Ray Davies didn't originally want the Kinks to release “Waterloo Sunset” because he wanted to keep the classic song for his family.

Released in 1967, the track has achieved wide acclaim over the years, with many regarding it as one of the best of its era. In a new interview with Mojo (via Music-News.com), Davies discussed his reaction to hearing the completed version.

“I got my family together — my sister was over from Australia, and there was Jackie, my niece, and a couple of my nephews — and I played them the acetate of it about 20 times,” he explained. “I said, ‘That’s for us and I don’t want it to come out.’ It was so important to me. … Shows I’m not a very good businessman. I just wanted it to be ours.”

However, he said he was happy about the way “Waterloo Sunset” has been received over the years: “I’m pleased that people connected to it in the right way. … It’s incredible when someone says, ‘Did you write that, mister? I’d love to have written that.’ The reward for writing is not how much money it makes … it’s recognition from other people, that it resonates.”

He added that the song was “part of [him]. ... Just imagine if I hadn’t written ‘Waterloo Sunset’ — what an empty place my life would be.”

Listen to the Kinks' 'Waterloo Sunset'

In the same interview, Davies said he only recently learned that he nearly died in 1944, at home in London during the Second World War, when he was just two days old.

“I was on Zoom with my family,” he said. “My sister Gwen was on it, too, and she told this story. When I was two days old — she would have been about five or six — she suddenly decided to pick me up and take me out of the kitchen where my cot was. And she heard a V-2 bomb coming over. The V-2 landed just up the road. … All the glass in the kitchen, where I’d been lying, was shattered all over the room and I would have been killed. Talk about being intuitive.”


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