The Kinks

The Kinks • Top of the Pops • December 8, 1966 • No. 1


BBC Lime Grove Studios, Studio G, West London

BBC1 Top of the Pops – Broadcast live, 7:35-8:05pm, Segment repeated December 22, 1966

Left to right: Pete Quaife, Dave Davies, Ray Davies, and Mick Avory


The Story

The Kinks, about to take the stage prior to performing ‘Dead End Street’ on BBC1’s Top of the Pops

Tired of the investment of time needed to promote new record releases via an ever-revolving schedule of television appearances, Ray Davies concocts the idea of producing a promotional film to air on pop shows, such as Top of the Pops, in place of an actual band appearance. Davies believes the ritual of bands simply miming along to their latest record has run its course, and envisions a more artistic presentation.

On November 14, 1966, The Kinks, including Pete Quaife, marking his official return to the band after a five-month absence, convene in Little Green Street, off Highgate Road, Kentish Town, north London for filming.

There has been a long-running debate whether or not The Kinks’ promotional film for ‘Dead End Street’ is the first “music video” to feature a concept and a narrative. But what is obvious is the finished result is as endearingly rough around the edges as the band itself. Incidentally, The Who release a very similar promotional film for their latest single, ‘Happy Jack,’ within a matter of weeks. 

On November 30, 1966, the BBC announces that it will not air the ‘Dead End Street’ film on the December 1 broadcast of Top of the Pops, as the network opines the film is in poor taste. The BBC’s excuse is the film’s portrayal of the reanimation of a corpse, but Davies has always believed the real reason behind the BBC’s ban was the film’s political content: “It showed slums and poverty, and so they wouldn’t run it. I guess they prefer films about running around in parks, jumping over chairs.”

Because of the BBC ban, The Kinks have little choice but to promote their new single on Top of the Pops in studio. Had the BBC lifted the ban, there is a real possibility these photographs would not exist.

Also appearing in studio on this week’s Top of the Pops!: Jimmy Ruffin, The Easybeats, and Tom Jones

Photographer unconfirmed / Image formerly from the London Features International Ltd – John Halsall Archives / Published in Jon Savage’s The Kinks: The Official Biography, 1984 Faber and Faber Limited 

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