Friday, October 10, 2014

Fifty Years Ago Today: The Kinks chart with “You Really Got Me” (10/10/1964)

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The Kinks “You Really Got Me”

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

Released: 8/4/1964, First charted: 10/10/1964

Peak: 7 US, 12 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Radio Airplay (in millions): 4.0 Video Airplay (in millions): --

Review: “You Really Got Me” has been called “a cornerstone of garage rock and punk,” CR-684 “the track which invented heavy metal,” WK and the song that “introduced the sound of distorted guitars into rock & roll.” CR-684 Sadly, Dave Davies, the Kinks’ lead guitarist, isn’t always credited with what is considered “one of the great riffs of rock ’n’ roll.” KL-103Legendary axeman Jimmy Page was an active session man in the ‘60s before gaining fame with Led Zeppelin. His appearance on rhythm guitar on some of the tracks on the You Really Got Me album SJ-223 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” MA-391 by the “cracked and dirty” sound of his broken hi-fi system CR-684 to take a razor to his amplifier’s speaker cone. RS500 The result was 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. The song also established the Kinks as one of the bands at the forefront of the British Invasion in the United States. WK

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.”

Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


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