Just over 50 years since the landmark album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society came out, it’s been certified gold in the U.K. The award means that the LP has sold more than 100,000 copies in the band’s native country. It’s still uncertified in the United States, where it would take half a million copies sold to earn a gold plaque.
The group reissued the album last month, just ahead of its 50th anniversary. The collection includes remastered versions of the original album in stereo and mono, outtakes, alternative versions of songs, demos, vinyl, a book and memorabilia.
The record contains 15 vignettes that express nostalgia for the past, a yearning for understanding and a sense of remorse for the way England seemed to be changing at the time — filled with characters that the Davies brothers knew growing up. The band wasn’t able to tour in the U.S. at the time, so frontman and songwriter Ray Davies receded into Englishness. Although critics gave it a warm reception when it came out, it wasn’t a massive hit. It came out the same day as the Beatles’ White Album and it failed to make the charts in either the U.S. or the U.K. It’s since become a cult hit and has been recognized as a classic; Rolling Stone named it one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2012. Davies is now in the process of adapting it for the stage.
“With ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘All Day and All of the Night,’ we were saying, ‘We’re here, we’re gonna grab you,'” Ray told Rolling Stone in a recent extensive feature about the album. “The music on Village Green says, ‘Come find us.’ If you don’t want to find us, it’s bad luck for you. There’s a little bit of encouragement there.”