The Kinks were formed in 1963 by Ray and Dave Davies and Pete Quaife. Drummer Mick Avory joined soon after, replacing Mickey Willet, who had been with the band in their previous incarnation as The Ravens. Willet left just before the band signed a contract with Pye Records in early 1964. The Kinks’ first hit came soon after, their third single, “You Really Got Me”, hitting the top spot in the British charts and reaching the top 10 in America.
The band toured and recorded intensively over the next two years, the pressure of which may have had some part to play in the inter-personal tensions which built up between band members, overflowing occasionally into on-stage fights. In 1965, The Kinks were denied performance permits by the American Federation of Musicians, and, although no reason was ever given, it is presumed that this decision was a result of The Kinks’ onstage rowdiness.
These squabbles resulted in multiple line-up changes. Quaife left in 1969, to be replaced by John Dalton, who was briefly replaced by Andy Pyle, only to return and then leave again shortly after; keyboardist John Gosling joined in 1970 and left in 1978, replaced by Gordon John Edwards, once of The Pretty Things, who only managed a few months before quitting and being replaced by Ian Gibbons.
The Kinks also attempted alterations in their musical style. The simple, growling guitars of “You Really Got Me” were replaced by more thoughtful, pop-friendly social commentaries, like “Waterloo Sunset” and “Lola”; these, in turn, sometimes gave way to a more theatrical style, leaning towards concept work and rock opera, for example the “Preservation” series or the earlier album, “Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire)”, originally intended as the soundtrack to a television show.
Despite a resurgence in popularity due to their influence on the Britpop scene in the early ‘90s, The Kinks split up in 1996. As of 2008, there has been talk of a reunion, but that is uncertain.
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