The Kinks ‘Arthur’ 50th Anniversary Reissue
Having worked on the promotional videos for the 50th Anniversary release of ‘The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society’ last year, we were delighted to be asked back to create an extended trailer to promote the 50th Anniversary release of ‘Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) this year.
The Kinks ‘Arthur’ promotional trailer
‘Arthur’ is a concept album released in 1969, centered around a character who was based on Ray and Dave Davies brother-in-law Arthur Anning. We were briefed to visually tell the story of the album, the themes of which include Arthur’s disillusionment with post war Britain, the loss of Empire, and his family’s eventual move to Australia. We had the privilege of meeting with Ray Davies who further explained the narrative of the album and its relevance to current times – Britain as a country in flux; split over whether or not to join the European economic community and a country struggling to come to terms with its own identity. ‘Arthur’ was written at a pivotal time in British culture – a period of upheaval that resonates strongly with the present.
Armed with this information we realised we needed to visualise the themes Ray Davies had written about, whilst enhancing and representing each individual track featured in the piece. We decided collage to be the perfect medium as we could feature archive imagery and real people of the period. In this way we could really bring the narrative of ‘Arthur’ alive and each scene also features layered textures and visuals that draw on the lyrics and permeate each scene with historical artifacts.
For example, the track ‘Australia’ features the original adverts and slogans promoting passage to British migrants known as ‘Ten pound poms’, alongside original passenger identity documents, applications and letters. The inclusion of some Davies family photographs was an addition that made the trailer feel particularly pertinent to Ray and Dave Davies. We decided to include the lyrics in the piece because being a concept album, Ray Davies lyrics throughout ‘Arthur’ are so important and paint a picture of their own.
As well as creating the trailer, we made additional content for social media including holding images and edits of the trailer. We were also asked to make an ‘unboxing’ video for the album – an animated online advert showing off the 50th Anniversary box set in all its glory.