The Kinks were the original Brit Pop, who took the lyricism and catchy melodies of The Beatles and their Merseybeat contemporaries, turned up the amps, and turned out a rawer sound, paving the way for punk, heavier rock groups like The Who, as well as crafting realistic portraits of life on the streets of London.
Early singles such as You Really Got Me and All Day and All of the Night (both 1965) are 3-minute 3-chord nuggets of aural wonder. It was only a couple of years before Ray Davies had progressed to songs such as Lola and Waterloo Sunset, arguably one of the greatest pop songs of the English language.
The Kinks are a very British band writing about a very British sensibility, none more so than in their late 60s concept albums, The Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) where Davies delivers a wry commentary on the state of society.
This 1991 cheapo compilation from Castle Communications offers good coverage of the Kinks output over 25 tracks, featuring all the best known hits as well as other gems such as David Watts, Death Of A Clown and Dead End Street.
Best Bits: The wonderful Waterloo Sunset
Genre: Original Brit Pop
Like This, Try This: “If you can’t clap your hands, there’s no hope.” The Kinks performing Lola in 1979