The Kinks are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, in 1964 by brothers Ray
and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s. The band emerged
during the height of British rhythm and blues and Merseybeat, and were briefly part of the British Invasion of
the United States until their touring ban in 1965 (as a result of constant fighting between the brothers).
Their third single, the Ray Davies-penned "You Really Got Me", became an international hit, topping the charts
in the United Kingdom and reaching the Top 10 in the United States. Their music was influenced by a wide range
of genres, including rhythm and blues, British music hall, folk and country. They gained a reputation for
reflecting English culture and lifestyle, fuelled by Ray Davies' observational writing style, and are
considered one of the most influential groups of the period.
The band's first single was a cover of the Little Richard song
"Long Tall Sally". Bobby Graham, a friend of the band, was recruited to play drums on the recording. He would
continue to occasionally substitute for Avory in the studio and play on several of the Kinks' early singles,
including the early hits "You Really Got Me", "All Day and All of the Night" and "Tired of Waiting for You".] "Long
Tall Sally" was released in February 1964, but despite the publicity efforts of the band's managers, the single was
almost completely ignored. When their second single, "You Still Want Me", failed to chart, Pye Records threatened
to annul the group's contract unless their third single was successful.
"You Really Got Me", a Ray Davies song, influenced by American blues and the
Kingsmen's version of "Louie Louie", was recorded on 15 June 1964 at Pye studios with a slower and more produced
feel than the final single. Ray Davies wanted to rerecord the song with a lean, raw sound, but Pye refused to fund
another session; Davies took an adamant stand, so the producer, Shel Talmy, broke the stalemate by underwriting the
session himself. The band used an independent studio, IBC, and went in on 15 July, getting it done in two takes.
The single was released on August 1964, and, supported by a performance on the television show Ready Steady Go! and
extensive pirate radio coverage, it entered the UK charts on 15 August, reaching number one on 19 September.
Hastily imported by the American label Reprise Records, it also made the Top 10 in the United States. The loud,
distorted guitar riff and solo on "You Really Got Me" was played by Dave Davies and achieved by a slice Dave Davies
made in the speaker cone of his Elpico amplifier (referred to by the band as the "little green amp")— helped with
the song's signature, gritty guitar sound. "You Really Got Me" has been described as "a blueprint song in the hard
rock and heavy metal arsenal", and as an influence on the approach of some American garage rock bands. After its
release, the group recorded most of the tracks for their debut LP, simply titled Kinks. Consisting largely of
covers and revamped traditional songs, it was released on 2 October 1964, reaching number four on the UK chart. The
group's fourth single, "All Day and All of the Night", another Ray Davies hard rock tune, was released three weeks
later, reaching number two in the United Kingdom, and number seven in the United States. The next singles, "Set Me
Free" and "Tired of Waiting for You", were also commercially successful, the latter topping the UK singles
he group opened 1965 with their first tour of Australia and New
Zealand, with Manfred Mann and the Honeycombs. An intensive performing schedule saw them headline other package
tours throughout the year with acts such as the Yardbirds and Mickey Finn. Tensions began to emerge within the
band, expressed in incidents such as the on-stage fight between Avory and Dave Davies at The Capitol Theatre,
Cardiff, Wales, on 19 May. After finishing the first song, "You Really Got Me", Davies insulted Avory and kicked
over his drum set. Avory responded by hitting Davies with his hi-hat stand, rendering him unconscious, before
fleeing from the scene, fearing that he had killed his bandmate. Davies was taken to Cardiff Royal Infirmary, where
he received 16 stitches to his head. To placate the police, Avory later claimed that it was part of a new act in
which the band members would hurl their instruments at each other.
Following a mid-year tour of the United States, the American
Federation of Musicians refused permits for the group to appear in concerts there for the next four years,
effectively cutting off the Kinks from the main market for rock music at the height of the British Invasion.
Although neither the Kinks nor the union gave a specific reason for the ban, at the time it was widely attributed
to their rowdy on-stage behaviour. It has been reported that an incident when the band were taping Dick Clark's TV
show Where The Action Is in 1965 led to the ban. Ray Davies recalls in his autobiography, "Some guy who said he
worked for the TV company walked up and accused us of being late. Then he started making anti-British comments.
Things like "Just because the Beatles did it, every mop-topped, spotty-faced limey juvenile thinks he can come over
here and make a career for himself." following which a punch was thrown and the AFM banned them.
A significant stylistic shift in the Kinks' music became evident
in late 1965, with the appearance of singles like "A Well Respected Man" and "Dedicated Follower of Fashion", as
well as the band's third album, The Kink Kontroversy, on which session musician Nicky Hopkins made his first
appearance with the group on keyboards. These recordings exemplified the development of Davies' songwriting style,
from hard-driving rock numbers toward songs rich in social commentary, observation and idiosyncratic character
study, all with a uniquely English flavour.
The satirical single "Sunny Afternoon" was the biggest UK hit of
summer 1966, topping the charts and displacing the Beatles' "Paperback Writer". Before the release of The Kink
Kontroversy, Ray Davies suffered a nervous and physical breakdown, caused by the pressures of touring, writing and
ongoing legal squabbles. During his months of recuperation, he wrote several new songs and pondered the band's
direction. Quaife was involved in an automobile accident,and after his recovery decided to step back from the band
for much of 1966. Bassist John Dalton filled in until Quaife returned to the group at the end of the
"Sunny Afternoon" was a dry run for the band's next album Face to
Face, which displayed Davies' growing ability to craft gentle yet cutting narrative songs about everyday life and
people. Hopkins returned for the sessions to play various keyboard instruments, including piano and harpsichord. He
played on the band's next two studio albums as well, and was involved on a number of their live BBC recordings
before joining the Jeff Beck Group in 1968. Face to Face was released in October 1966 in the UK, where it was well
received and peaked at number eight. It was released in the US in December and was tipped as a potential "chart
winner" by Billboard magazine. Despite this, it managed only a meagre chart peak of 135—a sign of the band's
flagging popularity in the American market.
The Kinks' next single was a social commentary piece entitled
"Dead End Street". It was released in November 1966 and became another UK Top 10 hit, although it reached only
number 73 in the United States. Melody Maker reviewer Bob Dawbarn praised Ray Davies' ability to create a song with
"some fabulous lyrics and a marvellous melody ... combined with a great production",and music scholar Johnny Rogan
described it as "a kitchen sink drama without the drama—a static vision of working class stoicism". One of the
group's first promotional music videos was produced for the song. It was filmed on Little Green Street, a small
18th-century lane in north London, located off Highgate Road in Kentish Town.
The Kinks' next single, "Waterloo Sunset", was released in May
1967. The lyrics describe two lovers passing over a bridge, with a melancholic observer reflecting on the couple,
the Thames and Waterloo station. The song was rumoured to have been inspired by the romance between two British
celebrities of the time, actors Terence Stamp and Julie Christie.
The band continued on with success throughout the 1960s and
In a June 2018 interview, Ray Davies stated that he, along with
brother Dave, and drummer Avory, had reformed The Kinks for a new studio album and to potentially perform