Author(s): Rob Jovanovic
In August 1964 The Kinks released their third single. It was make or break time. After an all but unnoticed debut and a second single that failed to chart at all, Pye Records were threatening to annul the group's contract. With its unforgettable loud, gritty distorted guitar riff, 'You Really Got Me' went on to reach No.1, entering the US Top Ten later the same year. Followed by a string of hits, it marked the breakthrough of one of Britain's most innovative and influential bands, and a turning point in the fortunes of two brothers whose troubled story is as tumultuous and characterful as the music they produced: Ray and Dave Davies. Born into a deeply musical, close-knit working class family in London's Muswell Hill, Ray and Dave grew up in a city recovering from the bombs and privations of the WWII, and, more than any other musicians of the Sixties, crafted the soundtrack which made it swing again. In songs such as 'Dedicated Follower of Fashion', 'Sunny Afternoon' - which toppled The Beatles to become the hit of Summer 1966 - 'Waterloo Sunset', 'Days' and 'Lola', they drew on music hall, folk and rhythm and blues to craft a peculiarly English pop idiom, inspiring generations of songwriters from David Bowie to Jarvis Cocker and Damon Albarn. Pocked by sibling rivalry, furious on-stage violence, rock and roll excess, walkouts, overdoses, a career-throttling ban from the US at the height of the British Invasion, gross self-indulgence and curious rebirth as Eighties stadium rockers, The Kinks' is the greatest untold story in British pop history.
Rob Jovanovic has written about music for over a decade, contributing to amongst others Mojo, Q, Level, Record Collector and Uncut. His previous books have covered artists as diverse and unique as Kate Bush, Beck, R.E.M., Pavement, Nirvana, The Velvet Underground and Big Star.