My sons, a few friends and I went to see Ray Davies of the Kinks the other night in Boston. I think I became a Kinks fan with the release of “Sleepwalker” in 1976. I have probably seen Ray or The Kinks 15 times ever since.
If you have never listened to much Kinks stuff I highly recommend checking them out in-depth. I would put any of their ’60s British invasion songs up against any band of the time (excluding The Beatles, of course). And, as far as a song writer, Ray is one of the best.
Pete Townshend of The Who said:
The Kinks were much more quintessentially English. I always think that Ray Davies should one day be Poet Laureate. He invented a new kind of poetry and a new kind of language for pop writing that influenced me from the very, very, very beginning.
After a few hits in the early ’60s: “You Really Got Me”, “Tired of Waiting”, “All Day and All of the Night”, the group was banned from the US. The American Federation of Musicians refused permits for the group to appear in concerts in the states after their 1965 tour.
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 antics. It would be four years before they played live again in the US.
No touring meant no radio play so they were pretty much silent during the height of the British invasion. But they pressed on, releasing a slew of great songs and albums in the ’70s. The ’80s and ’90s weren’t as productive, but they still put out some great tunes.
Had it not been for that four-year ban I think today The Kinks would be talked about in the same circle with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who. They’d be listed as one of the top five British groups.
By the way, the show in Boston was excellent. The old Orpheum Theater was rocking, and paint chips were falling from the ceiling. Ray’s new songs are very good and he cranked out lots of Kinks classics.
Here is a list of what I think are some great Kinks songs. Some hits, some not, but all great songs, along with a couple of pictures I took of The Kinks many years ago.
- “No More Looking Back” – Schoolboys in Disgrace
- “Moving Pictures” – Low Budget
- “Set Me Free” – Kinda Kinks
- “I Gotta Move” – On an EP with “All Day and All of the Night”
- “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” – The Kink Kontroversy
- “Get Up” – Misfit
- “Sitting in the Midday Sun” – Preservation Act One
- “Life Goes On” – Sleepwalker
- “You Can’t Stop the Music” – A Soap Opera
- “One Of The Survivors” – Preservation Act One
- “Victoria” – Arthur
- “Waterloo Sunset” – Something Else By The Kinks
- “Better Things” – Give The people What They Want
- “Shangri-La” – Arthur
- “God’s Children” – Percy (Soundtrack)
- “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy” – Kinda Kinks
- “Who’ll Be The Next In Line” – Kinkdom
- “Im Not Like Everybody Else” – Face to Face
- “Sittin’ On My Sofa” – The Kink Kontroversy
- “She’s Got Everything” – Days 7” Single or The Ultimate Collection
- “Star-struck” – Village Green Preservation Society
- “Do It Again” – Word of Mouth
- “Living On A Thin Line” – Word of Mouth
- “20th Century Man” – Muswell Hillbillies
And, of course there is “You Really Got Me”, “Apeman”, “Till The End Of The Day”, “Lola” and the list goes on and on. A lot of these songs can be found on compilations and you can sample most on iTunes, but some of the earlier stuff is not there.
Are you a Kinks fan? Let’s talk about it!