A Well Respected Man

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"A Well Respected Man"
Dutch picture sleeve
Single by the Kinks
B-side"Such a Shame"
  • 17 September 1965 (1965-09-17) (UK Kwyet Kinks EP)[1]
  • 4 November 1965 (US single)[2]
Recordedc.5 August 1965[3]
StudioPye, London[4]
Songwriter(s)Ray Davies
Producer(s)Shel Talmy[1]
The Kinks US singles chronology
"See My Friends"
"A Well Respected Man"
"Till the End of the Day"

"A Well Respected Man" is a song by the British band the Kinks, written by the group's lead singer and rhythm guitarist Ray Davies, and originally released in the United Kingdom on the EP Kwyet Kinks in September 1965. The song was released on the album Kinkdom in the United States. It was also released as a single in the US and Continental Europe.

"A Well Respected Man" remains one of the band's most popular and best known songs. It is one of four Kinks songs included on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll along with "You Really Got Me," "Waterloo Sunset," and "Lola".


Davies composed the song based on a negative experience with upper class guests at a luxury resort where he was staying in 1965. He crafted the song to mock what he perceived as their condescension and self-satisfaction.

Pye refused to release "A Well Respected Man" as a single in the UK because the record company wanted a song more similar to the band's raunchier previous hits.[9] It was released as a single in the United States during October of that same year and reached No. 13. Following the success of "Dedicated Follower of Fashion", "A Well Respected Man" was also released as a single in mainland Europe in March 1966 (although pressed in the UK, it was an export-only issue).

The song also includes the word "fag", interpreted by Americans as a reference to homosexuality. However, Davies later said that this was not intended:

I had naively meant a fag to either be slang for a cigarette or, at worst, that the well-respected man had been at public school, where [he performed] the most humiliating tasks.[9]

Cash Box described it as a "very catchy folkish number with a message lyric."[10] Record World described it as a "jaunty and yet bitter song about conformity" that is one of the Kinks' best songs.[11]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Musically, it marked the beginning of an expansion in the Kinks' inspirations, drawing much from British Music Hall traditions (a style which was to feature prominently on later 1960s songs such as "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" and "Mister Pleasant"). Lyrically, the song is notable as being the first of Ray Davies' compositions to overtly address the theme of British class consciousness. Indeed, the song offers a satirical commentary on the entrenched mores and conventions of the English upper and middle classes, while hinting at the frustration and casual hypocrisy that underlie this fastidiously maintained veneer of "respectability".

In popular culture[edit]

  • Petula Clark recorded a French version, "Un Jeune Homme Bien", which was released on the French EP Il Faut Revenir in 1965 and in 1966 on the album Petula Clark (Petula 66 in Canada). This version was also recorded in 1966 by Canadian singer Renée Martel.
  • The song was featured in the 2007 film Juno and in the 2010 film Love & Other Drugs featuring Anne Hathaway.
  • The song can be heard during the end credits of the 2004 film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, in the Criminal Minds episode, "Normal", in the Supernatural episode, "It's A Terrible Life" and in the Homicide: Life on the Street episode, "Colors".
  • The song is used as the theme tune to the Sky Atlantic sitcom Mr. Sloane and is featured prominently throughout the series.
  • The song is used in the pilot of Mr. Mercedes as a background song to the main protagonist, Brendan Gleeson awakening and getting dressed.
  • The song is used in Season 3, Episode 2 of Ted Lasso, titled “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” as walking music for Trent Crimm.


According to band researcher Doug Hinman:[1]


Chart (1965–1966) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[12] 13
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[13] 20
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[14] 36
Canada (CHUM)[15] 4
France (IFOP)[16] 20
Malaysia[17] 8
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[18] 8
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[19] 6
Singapore[20] 3
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[21] 7
Sweden (Kvällstoppen)[22] 5
Sweden (Tio i Topp)[23] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[24] 13
US Cash Box Top 100[25] 9


  1. ^ a b c Hinman 2004, p. 66.
  2. ^ Hinman 2004, p. 68.
  3. ^ Hinman 2004, p. 62.
  4. ^ Hinman 2004, pp. 62, 66.
  5. ^ Julian Palacios, Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd: Dark Globe ,(Plexus, 2010), ISBN 0-85965-431-1, p.193
  6. ^ Connell & Gibson 2003, pp. 74–75.
  7. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Great Moments in Folk Rock: Lists of Author Favorites". Richieunterberger.com. Archived from the original on 21 October 2022. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  8. ^ McIver, Joel (2015). "The Kinks - "Sunny Afternoon". In Dimery, Robert (ed.). 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die. New York: Universe. p. 174.
  9. ^ a b Kitts, Thomas (2008). Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else.
  10. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 13 November 1965. p. 22. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Singles Reviews" (PDF). Record World. 13 November 1965. p. 8. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  12. ^ "Every AMR Top 100 Single in 1966". www.top100singles.net.
  13. ^ "The Kinks – A Well Respected Man" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  14. ^ "The Kinks – A Well Respected Man" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "CHUM Hit Parade, week of February 21, 1966". 21 February 1966. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  16. ^ "InfoDisc : Les Tubes de chaque Artiste commençant par K" (in French). InfoDisc. Select "Kinks" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. 14 May 1966. p. 36. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  18. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Kinks" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  19. ^ "The Kinks – A Well Respected Man" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  20. ^ "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. 30 April 1966. p. 48. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  21. ^ "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. 21 May 1966. p. 49. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  22. ^ "HITS ALLER TIJDEN". www.hitsallertijden.nl. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  23. ^ Hallberg, Eric; Henningsson, Ulf (1998). Eric Hallberg, Ulf Henningsson presenterar Tio i topp med de utslagna på försök: 1961 - 74. Premium Publishing. p. 205. ISBN 919727125X.
  24. ^ "The Kinks Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  25. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 2/12/66". cashboxmagazine.com. Retrieved 18 January 2021.