The Kinks: They Really Got Me

They are looking very ponderous and thoughtful here.

They are looking very ponderous and thoughtful here.

It seems that every few months, I become obsessed with a new band or artist that’s already famous to most humans and their household pets. Last summer, it was Elton John. February break, it was Gavin DeGraw. Spring break, it was the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

But as I’ve delved into the wonderful world of British Invasion-era bands, I’ve recently fallen deeply in love with the Kinks. I’ve enjoyed their music for a long time, but since I heard a couple of their songs on the radio last week, I’ve listened to them more than ever before. They are not completely unlike the Beatles, but they definitely have their own, distinctly British sound. There are so many things about them that I love, so I’ll list a few of them here.

1. They are (in my opinion) extremely underrated.
Sure, I like bands like Led Zeppelin and Queen a lot. They’re great. But I honestly feel that their overall musical output is just a tad over-celebrated. However, the Kinks, for some reason, are not on as much of a lauded pedestal as many other bands (yes, the Beatles are very lauded and celebrated, though deservedly so). I don’t know why this appeals to me, I guess I just like the idea that they are not as “mainstream” popular. And I always root for the “underdogs” of rock who never seem to get the accolades they deserve. Like George Harrison!

2. Ray Davies. Need I say more?
I’ve basically been listening to the Kinks nonstop for about three days, and I can safely say that I haven’t discovered a Kinks song I don’t like. I finally understand why Ray Davies is considered, as my dad has been telling me for years, a musical genius on par with the Beatles. His lyrical style is honest and accessible, but also clever, witty, and often amusing. I also love his voice, because it’s very different from any of my other favorite singers. Variety is, after all, the spice of life!
His songs are very melodic and easy on the ears, but they also make me stop and think about life. And his utter British-ness is, to me, very appealing. Just watch this video and you’ll see what I mean.

Yes, uninformed interviewers from the 60s and 70s always make me cringe (did this guy really think that people at a Kinks concert in 1977 would be screaming the whole time?), but Ray is so quietly charming and witty that I don’t even mind. He has fantastic hair, which always helps. He also says here that he isn’t as good looking as Mick Jagger, but I respectfully disagree. 🙂
Hmm, soft-spoken, underrated musical geniuses from the sixties with fantastic hair. Have we, at Beatle Me Do, seen this before…? 🙂

3. The Kinks invented a whole lot of things.
I did not know this, but apparently the 1965 Kinks song “See My Friends” is the actual first pop song credited with Indian influence, BEFORE the later, sitar-flavored “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” on the Beatles’ Rubber Soul. Now that I listen to it, I definitely hear it. Take a listen for yourself!

Also, their first big hit, “You Really Got Me,” is commonly recognized as one of the first proto-metal and punk songs because of its power chord structure and overall rawness. I’m not really into metal as a genre, but this is definitely one of the best harder rock songs of the early sixties.

4. They wrote my favorite rock Christmas song.

I listen to this year-round, with no shame whatsoever. It’s a really great song!

Now that I’ve introduced the Kinks on this Beatle blog, I will at some point in the future describe my favorite songs by them. In the meantime, I need to actually go through their discography in detail beyond their greatest hits compilations. I refuse to be an uneducated fan for long!
I’m also praying that the supposedly confirmed reunion album and tour between Ray and Dave will actually happen. How awesome to see these legends together in concert! One can only hope they will put aside their differences long enough to make their fans happy.
In the meantime, have a fantastic week! 🙂

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4 thoughts on “The Kinks: They Really Got Me

  1. I agree! I don’t know many of their songs, but The Kinks are my equal-second-favourite band, along with The Monkees (also underrated, and not generally liked by Beatlemaniacs – shame 😦 )! I have ‘All Day and All Of The Night’ on my playlist, and my ex-friend who made me a Beatlemaniac introduced me to ‘Lola’! They are quite underrated, though The Beatles will always remain my favourite. The Kinks will get a post/part of a post at some point, though, so stay tuned! Glad I’m not the only Beatlemaniac/Kinks fan ’round here… Oh, and I’m going to post now, so stay tuned for that, too! Love tangerinetrees 🙂

    • Yeah, although I know a lot of people my age who love the Beatles, I don’t know that many who listen to the Kinks. For some reason, their appeal doesn’t seem to have translated into this generation as much. Which is a shame, because their music truly is timeless.
      I don’t really listen to the Monkees, but I will definitely look into them. They may have been created as Beatle replicas, but they do have some good songs!

      • Listen to ‘Forget That Girl’, if you want to listen to The Monkees – it’s not very well-known, but it’s my favourite Monkees song. I only know one other Beatlemaniac (two counting you), so I normally talk about them with my mother – the only person who will actually listen (except for you and that friend). And yeah, The Monkees are a bit of a clone (the back of ‘Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.’ – my Mum has it on LP – looks exactly like the back of ‘Help!’ – which I have on first-edition UK vinyl!) of The Fabs, but I don’t mind them at all. Another song to listen to is ‘Randy Scouse Git’ – other than the title, see if you can pick out the Beatles references (it’s written about a party that John had in ’66 for his birthday). Oh, and I’m going to listen to my ‘Cloud 9’/’Shaved Fish’ (a John compilation) LPs over the next two nights! Love me 🙂

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