The Kinks had a rough rise to stardom, due to few factors like bad management and conflict in the group.
The singer, Bob Davies, had taken some time out to look after his new kid.
The song is about a lazy, drunken aristocrat who is feeling a bit hard done by because the government has taxed him and he can’t play on his yacht as much.
The character is deliberately made into a wife beater in case anybody believes taxing the rich is wrong and feels sorry for him.
It’s quite an indolent song, with a perfectly suited lazy feeling that actually is reminiscent of sitting in the garden on a sunny afternoon. That is a masterstroke in itself!
The song feels quite Beatles-esque, due to its simple, bouncy rhythms and infectious melodies. The vocals are the main draw. He had a cold when this was recorded (in one take), which gives it a slightly restrained feeling. It is basically a happy song, I think.
It’s a noticeably less hard rocking song than many of the band’s earlier hits, signally a shift in style.
The song was released in 1966 as single, and went to number 1 on the U.K. Singles chart.
The video is the band performing in the snow, but it brings some sunshine into a cold January!