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On this day in music history: August 26, 1964 - "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks is released. Written by Ray Davies, it is the first major hit for the North London based rock band. Having released two previous singles that fail to make an impact, The Kinks will be pressured by their UK label Pye Records to deliver a hit record or be dropped from the label. After Davies writes "You Really Got Me," he and the band will try the song with a number of different arrangements before finding the right one. The Kinks will record the track with American producer Shel Talmy at IBC Studios in London in July 1964. The single's trademark distorted guitar sound is achieved by lead guitarist Dave Davies slicing the speaker cone of his guitar amp with a razor blade. It will also be one of the first rock songs to feature power chords (perfect 5ths and octaves) rather than major or minor triads. This will lay the template for the hard rock and heavy metal music genres that will follow in the years to come. The song will hit #1 in the UK and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 28th. One of the records that will help define the '60s "British Invasion" era, "You Really Got Me" is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.
On this day in music history: August 26, 1967 - "Ode To Billie Joe" by Bobbie Gentry hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Written by Bobbie Gentry (birth name Roberta Lee Streeter), it will be the biggest hit for the Mississippi born singer/songwriter. The cryptic story song about a young man committing suicide for unknown reasons is an immediate smash. Recorded at the Capitol Tower in Hollywood on July 10, 1967, the track will be completed in less than an hour of studio time. Arranger Jimmie Haskell will add the song's crowning touch by overdubbing violins and cellos to the spare arrangement. The unedited version runs over seven minutes and it pared down to just over four minutes. Originally issued as the B-side to her debut single "Mississippi Delta," DJs will very quickly favor the flipside. "Ode To Billie Joe" will enter the Hot 100 at #71 on August 5, 1967 and it will rocket to the top of the chart just three weeks later. The song will also send Gentry's album (also titled Ode To Billie Joe) to #1 for five weeks (unseating The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"), and winning her two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.