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The Kinks

The Kinks, a pop/rock music group, were formed in London in 1963. Original members were Dave Davies[?] (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting--b. February 3, 1947); his brother Ray Davies (primary songwriter, primary vocalist, rhythm guitar--b. June 21, 1944); Pete Quaife[?] (bass guitar, vocals); and Mick Avory[?] (drums). The group was called The Ravens until, at their managers' urging, they changed their name to The Kinks just before their first recording. The name is thought to refer to the style of "kinky" boots and clothing then in fashion, partly thanks to The Avengers television series.

The Kinks' first two records sold poorly, but their third record, "You Really Got Me", hit #1 on the U.K. record charts. They became one of the British Invasion bands to gain popularity in the United States in the wake of The Beatles' success. "You Really Got Me" and its followup singles, "All Day And All Of The Night" and "Tired Of Waiting For You" were top ten hits in the USA.

They had a few more USA hits in the 1960s, but as Ray Davies' songwriting matured, the group found themselves becoming more and more of a "cult" band, praised by critics but little-heard in the USA, and increasingly less in the U.K. (although they did have a #2 hit there with "Waterloo Sunset", a song regarded by many as one of the most beautiful in rock). The situation wasn't helped by a musicians' union ban on them performing in the USA from 1965-1969, for various and sketchy reasons.

During this period, The Kinks produced albums that have come to be regarded as pop masterpieces, including Face to Face, Something Else By The Kinks, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, and Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). Shortly before the latter, Pete Quaife left the group and was replaced by John Dalton.

In 1969, The Kinks resumed performances in the USA, and in 1970 had a worldwide top 10 hit with "Lola". They also wrote and performed the soundtrack for the film Percy. They added keyboard player John Gosling, and then went through a series of other bass and keyboard players before stabilizing their lineup in 1978 with bassist Jim Rodford[?] (formerly of Argent) and keyboardist Ian Gibbons. It was this lineup that returned to increased popularity in the late 1970s/early 1980s with hit songs like "A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy" and "Come Dancing", and albums like Low Budget and the live One For The Road (which also became the first rock long-format video release).

The mid-1980s saw The Kinks return to cult status, getting fewer and fewer hits while still garnering critical praise. Mick Avory was fired from the band in 1984, replaced by Bob Henrit[?]. (Avory stayed around to run The Kinks' London studio, Konk.) Changes of record companies saw The Kinks' output slow down, apparently ending with the release of To The Bone as a live single-disc in the U.K. and a double disc release with two new songs in the USA.

Talk of a Kinks reunion remain constant as of this writing (mid-2002), but for the past several years, both Ray and Dave Davies have been preoccupied with their own projects. They have each released solo albums and toured extensively.

The Kinks continue to be regarded as a seminal rock band and as critics' favorites, with a small but loyal fan base. Dave Davies' ragged guitar sound on the early recordings is often cited as the major precursor of heavy metal, and Ray Davies is considered one of the best British songwriters ever. The Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.



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