Formed in North London by brothers Ray (rhythm guitar, vocals) and Dave (lead guitar) Davies, the Kinks’ classic line-up of the 60s was completed by Pete Quaife (bass) and Mick Avory (drums). The band had three UK number one singles and despite playing major roles in the development of rock lyrics, original songwriting and concept albums, they are regarded by many as the most underrated band of their era.
They are the subject of a 10-page feature in this month's Uncut (pictured above) and they are our Band of the Week this week and here are five wildly subjective reasons to love The Kinks…
1. The Solo in You Really Got Me
We’re not big on frantic spank and thrash guitar solos here at Rock’n’Roll London. We’re particularly agin those that outstay their welcome. Which is why we hold Dave Davies’s short-sharp-shock of a guitar break in such high esteem. Urgent and vital, it’s also a great example of what Dave himself has said all along: his contribution to the Kinks is undervalued and without it, the Kinks sink. Simple as that.
Dave’s playing on the golden age records of the Kinks is by turns exuberant and violent, always authentic, dramatic but never overwrought. Tidy high backing vocals, too. And, like George Harrison, he had a rare ability to don the more outlandish items of 60 fashion and still emerge with his dignity intact.
3. The Words
Raymond Douglas Davies was penning songs with wit, pathos and insight when John Lennon was still doodling lines such as “I’m gonna love you till the cows come home.” We’re buggered if we know why this man has yet to be Knighted.
4. The Soap Opera
Will-they-won’t-they get back together? Will they slice each other’s heads off with hi-hats? Okay, the Stones have their intrigues and subtexts, too. But they’re Dynasty to the Kinks’ EastEnders: and we prefer the grit to the gloss, thanks.
5. If We Had To Pick Just One Song… Have A Cuppa Tea
Gleefully prissy drawing room piano arpeggios are merrily goosed by guitar licks that out-swamp John Fogerty. The lyric is funny, warm but detached, yet never judgmental. Even at that most English ritual of tea drinking, that most English of songwriters Ray Davies keeps a little of himself to one side, taking notes. A great track from a great album – Muswell Hillbillies.
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