Today Pye Records in the UK released new single by the Kinks, “Waterloo Sunset.” Little-known fact (or at least previously unknown by me): this song was originally titled “Liverpool Sunset.” “I’d fallen in love with Liverpool by that point,” says Ray Davies. “On every tour, that was the best reception. We played The Cavern, all those old places, and I couldn’t get enough of it.” But then “The Beatles came up with ‘Penny Lane’ and that was the end of that.”

Ray never wanted to be seen as following in The Beatles’ footsteps — in his mind the Kinks were every bit as good, and maybe better. He never missed an opportunity to throw a little shade on his Scouse rivals (to wit, his snarky 1966 review of Revolver). But at least he had the goods to back it up; “Waterloo Sunset” is an impeccably gorgeous song, a standout even in Ray’s remarkable catalog. Don’t just take my word for it; according to Wikipedia,

Pop music journalist Robert Christgau has called the song “the most beautiful song in the English language.” Pete Townshend of The Who has called it “divine” and “a masterpiece.” AllMusic senior editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine concurred, citing it as “possibly the most beautiful song of the rock and roll era.” On his album The Interpreter: Live at Largo, singer Rhett Miller calls it “the greatest song ever written by a human being.”

Or you can judge for yourself:

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