The Kinks

Posted in Music

4 Feb
The Kinks image 1
The Kinks began in Muswell Hill North London. The original band of brothers Ray and Dave Davies were joined by Peter Quaile on bass and Mick Avory on drums. They were originally known as the Ravens when formed in 1963. They performed in pubs, town halls and parties. They then changed the band name to The Kinks in 1964 and signed a recording deal with Pye Records. Their first two singles were not a success, but then came the one that changed everything, I am sure you remember it “You really got me”. This was the track that launched one of the biggest British and International groups of all time and to date is instantly recognizable. The Kinks were already firmly established as one of the leading British acts of the era, but 1966 would see them raise their game to another level with a series of exceptional releases. Ray Davies shifted his song writing stance with recordings such as “dedicated followers of fashion” (as swinging London changed its fashion). Ray then wrote “sunny afternoon” which reached the number one slot the week after England won the World Cup. This was to be followed by the absolutely perfect “Waterloo sunset”, which was written about a young couple (who were they?) walking one evening over Waterloo bridge while crossing the river Thames. In June 1970 the song that they are probably best known for was released called “Lola” which was written about a romance between a young man and transvestite who met in a club in SoHo London. Ray had a personal relationship with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders who recorded a cover of “stop your sobbing” in 1979. The Pretenders released “I go to sleep” in 1981 which was also written by Ray. One fact that many people don’t realise, is the volume of albums The Kinks released during their career spanning a period of three decades. The total was 28 of which 24 were studio albums and 4 were live albums. Ray and Dave also released their individual work (some loyal fans say their best work) on the albums as well as the B sides of their hit singles. In 2004 brother Dave suffered a stroke which prevented a reunion. Ray stated that he was in good health after which there was a reunion and the band got back together in 2018. There was the hope of them doing a recent tour, but unfortunately the current Covid pandemic has meant the opportunity to see three original members of the kinks Ray, Dave and Mick Avery has had to be put on hold. We all hope to see them together again as soon as possible. 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 had 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 1979, the band released the hard rock Low Budget album and became belated rock stars in America, gaining entry into the stadium rock circuit, and selling out Madison Square Garden. In 1980, Dave Davies released a well-received self-titled album, and made a solo appearance on the long-running TV show, American Bandstand, followed by his albums Glamour and Chosen People. Americans also bought up Kinks albums Give The People What they Want in 1981 in droves, which featured the hit singles Better Things and Destroyer. In 1983, The Kinks found themselves back in the UK charts with Come Dancing, which remains the band’s highest charting single in America, from the album State of Confusion. 1984’s Word of Mouth LP featured Do It Again and Living On A Thin Line, which were in high rotation on American rock radio stations. In his highly-limited time off from world touring, Ray stepped outside his work with the Kinks to collaborate on musicals Chorus Girls and Around The World In 80 Days. In 1985, original drummer Mick Avory left the band and was replaced by Bob Henrit. That same year, Ray Davies released his first solo album, Return To Waterloo, a soundtrack to an innovative musical film he wrote and directed for British television. 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. The scruffy band from London’s working-class outskirts continues its influence into each new generation of fans. Grandparents all the way to their grandchildren love The Kinks, and when you ask them why, you’ll see a light in their eyes that belies a deep affection like no other band engenders. The Kinks have always stood with the regular folks, immune to trends or commercial interest, and told their stories in a way unique in rock music. From the hard-hitting sonic blast of You Really Got Me to the wistful sweetness of Waterloo Sunset, to the clever, censor-busting wordplay of Lola to the nostalgic pop of Come Dancing, the Kinks’ music is relatable, inclusive, joyous, thoughtful, and beloved. They will forever be, as they sang in 1966, “not like anybody else”. The world is all the better for it, and that will continue for some time yet…

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