Gold's Hall of Fame: The Kinks
2 August 2021, 14:04
Along with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who, The Kinks were one of the greatest British bands of the 1960s.
Formed by brothers Ray and Dave Davies, The Kinks were among the most talented and prolific bands of their era.
They managed to combine a run of classic hit singles like 'You Really Got Me' and 'Waterloo Sunset' with a string of perfect albums, including The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire).
Here's everything you need to know about the Muswell Hillbillies turned pop icons.
When did The Kinks form and who has been in all their lineups?
The Kinks formed in 1963 in Muswell Hill (in North London) by brothers Ray and Dave Davies.
The Davies boys had been playing skiffle and rock and roll together for a while before they joined forces with bassist Pete Quaife and Pete's pal friend John Start to form the Ray Davies Quartet, who tried out a few singers including a young Rod Stewart.
They rattled through a load of bandnames (The Ramrods, The Bo-Weevils, The Ravens) and a drummer or two (Mickey Willet) before inviting Mick Avory to join on sticks and becoming The Kinks.
So that original/classic lineup in full:
- Ray Davies - vocals, rhythm guitar
- Dave Davies - lead guitar, vocals
- Pete Quaife - bass
- Mick Avory - drums
Pete left in 1969 and was replaced on bass by John Dalton, Andy Pyle and then Jim Rodford. Mick left in 1984 and was replaced on drums by Bob Henrit.
Over the years they've had support on keyboards from John Gosling, Gordon Edwards, Mark Haley and Ian Gibbons.
Three of the original Kinks are still alive, but Pete Quaife died in 2010 at the age of 66.
How did The Kinks get their name?
As is often the case, there's not a clear and definite answer on how The Kinks became The Kinks.
One of the band's earliest managers Robert Wace vaguely remembers a friend came up with the idea "as a good way of getting publicity", and it just stuck despite the band apparently being "absolutely horrified" by the kinky connotations.
But Ray Davies said that later manager Larry Page came up with the name because of the group's kinky klothes. He did agree that he "never really liked the name", though.
What are The Kinks most famous songs (and albums)?
Like so many '60s groups, The Kinks were initially seen more as a singles band than an albums-focused act.
Their debut single was a cover of Little Richard's 'Long Tall Sally' and was followed by the self-penned 'You Still Want Me'. Neither charted and the band almost got dropped, before a run of massive hits changed everything...
- You Really Got Me
- All Day and All of the Night
- Tired of Waiting for You
- Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy
- Set Me Free
- See My Friends
- A Well Respected Man
- Till the End of the Day
- Dedicated Follower of Fashion
- Sunny Afternoon
- Dead End Street
- Waterloo Sunset
- Autumn Almanac
- Celluloid Heroes
- A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy
Their early albums mixed original Kinks and covers, and by the middle of the '60s the band were releasing acclaimed albums made up like Face to Face and Something Else by the Kinks.
These albums were entirely made up of Ray (and Dave) originals, and were followed up by the incredible The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire and Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One.
When and why did the Kinks split up?
The Kinks didn't split up at their peak like The Beatles (1970). They didn't carry on forever like The Rolling Stones (who are still going now without ever having an official break-up in their career).
Instead, despite Pete Quaife and then Mick Avory's departures and massively declining sales, the Kinks continued with Ray and Dave in place.
They got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and continued into the mid-1990s where the background of Britpop meant they were enjoying some well-earned appreciation from the current generation.
The love from famous fans didn't seem to boost their commercial appeal, unfortunately.
Their 24th and final stuido album was 1993's Phobia, and The Kinks played together for the last time in 1996, with Ray and Dave then going on to do their own thing.
Are the Kinks going to reform?
The Davies brothers' occasionally toxic relationship with each other hasn't stopped plans and whispers of a comeback.
In December 2015, Ray joined Dave on stage at the Islington Assembly Hall in London to play the Kinks breakthrough hit 'You Really Got Me'.
Since 2018, there's even apparently been discussions of a proper reunion featuring surviving original trio Ray, Dave and Mick Avory.
However nothing seems to have come of it, and the Davies' brothers tempestuous relationship means there's a good chance there never will.
Who have The Kinks influenced?
While they don't get namechecked quite as much as the Beatles and the Stones, you could argue that the band's synthesis of r'n'b, rock 'n' roll, music hall, vaudeville and pop is every bit as influential.
You can hear the Kinks in the sound of every single Britpop band (especially Blur), and then the mid-00s Libertines-speared indie revival. Before then, The Fall took a cover of 'Victoria' into the Top 40 in 1988.
More than that, the punks (the Ramones, The Clash and The Jam) all loved The Kinks, and there's even a fair argument for those early rifftastic singles 'You Really Got Me' and 'All Day and All of the Night' sowing the seeds of heavy metal.
Is there a Kinks musical?
Yes! The excellent Sunny Afternoon combines the music and lyrics of Ray Davies with a book by Joe Penhall to tell the story of The Kinks.
It had its world premiere at the Hampstead Theatre in London in 2014, moving to the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End before going out on a tour of the UK and Ireland,
It's not currently running, but the 29-track soundtrack recording is still available.