Aired on Treasure Island Oldies – Jul 16, 2023
The stubbornness of a singer/songwriter paved the way for an up and coming rock band from the UK to breakout with a Top Ten hit on the Billboard charts and establish themselves as one of the top British Invasion acts …
The English rock band hailed from Muswell Hill in North London and was formed by two brothers in 1963.
Regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the 60s, their music drew from a wide range of influences, including American R&B and rock and roll initially, and later, the adoption of British music hall, folk, and country genres. The band gained a reputation for reflecting English culture and lifestyle, fuelled by the witty, observational writing style of its lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist.
Their breakout record made its appearance in the U.S. in late September of 1964. A #1 hit in England, it soared to the #7 position on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the first of 23 charted singles over a 20 year period.
Originally, the song was performed in a laid-back bluesy-oriented style as a tribute to American blues artists like Lead Belly and Big Bill Broonzy, who had inspired the band’s front man and composer.
After incorporating a very distorted and fuzzy guitar riff, created by his brother Dave, and experiencing extremely positive audience responses at their live shows, Ray Davies knew he was on to something.
Dismayed by the sound of the original recording, Ray Davies told Pye Records that the band wanted to re-record the song. Pye refused to fund another session because the band’s first two singles had failed to chart. Ray Davies refused to budge, stating that he would not perform or promote the single unless it was re-recorded. In the end, the band’s own management funded the session … and were well rewarded for doing so.
Looking back, Ray Davies said that the impetus to write the song came to him one night during his college playing days, when he saw an attractive girl on the dance floor. He said: “When we finished, I went off to find her, but she was gone and never returned to the club. She really got me going.”
As to the playing of the song, he goes on to say, “When the record starts, it’s like four people doing the four minute mile. There’s a lot of emotion on that record, [complemented by] a lot of determination, fight, and guts.”
The lyrics to the song were described by Brother Dave Davies as “a love song for street kids.” Love song or anthem, many a teenager during that time, would have been most willing to tell the Kinks that, “You Really Got Me,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song:
This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.