One of the most influential bands of the 1960s British Invasion, The Kinks paved the way for the next decade’s hard rock.
In their teens, brothers Ray and Dave Davies (born and raised in Muswell Hill, London) started a band and recruited Pete Quaife on bass and Mick Avory to play drums. The band’s third single, “You Really Got Me,” featured a savage, Fuzz-toned two-chord riff and a frenzied solo from Dave Davies. Not only was the final version the blueprint for the Kinks’ early sound, but scores of groups used the heavy, power chords as a foundation. The song was a Number 1 hit in England and reached Number Seven in the U.S. in 1964.
The group recorded a string of albums at a breakneck pace, whilst touring relentlessly, which caused much tension within the band. At the conclusion of their summer 1965 American tour, the Kinks were banned from re-entering the United States by the American government for unspecified reasons. For four years, the Kinks were prohibited from returning to the U.S., which not only meant that the group was deprived of the world’s largest music market, but that they were effectively cut off from the musical and social upheavals of the late ’60s.
Consequently, Ray Davies’s songwriting grew more introspective and nostalgic, relying more on overtly English musical influences such as music hall, country, and English folk, than the rest of his British contemporaries. “Sunny Afternoon” was one of Davies’ wry social satires and the song was the biggest hit of the summer of 1966 in the U.K., reaching number one. “Sunny Afternoon” was a teaser for the band’s great leap forward, and in May of 1967, they returned with “Waterloo Sunset,” a ballad that reached number two in the U.K. In more recent years the group has been hailed as a major influence on several popular British bands, including Paul Weller, Blur and Oasis.