Celluloid Heroes


Celluloid Heroes

"Celluloid Heroes" is a song performed by The Kinks and featured on their 1972 album "Everybody's in Show-Biz". Written by their lead vocalist, Ray Davies, the song mentions many famous actors of 20th century film by name and also mentions Los Angeles's Hollywood Boulevard. Actors mentioned in the song include Greta Garbo, Rudolph Valentino, Bela Lugosi, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, George Sanders, and Mickey Rooney. The central theme of the song is the inhumane manner in which the Hollywood industry drains and exploits its stars, while their film images endure.

Although not a hit single, the track received consistent airplay on AOR radio stations in the US through the 1970s and into the 1980s. Airplay in recent years has been scarce with classic rock stations favouring only the bands' top-40 hits.

"Celluloid Heroes" is a firm favourite amongst Kinks aficionados, and is regarded, lyrically and melodically, as one of Davies's most mature and moving works. The song is one of the few where the talent of John Gosling is put at the front as a key element of the song. "Celluloid Heroes" demonstrates a sensitive, emotional side to Davies's writing not often seen by those only familiar with The Kinks' generally jauntier, carefree singles output. At the time of its release, the song was one of the longest for the band, peaking at 6 minutes, while most of Davies's songs so far rarely surpassed 4 minutes. The song was a standard in their concert play lists until they disbanded in 1996. Notably the song was chosen as the title track of a 1976 collection surveying the bands best-known songs while recording for the RCA label: "The Kinks' Greatest: Celluloid Heroes".

Joan Jett recorded this song for her all-covers album "The Hit List".

A live performance of this track (featuring Ray Davies) appeared as the B-side to Bon Jovi's 2002 single Misunderstood.

A remake of this song by Steve Vai is included on his album The Elusive Light and Sound, volume 1.

External links

* [http://kinks.it.rit.edu/discography/showsong.php?song=50 Lyrics for Celluloid Heroes.]


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