My friend Scobey swears that the Kinks are the best band of all time -- and he just might be right. In terms of 60's British bands, and ones associated with the so-called British Invasion, they rank among my personal top favorites -- which is why I picked out the six wonderful, circa mid-sixties Kinks music videos below.
Highly influential, with a direct influence heard in countless bands in the years/decades since, The Kinks were formed by North London brothers Ray Davies (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Dave Davies (lead guitar, vocals) in 1963. Both men remained with the group up until they officially disbanded in '96.
They had several different other members over the years, but the original sixties Kinks bassist & vocalist was Pete Quaife, while the original drummer (up until '69) was Mick Avory. This is the lineup and Kinks that I love the most and for some reason have been going back and re-listening to and enjoying even more than when I first heard all these songs. The videos below are all Kinks songs from the years 1964 to 1966.
What I love most about the Kinks is how they effortlessly incorporated so many styles yet melded them all into their own distinct sound. Like most of the sixties British bands, they drew directly from American blues (in some songs you can hear the Howlin Wolf influence), but they didn't stop there. Their sound was also r&B, rock n' roll, psychedelia, pop, and even folk and country. But they also mined the British music hall school and of all the British Invasion bands were decidedly the most British in sheer style. Check out the video below for their very British working class, Dickens like "Dead End Street" -- with its dark humor and depressing social observations. Years later Oasis, a band who loved to tap into previous era Brit pop, drew inspiration from from this short Kinks film piece for their "The Importance of Being Idle" music video. Another second wave Brit pop band, Blur, has also cited the Kinks as a major influence.
Musically, The Kinks knew how to rock hard, but with infectious melodies and harmonies.The loud, distorted guitar riff of their first major hit, "You Really Got Me," has been cited as a direct influence on the American garage rock movement. The Kinks were pop but they always had an edge to them, and a dark, winking humor. While other pop bands were singing about holding hands and falling in love with the girl, they were singing about the death of a clown, and drowning their sorrows in whiskey and gin. This dark edge becomes even more apparent when you see their accompanying videos for songs like their 1966 hit "Sunny Afternoon." Instead of shooting the video on a sunny afternoon, they set it in the middle of winter in the snow and in black and white. And check out their cool fashion sensibility -- clothes and hair -- love the top hats and skinny jeans in that "Dead End Street" video.
All of these songs below can be found on various CD and vinyl collections that you will find at Amoeba Music. One (of many) that I like is the 20 song CD The Kinks Singles Collection, which includes all of the songs below plus other classics such as "Till The End Of The Day," "Where Have All The Good Times Gone," "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion," "Well Respected Man," and "Waterloo Sunset." Wow, what a catalog! What a band! The Kinks.
"Dead End Street" (1966)
"All Day And All Of The Night" (1964)
"Death Of A Clown" (1966)
"Tired Waiting Of Waiting" (1965)
"Sunny Afternoon" (1966)
"You Really Got Me" (1964)