really from the middle/end of their career.

Still an awesome song that has stood up well over time (no pun intended)!{#Clap}

 h8rhater wrote:

All the Men in the world are still 20th Century Men and the liberty/privacy issues that Ray spoke of in 72 are as poignant today.

 
Yeah, like the calender is what matters......not.  Looks like Ray is eyeing the dude's Guinness to me!

 ecocommie wrote:
When listening to this song, please remember that we're in the 21st century...
Perhaps Ray could give us the update-
 
All the Men in the world are still 20th Century Men and the liberty/privacy issues that Ray spoke of in 72 are as poignant today.

 Not on RP they're not.  In my mind this is one of their best.


Lrobby99 wrote:
The KINKS soo underrated and nearly forgotten.
 

This is the Kinks at their best! There are many songs from this early era of the Kinks that are absolute classics - some of the best music ever produced.
The KINKS soo underrated and nearly forgotten.
My toes starting tapping on the first note.
Love the electric piano or is that an organ?
this is genius pop.
 Ag3nt0rang3 wrote:
Certainly they flew under the radar for me, for many years all I knew of the Kinks was Lola, and let me tell you, if the rest of their stuff was comparable to Lola, I never would have gotten into them. But RP showed the deeper cuts, and I have to say they are an amazing band. And yes, underappreciated.
 
Nice comment. Yes, there's so much of the Kinks music that is unknown to many, including myself. Thanks to Bill and Rebecca for shining some light on these hidden treasures.

boring and predictable strumming thud thud music
made me stop what i was doing to give it a big {#Yes}
That's where Southern Culture On The Skids gets the song title.
Hmmm.
I like this song, but I definitely don't think it's one of their stronger tracks.
I like this song.  But I like the song Muswell Hillbilly better.

I just LOVE THIS SONG! period. {#Notworthy}
 ChardRemains wrote:
Witty self pity doesn't make the self pity any more appealing.
 
Yes it does...well, sometimes.


I've listened to a lot of the Kinks and loved it all.  Somehow this song and album have always summed them up the best.

Somehow this reminded me of the Kinks - DUHHHHH!

 brightshadow wrote:
One word comes to mind. Liberty.
 
One word comes to my mind:  Guns.

Poignant! What with them grey suits committing my kids and everyone else in the next generation to outrgaeous national debt - spend your way out of recession! The pub's still exactly the same also.




Great cover; whatever the future holds, we will always be heading to the pub
One word comes to mind. Liberty.
Shesdifferent wrote:
Little did he know that technology would be even further today than when he sang this song!
Oh, I'd say he did a pretty good job of forseeing and predicting the future. God I love this song! Long live Ray Davies!
sharkartist wrote:
Got to hear Ray Davies perform this just two weeks ago in San Francisco. Still as timely as ever. Such a great song.
Little did he know that technology would be even further today than when he sang this song!
Got to hear Ray Davies perform this just two weeks ago in San Francisco. Still as timely as ever. Such a great song.
lmic wrote:
I'm always puzzled when folks say this. Didn't they make a permanent name with "Lola"?
Certainly they flew under the radar for me, for many years all I knew of the Kinks was Lola, and let me tell you, if the rest of their stuff was comparable to Lola, I never would have gotten into them. But RP showed the deeper cuts, and I have to say they are an amazing band. And yes, underappreciated.
ChardRemains wrote:
Witty self pity doesn't make the self pity any more appealing.
so you are throwing away around 90% of all rock and roll's greatest songs?
ChardRemains wrote:
Witty self pity doesn't make the self pity any more appealing.
perhaps, but the tune makes it very appealing. Cool song, I think.
Canned Heat comes to mind! Great song!
All you need to do is change 20th to 21st century and it's all very current. :dance:
Witty self pity doesn't make the self pity any more appealing.
sweet!
One of my alltime favorite songs from one of my alltime favorite albums. The Kinks rule.
Such a good song. Makes me realize how deep the Kinks catalogue is and how I need to dig around in it some more. :yes:
:cheers:
:dancingbanana: :dancingbanana: :dancingbanana:
According to Wikipedia (click here), it's The Archway Tavern... about 2 miles from Muswell Hill. algrif wrote:
I'm sure I've been in that bar. It's in London innit? Anybody know where?
This is the twenty-first century But too much aggravation This is the edge of insanity I'm a twenty-first century man but I don't wanna be here.
Dave Davies's acoustic guitar is a wonder--easily the equal of Beggar's Banquet-era Richards.
More Kinks! :bananasplit: :bananasplit:
See.. this is why I love this station so much. Seriously.
This song is rocking my world right now! :daisy:
:bananapiano: :bananapiano: :bananapiano: :bananapiano: :dancingbanana: :dancingbanana: bananabeat
I'm sure I've been in that bar. It's in London innit? Anybody know where?
Wow, it's just as true today as it was last century. All ya gotta do is change the lyric from "Twentieth century" to "Twenty-first century".
siloco wrote:
One of the most underappreciated musical acts of all time.
I'm always puzzled when folks say this. Didn't they make a permanent name with "Lola"? EDIT: Having grown up with hippie/hipster parents in the 60s & 70s, I guess my perspective on what is "mainstream" has been skewed. Cause it appears even Ray Davies notes that his band has traveled, to some extent, under the radar: https://www.rockhall.com/hof/inductee.asp?id=138 (click here) On the eve of their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, Ray Davies had this to say: "The Kinks have always been outsiders. I'm an outsider. To be accepted is unique for us. I'm pleased for the people who believed in me all along. It's nice for them to know that their faith wasn't misplaced." Of course, just their being in the R&R Hall of Fame means they can't be totally outside...
This song rocks on their 1980 One from the Road LP
ecocommie wrote:
When listening to this song, please remember that we're in the 21st century... Perhaps Ray could give us the update-
Well, we did get out, but things really aren't looking any better.
What about the 21st century? ...man I gotta get out of here