The only boys in a family of eight children, Ray and Dave Davies grew up in a North London home filled with party music every Saturday night. Amid the chaos, beer and singalongs, the two brothers decided to form their first of a succession of bands. They were billing themselves as The Ravens in 1964 when it was suggested that they change their group identity to The Kinks.
“I’ve never actually liked the name,” said Ray, but it stuck and before the year was out The Kinks had scored their first of the more than two dozen hits they’d rack up both in the UK and stateside over the next two decades.
“You Really Got Me,” with its jagged, distorted guitar riff, kicked off The Kinks’ string of chart singles in the ‘60s. It was followed by “All Day and All of The Night,” “Tired of Waiting For You,” “A Well-Respected Man” and “Sunny Afternoon,” among others. Their later hits included “Lola” (1970), “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” (1978), “Come Dancing” (1983) and “Don’t Forget to Dance” (1983).
The Kinks combined R&B, hard rock, country, folk and even traditional British music sounds into their often theatrical concept albums which sometimes dealt with unusual subjects – such as one man’s confused romantic encounter with a transvestite (“Lola”). Not surprisingly, that song was banned by the BBC — but not for the reason you might think. The BBC objected because the lyrics mention a commercial product: Coca-Cola! An alternate version changing the words to “chrry cola” was hastily recorded for the Brirish market.
Creative tension between the two founding brothers broke up The Kinks in 1996 after a 32 year run.