Original Band Members:
Ray Davies (lead vocals, rhythm guitar)
Dave Davies (lead guitar, vocals)
Mick Avory (drums and percussion)
Pete Quaife (bass guitar, vocals)
Top 10 Singles (US):
1964: “You Really Got Me” #7
1964: “All Day and All of the Night” #7
1965: “Tired of Waiting for You” #6
1970: “Lola” #9
1982: “Come Dancing” 1982
Formed by Davies brothers in 1964, the pair previously went under the name The Ravens while performing a combination of R&B and rock and roll. Before the group signed a record deal with Pye Records, their management recommended a newer, edgier name – The Kinks, a name they hated.
The Kinks had their first hit in 1964 with “You Really Got Me”. They had continued commercial success with albums like Something Else by The Kinks and Muswell Hillbillies. Over the span of their run, The Kinks went on to put out hits like “Waterloo Sunset,” “A Well Respected Man,” “Lola,” and “Come Dancing.”
Although Ray penned the lyrics to “You Really Got Me,” it was Dave who gave the song its power. Dave contributed the unique sound to “fixing” his tiny green Elpico amp. He says, “I got a razorblade and cut round the cone, so it was all shredded but still on there, still intact.” He then plugged in his Harmony Meter guitar, cranked it and made rock ‘n’ roll history.
Tensions began to emerge between band mates, and on several occasions on-stage fights erupted. Despite the Kink’s popularity and success in the UK, an unresolved dispute with the American Federation of Musicians during a 1965 tour, led to a ban on US appearances which lasted until 1969. Some believe it was because of the groups’ erratic on-stage behavior.
The London rockers were in a bit of a dry spell and spent the early months of 1970 in the studio crafting the song “Lola.” Inspiration for the song came from The Kinks’ manager, Robert Wace, having wild night of dancing with a transvestite.
“I remembered an incident in a club… in his apartment Robert Wace had been dancing with this black woman, and he said, ‘I’m really on to a thing here.’ And it was okay until we left at six in the morning and then I said, ‘Have you seen the stubble?’ He said ‘Yeah,’ but he was too pissed to care, I think,” Ray Davies recalls.
The track was ready to be released and The Kinks were in New York on tour when Ray Davies received an urgent call. Because of BBC Radio’s policy against product placement, “Lola” would not be played on the air because the words “Coca Cola” were in the lyrics. Davies would fly from New York to London and back, a total of six thousand miles, to change the lyrics to the generic “cherry cola,” interrupting the bands tour in the process.
It’s a good thing Davies made the trip, because “Lola” would reach number two on the charts in the U.K.
In 1990, The Kinks would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1996, the group would disband following commercial failures and continued tension between the Davies Brothers.
Many rumors swirled in the late 90s and early 2000s regarding a reunion of the original line-up. However, ill health within the group hampered any plans. On June 23, 2010 bassist Peter Quaife died as a result of kidney failure.