Celluloid Heroes

Celluloid Heroes (The Kinks)

  • 18 Aug 15:35
  • 8 lists

"Celluloid Heroes" is a song performed by The Kinks and written by their lead vocalist and principal songwriter, Ray Davies. It debuted on their 1972 album Everybody's in Show-Biz.

The song names several famous actors of 20th century film, and also mentions Los Angeles's Hollywood Boulevard, alluding to its Hollywood Walk of Fame. The actors mentioned are Greta Garbo, Rudolph Valentino, Bela Lugosi, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, George Sanders, and Mickey Rooney although some versions of the song, includng recorded concert versions, are performed with fewer verses and, thus, Marilyn Monroe, George Sanders, and Mickey Rooney are left out.

Davies uses the technique of personification (of the Walk's concrete stars) to create an intimate connection with the subject matter. The lyric has a warm, melancholy and nostalgic feel, and is driven by three underlying themes. First, "Celluloid Heroes" specifically cites the inhumane and exploitative manner in which the film industry can use its stars. Second, Davies suggests the escapist fantasy world of movies as an attractive respite. "I wish my life were a non-stop Hollywood movie show," he writes, "because celluloid heroes never feel any...


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