The Kinks

Published on

The Kinks
Photo: GAB Archive/Redferns

The Kinks are recognised as one of the most important and influential British rock groups of all time. From their explosive beginnings as part of the British Beat movement to forays into concept albums, stadium rock, and acoustic balladeering, The Kinks have left an unimpeachable legacy of classic songs, many of which form the building blocks of popular music as we know it today. Ray Davies is the quintessential English songwriter. He is truly one of a kind. His songs chronicled the working class, celebrating the joys and melancholy of day-to-day living. Davies is a magnificent observer of British life.

Hailing from Muswell Hill in North London, The Kinks were formed by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. Calling themselves The Ravens, an early line-up saw them playing a combination of R&B and rock and roll with friend Peter Quaife on bass. A self-produced demo tape reached record producer Shel Talmy, who helped the band land a contract with Pye Records in 1964. Before signing, the group replaced their drummer with Mick Avory and renamed themselves The Kinks.

The group’s third single, You Really Got Me, stormed to the top of the UK charts. Written by Ray in their parents’ front room and fueled by Dave’s aggressive, outrageous guitar sound, the song has since been cited as the inspiration for garage rock, punk, heavy metal and by contemporaries, The Who.

Between 1965-1967, The Kinks enjoyed their first commercial peak, scoring nine British and seven US chart hits. As the leader of the Kinks, Ray Davies has covered the spectrum of the rock idiom like few others, writing such rock classics as, “Sunny Afternoon”, “Waterloo Sunset”, “Lola”, “Tired of Waiting For You,” “A Well Respected Man”, “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” and “Come Dancing”.

While Davies has long been considered the quintessential British songwriter, the Kinks and their leader were never just an English phenomenon, as America first accepted Davies’ lyrical sense of humour and irresistible hooks during the first British Invasion in the early Sixties, and the love affair has continued through hot and cold periods for over 30 years.

In recent times The Kinks came out as the top earners for music used in TV adverts in the US, earning them a reported £6m a year. The Kinks were enjoying a resurgence – with their music being used to sell washing powder, computers and medicines.

Although they weren’t as innovative as the Beatles or as popular as the Rolling Stones or the Who, the Kinks were one of the most influential bands of the British Invasion.

The group’s 1970 hit “Lola” an account of a confused romantic encounter with a transvestite was a top 10 hit in the UK and US The lyrics originally contained the word “Coca-Cola”, and as a result the BBC refused to broadcast the song, considering it to be in violation of their policy against product placement. Ray was forced to re-record the lyric of Coca-Cola to Cherry Cola to get played on the BBC, taking two return flights during a US tour to complete this.

For many years The Kinks had been receiving reverential nods from the rock fraternity, all of which increased their cachet with wave after wave of new bands and musicians. In 1978, The Jam covered “David Watts” while The Pretenders had their first UK hit with a version of “Stop Your Sobbing”, and Van Halen jumpstarted their career with a hard rock take on “You Really Got Me”. Biggest of all was Kirsty McColl’s breathtaking take on “Days”.

In 1990, all four members of the original Kinks lineup – Davies, Davies, Quaife, and Avory — were inducted into the prestigious American Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Through the 90s, The Kinks garnered a whole new generation of fans as yet another wave of musicians paid tribute to the band. Blur’s Damon Albarn in particular acknowledged Davies as a key influence, as did Noel and Liam Gallagher from Oasis, with Ray Davies garnering the fond title, “Godfather of Britpop.” 2005 saw the Kinks’ entry into the UK Music Hall of Fame.

Away from the dizzy heights of showbiz, Ray Davies made front-page news in 2004 when he was shot in the leg while on holiday in New Orleans. Two men stole his girlfriend’s purse at gunpoint, a brave (or mad), Davies gave chase, and one of the muggers shot him in the leg – resulting in the singer being admitted to hospital, but his injuries were not serious. The headlines the following day ran; “You Really Shot Me!” Davies later told reporters how much it hurt being shot!

Sadly, a debilitating major stroke in 2004 forced Dave to focus solely on regaining his health. Through determination and therapy, by 2007 Dave was well enough to record and release the album Fractured Mindz, and was ready to tour again in 2013 in support of his album, I Will Be Me.

Peter Quaife, who had been receiving kidney dialysis for more than ten years, died on 23rd June 2010. Ray Davies dedicated his emotional June 27th performance at the Glastonbury festival to his honour, telling the crowd, “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him.”

Music writers and other musicians have acknowledged the influence of the Kinks on the development of hard rock and heavy metal. Musicologist Joe Harrington stated: “‘You Really Got Me’, ‘All Day and All of the Night’ and ‘I Need You’ were predecessors of the whole three-chord genre … The Kinks did a lot to help turn rock ‘n’ roll into rock.” Queen guitarist Brian May credited the band with planting “the seed which grew into riff-based music.”

Four Kinks albums have been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the band has sold over 50 million records worldwide. Among numerous honours, they received the Ivor Novello Award for “Outstanding Service to British Music

Important Dates In The Life Of The Kinks:

On this day in music
11 Jun 2015
The Kinks' front man and principle song writer Ray Davies was awarded with a London Legend Award at a ceremony held at the Camden Roundhouse. Davies said: "I accept this on behalf of all the young writers coming through, all the young people embarking on careers and as a symbol of the future."
21 Aug 2013
Legendary concert promoter Sid Bernstein, best known for booking The Beatles at Carnegie Hall and later Shea Stadium, died at the age of 95. Bernstein changed the American music scene in the 1960s by bringing The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, The Moody Blues, and The Kinks to America. He was the first impresario to organise rock concerts at sports stadiums.
4 Jul 2009
77-year-old Allen Klein, the former manager of The Rolling Stones and later The Beatles, died after a battle with Alzheimer's disease. The assets of his company, ABKCO Music & Records, include recordings by The Rolling Stones, The Animals, Herman's Hermits, Bobby Womack, The Kinks, Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell and many others.
8 Jun 2008
Rolling Stone magazine published a list of the Top 50 guitar songs of all time. No.5 was 'Brown Sugar' by The Rolling Stones, No.4 , ‘You Really Got Me’ by The Kinks, No.3, ‘Crossroads’, by Cream, No.2 ‘Purple Haze’, by Jimi Hendrix and No.1 ‘Johnny B Goode’, Chuck Berry.
13 Mar 2006
The Kinks came out the top earners for music used in TV adverts in the US, earning them £6m a year. The sixties group were enjoying a resurgence with their music being used to sell washing powder, computers and medicines. Led Zeppelin came in second place with £4m and The Rolling Stones third with £2.3m.
10 Sep 2005
The 1967 Beatles track 'A Day In The Life' from Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was voted the best British song of all time by music experts. The survey by Q magazine called the track "the ultimate sonic rendition of what it means to be British". The Kinks' song 'Waterloo Sunset' came second in the poll and 'Wonderwall' by Oasis was voted in third place.
17 Mar 2004
The Kinks singer Ray Davies received his CBE medal from the Queen at Buckingham Palace for services to the music industry.
5 Jan 2004
The Kinks singer Ray Davies was shot in the leg while on holiday in New Orleans. The 59-year-old singer-songwriter was shot when running after two men who stole his girlfriend's purse at gunpoint. Davies was admitted to the Medical Centre of Louisiana but his injuries were not considered serious. New Orleans police said one person had been arrested, and police were still searching for the second.
2 Feb 2002
The Phonographic Performance Ltd launched for artists to check if they were owed any of the £10 million ($17 million) in unclaimed money. It showed that Michael Jackson was owed over £100,000 ($170,000) for 'Say, Say, Say', Stevie Wonder had money owing for 'Ebony And Ivory' and Ray Davies of The Kinks was owed a six-figure fee for 'You Really Got Me'. Director Dominic McGonigal said "If anyone has seen Rick Astley please let him know, he is still earning money for his hits."
6 Sep 1994
English keyboard player Nicky Hopkins died aged 50, in Nashville, Tennessee, of complications from intestinal surgery. Was a highly respected session musician, worked with The Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, Small Faces, Led Zeppelin, John Lennon, George Harrison, and the Jerry Garcia Band. The Kinks song 'Session Man' from Face to Face is dedicated to (and features) Hopkins.
3 Sep 1982
The three day US Festival in San Bernardino, California took place featuring, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, The Police, The Cars, Talking Heads, The Kinks, Ramones, B52's, The English Beat, Gang Of Four, Grateful Dead, Pat Benatar, Jackson Browne. Apple Computers founder Steven Wozniak bankrolled the festival.
10 Feb 1980
The Pretenders were at No.1 on the UK chart with their debut studio album. The album features the hit singles 'Stop Your Sobbing', 'Kid' (written by Ray Davies for the The Kinks' debut album) and 'Brass in Pocket'. The album also made the top 10 on the Billboard 200.
10 Feb 1978
Van Halen released their self-titled debut studio album. Peaking at No.19 on the Billboard 200 the album went on to sell more than 10 million copies in the US. The album contains some of Van Halen's most well-known songs, including 'Runnin' with the Devil', 'Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love', 'Jamie's Cryin'', and their cover of The Kinks' 'You Really Got Me'. The 1 minute and 42 second Eddie Van Halen instrumental 'Eruption' featured on the album is considered one of the best electric guitar solos of all time and popularised the technique of two-handed tapping.
28 Jan 1978
Van Halen released their first single, a cover of The Kinks' ‘You Really Got Me’. The Kinks' Dave Davies has claimed to dislike Van Halen's rendition of the song and stated of how a concert-goer once approached him after a live Kinks show and congratulated him on performing a "great cover of the Van Halen song."
19 Oct 1973
David Bowie released his seventh album Pin Ups. The album, which features supermodel Twiggy on the front cover, is a collection of cover versions of some of the singer’s favourite songs, including tracks by Pink Floyd, The Pretty Things, The Who, The Yardbirds and The Kinks.
15 Jul 1973
The Edgar Winter Group, Sly & The Family Stone, Canned Heat, Lindisfarne and The Kinks all appeared at The Great Western Express festival at White City, west London. With his wife having recently walked out of their marriage, taking their young children with her, Ray Davies of The Kinks announces from the stage that he is sick of the whole thing and is retiring. He then walks into a local hospital and collapses from an overdose of tranquillizers.
21 May 1972
The Doors, Pink Floyd, the Faces, Family, Curved Air, Atomic Rooster, The Kinks, Rory Gallagher, Uriah Heep, Country Joe McDonald, Buddy Miles, Status Quo, Brinsley Schwarz, Spencer Davis, The Strawbs and Humble Pie all appeared at the 2nd British Rock Meeting, Insel Grun, Germersheim, West Germany. The festival was due to take place in Mannheim, West Germany, but after protests from the locals, the concert actually took place in nearby Germersheim.
5 May 1972
The first day of the three day Bickershaw Festival, Wigan, England, with Grateful Dead, Dr John, Donovan, The Kinks, Captain Beefheart, Hawkwind, America, Family, Country Joe MacDonald, Wishbone Ash, New Riders Of The Purple Sage, Brinsley Schwarz and the Flamin Groovies.
14 Sep 1971
During a US tour Led Zeppelin appeared at Berkley Community Theatre, Berkley, California. Countless major acts have appeared here, including Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Van Morrison, The Kinks,  Bruce Springsteen, Genesis, Elvis Costello, The Clash, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
16 Aug 1970
This week's UK Top 5 singles: No.5, Free, 'All Right Now', No.4, Shirley Bassey, 'Something', No.3, Hotlegs, 'Neanderthal Man', No.2, The Kinks, 'Lola' and No.1, Elvis Presley, 'The Wonder Of You', (his 16th UK No.1).
16 Aug 1970
The final day of the three day UK Yorkshire Folk, Blues & Jazz Festival at Krumlin, Yorkshire took place featuring The Kinks, Mungo Jerry, Yes, Ginger Bakers Air Force and Edgar Winter. Weekend tickets, £3.
14 Aug 1970
The first day of the three day UK Yorkshire Folk, Blues & Jazz Festival at Krumlin, Yorkshire took place featuring Atomic Rooster, Pink Floyd, (who didn't appear after being fog bound at Paris Airport), The Kinks, Elton John, Mungo Jerry, Yes, Alan Price, Georgie Fame, Juicy Lucy, Pretty Things and The Groundhogs. Weekend tickets, £3.
3 Jun 1970
The Kinks Ray Davies was forced to make a 6,000 mile round trip from New York to London to record one word in a song. Davies had to change the word 'Coca- Cola' to 'Cherry Cola' on the bands forthcoming single 'Lola' due to an advertising ban at BBC Radio.
9 May 1967
Sandie Shaw was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Puppet On A String'. This week's two highest new entries were Jimi Hendrix with 'The Wind Cries Mary' and The Kinks 'Waterloo Sunset'.
5 May 1967
The Kinks released 'Waterloo Sunset' as a single which went on to peak at No.2 on the UK chart. Songwriter and Kinks singer Ray Davies later stated that the song was originally entitled 'Liverpool Sunset', after his love for Liverpool and Merseybeat.
7 Jul 1966
The Kinks were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Sunny Afternoon', the group's third and last UK No.1. Like its contemporary 'Taxman' by The Beatles, the song references the high levels of tax taken by the British Labour government of Harold Wilson. In America, the track peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart early autumn 1966.
30 Dec 1965
The Kinks, The Who, Manfred Mann, The Hollies and Gerry and the Pacemakers all appeared on tonight's episode of US TV show, 'Shindig!'
19 Nov 1965
The Kinks, The Who, Georgie Fame & The Blue Fames, The Hollies, Wilson Pickett and The Golden Apples Of The Sun all appeared at the Glad Rag Ball, Empire Pool, London, tickets 30 shillings, ($4.20).
28 Sep 1965
The Rolling Stones played the first of two nights at the Capitol Theatre, Cardiff, Wales. During the 1960s The Capitol Theatre saw all the major acts of the era performing here including The Beatles and The Kinks.
5 Sep 1965
Sonny & Cher made their first live UK appearance when they appeared at the 100 Club in London. The tour was organised and overseen by Larry Page, co-manager of the English rock band The Kinks.
17 Jun 1965
The Kinks and the Moody Blues made their US concert debut at the Academy of Music in New York City.
11 Apr 1965
Performing at the New Musical Express poll winners concert, at London's Wembley Empire Pool, England, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Freddie and the Dreamers, The Animals, The Kinks, Herman's Hermits, Moody Blues, Them, Cilla Black, The Seekers and Donovan.
5 Mar 1965
The Mannish Boys released their second single 'I Pity The Fool', featuring a young David Bowie. Produced by Shel Talmy, (who was also producing the early singles and albums by The Who and The Kinks). Jimmy Page was Talmy's regular session musician and played the guitar solo on 'I Pity the Fool'.
18 Feb 1965
The Kinks were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Tired Of Waiting For You', the group's second UK No.1. According to Ray Davies, the music for 'Tired of Waiting for You' was written on the train to the recording studio and the words were written at a coffee shop during a break in the session.
10 Sep 1964
The Kinks third single 'You Really Got Me', was at No.1 on the UK singles chart. Future Led Zeppelin founder and guitarist Jimmy Page played tambourine on the track.
6 Aug 1964
Rod Stewart made his TV debut on the BBC show The Beat Room as a member of The Hoochie Coochie Men. The tapes of all but one of the programmes were later destroyed. The only remaining programme (originally broadcast on 5 October 1964) featured Tom Jones, Julie Rogers, The Kinks, John Lee Hooker, and The Syndicats. The show also featured a sextet of female dancers, the Beat Girls formed from an existing group, the Katy-Dids.
4 Aug 1964
The Kinks released 'You Really Got Me' on Pye Records in the UK. The influential distortion sound of the guitar was created after guitarist Dave Davies sliced the speaker cone of his guitar amplifier with a razor blade and poked it with a pin. The song became the group's US breakthrough hit reaching No.7 later in the year.
2 Aug 1964
The Beatles appeared at the Gaumont Cinema in Bournemouth. One of the supporting acts, billed as a 'new and unknown London group', was The Kinks.
19 Jun 1964
Martha and the Vandellas recored one of Motown's signature songs 'Dancing in the Street' at Hitsville U.S.A. in Detroit, Michigan. Written by Marvin Gaye, William "Mickey" Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter the song reached No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No.4 in the UK. Many artists have covered the song including, the Mamas & the Papas, David Bowie and Mick Jagger, The Kinks, Grateful Dead and Little Richard.
31 Dec 1963
The Kinks made their live debut when they played at the Lotus House Restaurant, London. Now recognised as one of the most important and influential rock acts of the era, brothers Ray Davies and Dave Davies remained members throughout the group's 32-year run.
9 Aug 1963
The first ever edition of 'Ready Steady Go! was shown on UK TV. Introduced by Keith Fordyce and 19 year-old Cathy McGowan. The first show featured The Searchers, Jet Harris, Pat Boone, Billy Fury and Brian Poole and The Tremeloes. The final show was in Dec 1966 after 175 episodes. Originally 30 minutes long, it expanded to 50 minutes the following year, and soon attracted the most popular artists, including The Beatles, The Lovin' Spoonful, The Rolling Stones, The Four Tops, The Kinks and many others.
12 Jul 1962
The Rolling Stones made their live debut at the Marquee Jazz Club, London, with Dick Taylor on bass (later of The Pretty Things) and Mick Avory on drums, (later of The Kinks). Billed as The Rollin’ Stones, they were paid £20 for the gig, the equivalent of £330 in 2010.
16 Jan 1957
The Cavern Club opened in Liverpool, England. It became the home of many Liverpool bands including The Beatles who appeared at the club 292 times. Over the years a wide variety of popular acts appeared at the club, including The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Hollies, The Kinks, Elton John, Black Sabbath, Queen, The Who and John Lee Hooker.
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

uDiscover Music - Back To Top
uDiscover Music - Back To Top