Friday, September 12, 2014

On This Day (1964): The Kinks hit #1 in the UK with “You Really Got Me”

You Really Got Me

The Kinks

Writer(s): Ray Davies (see lyrics here)

Released: August 4, 1964

First Charted: September 26, 1964

Peak: 7 US, 5 CB, 4 GR, 8 HR, 1 CL, 12 UK, 4 CN, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 1.0 UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 4.0 radio, 42.71 video, 290.18 streaming

You Really Got Me

Van Halen

First Charted: January 21, 1978

Peak: 36 US, 44 CN, 45 HR, 1 CL, 49 CN, 12 AU, 5 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 8.0 radio, 37.5 video, 99.97 streaming

Awards (The Kinks):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Van Halen):

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“You Really Got Me” is “one of the landmark hits of the British invasion.” TB With its “simple two-chord riff and snarling vocal” TB it became “a cornerstone of garage rock and punk.” TC By introducing distorted guitarist into rock music TC it has also been attributed as the song which “more or less invented heavy metal.” DT As “noisy and ‘anti-beautiful’ as this crude recording may sound to unreceptive ears, it is in fact music as good as it gets.” PW

Lead singer Ray Davies’ “rewrite of the Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’” SS was originally conceived as a blues piece inspired by the central riff from jazzman Jimmy Giuffre’s “Train and the River.” SS It evolved into “a crunching hard rocker when [his brother] Dave began playing his guitar part.” SS Sadly, he isn’t always credited with what is considered “one of the great riffs of rock ’n’ roll.” KL Legendary axeman Jimmy Page was an active session man in the ‘60s before gaining fame with the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. His appearance on rhythm guitar on some of the tracks on the You Really Got Me album SJ has led to a common misconception that it is he, and not Davies, who played the song’s guitar solo.

The band was convinced that their first two singles pristine sound was responsible for their failure. RS500 When they headed into the studio in the summer of 1964, the group wanted a rawer sound RS500 which captured the energy of their live shows. SF Dave was inspired to create “the world’s trashiest riff” DM by the “cracked and dirty” sound of his broken hi-fi system. TC He took a razor to his amplifier’s speaker cone, resulting in an effect known as “fuzz” in which the vibration of the fabric distorted the sound. SF

The approach worked, giving the group a British chart-topper and their first hit in the U.S. More than a decade later, the song launched another classic rock band. In 1978, Van Halen’s debut hit was a cover of “You Really Got Me.” Interestingly, Van Halen went on to mine the classics of August 1964 for two more charting cover songs – Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman” and Martha & the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street.”


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Last updated 9/28/2023.

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