2/1/18: The Kinks “You Really Got Me”
It’s actually a famous guitar riff that I found pounding away in my brain this morning. It’s one you recognize, from The Kinks and the song that embedded them in pop culture forever: “You Really Got Me!”
To get the sound he wanted, Save Davies sliced a hole in his speakers that created some heavy distortion. The rest, as they say, is history. Ray Davies wrote the song, which was originally supposed to have more of an older blues style to it. When younger brother Dave sliced the speaker, though, the two musicians knew they were on to something!
The Kinks had been kicking around North London for a while. They had managed to secure a recording contract, but their first two singles went pretty much nowhere. The record company was putting pressure on the band to come up with a hit, and in the summer of ’64 the boys finally delivered.
“You Really Got Me” and all of its distorted glory caught most everyone’s attention, and a lot of that attention is thanks to a dynamic opening guitar riff. The song went all the way to #1 in the UK, and climbed the charts around the world. It rose to #7 here in the United States!
The Kinks had one of the earlier hits of the famed British Invasion, and have always been regarded as one of the more influential groups in their time to come across the pond. A whole new generation of fans was created in the ‘80s too, when Van Halen laid into the famous riff for a cover of the song!
By the way, that fuzz guitar sound had a lot of guitar guys trying to copy it. Recognizing that not everyone could afford to slash their amps with razor blades, manufacturers came out later with what’s known as a “fuzz box” for distortion purposes.
Over 3 decades, The Kinks released more than 2 dozen studio albums, and some live ones, as well. After that initial hit single, there was “All Day And All Of The Night” which had a similar feel, plus “Tired of Waiting For You,” “Set Me Free,” “Who’ll Be The Next In Line,” and “A Well-Respected Man.” Plus “Dedicated Follower of Fashion,” and “Sunny Afternoon,” one of my all-time favorites. “Waterloo Sunset” was another good one. You might remember “Lola” (L-O-L-A Lola!) from 1970, which was a somewhat controversial tune. At the beginning of the 80’s there was a big mainstream hit called “Come Dancing.” Fans of the band will tell you they’re much more than just hit singles, though, and there are people out there who embrace their whole catalog. It’s big one!