“Let’s All Drink To The Death Of A Klown”The Kinks: 1962- 1996

by | Jun 6, 2022 | Entertainment, Music | 0 comments

RX Magazine

RX Magazine

A funny thing started happening here inside the Shop (Mr. Zero’s St.Paul 55113)  about a year ago or so, many younger people keep coming in and asking for The Kinks on Vinyl. It has happened enough that I had to wonder “What is going on ?” After doing some research I found out several newer bands have cited The Kinks and several others like T. Rex, David Bowie & Elvis Costello as their influences. So I thought I would cover The Kinks on this round. I actually never got a chance to see The Kinks in concert, I was able to see Ray solo in Nov 1997, where he read from his book and played some songs in between. As with most British bands of the era, The Kinks were signed to different record labels in the UK than in the USA, so I am going to cover the USA releases because finding Kinks records is hard enough as it is, much less trying to find UK releases!!! 

   Sometime in 1962 the brothers Ray (Raymond Douglas: 21jun1944) & Dave (David Russell Gordon: 3feb1947) Davies formed “The Ravens” in Muswell Hill, North London along with fellow classmate Pete Quaife (Peter Alexander Greenlaw Kilby Kinnis: 31dec1943 – 23jun2010) on Bass & Original ‘RollingStones’ Drummer Mick Avory (Michael Charles 15feb1944, East Molesey, Surrey) Avory announced at his audition “I’m willing to join your band, but I’ll tell you up front, I’m no poofter” a comment on the “Mod” clothing Brother Dave was sporting at the time. Before settling on the name The Kinks in 1964, as it was said they had “kinky” or “Mod” fashion sense, they also went under the names; “Pete Quaife Band” & or “The Ramrods”. The band’s 1st two 45 singles were released on ‘Cameo’ in 1964- 65 and never issued on an album. Then in Aug 1964 the legend was born, Brother Dave had cut the speaker of his Elpico amp with a razorblade to create the first distorted guitar sound, “Hard Rock” was born in “You Really Got Me” a #7 hit on the Billboard Chart Nov64. 

   Here in the USA the band was signed to Reprise Records and released a whopping 25 singles from 1964 to 1972 with 8 studio LPs. The original 4 had stayed together until Bass Player John Dalton (21may1943 UK) who substituted for Quaife in June 1966 replaced Quaife permanently from April 1969 to Nov 1976. An interesting performance note; In the 1965 TV appearance for “Tired of Waiting On You” a #6 hit in Apr65, you can see what I can only assume is the very 1st levitating drum set riser, which in 1974 ‘KISS” manager Bill Aucoin insisted his band use nightly in their concerts. 1965 was the year of The Kinks as they had 4 Top 40 hits with; “All Day and All of The Night” #7 Feb65 and “Who’ll Be The Next In Line” #34 hit in Sep65, and later on  “A Well Respected Man” #13 in Feb66.

   In 1966 Reprise released a “Greatest Hits” album (I have it on Reel to Reel). That contained mostly 45 single tracks, some Non-LP tracks like “Set Me Free” that hit #23 in Jul65, however as the UK & USA versions of LPs & singles differed, some songs were not found on ‘Studio’ albums what so ever. For example up to 18 songs by The Kinks were not on any studio album, as they were only released as 45 singles. I constantly encounter people trying to find this song or that song on a vinyl album of other songs they like, when the reality is, as I mentioned some songs like “Dead End Street” “Big Black Smoke” & ” Mr. Pleasant” weren’t put on any studio LP at all. A sign of the times, it was the 60s, and music was a driving force of social commentary so many songs were recorded and released on a 45 single to get it to the public as soon as possible, and then later when assembling the album of that time, some of those songs were left off as the fans already bought them, or they were deemed unfitting for the new album’s theme. The 2nd big hit for the band in 1966 was “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” in Jun66 at #36 on the charts, then came the LP  “Face To Face” released in Dec 1966 it was the band’s 1st departure from “Mod Rock” into the Psychedelic era, this album was largely over looked and at times very hard to find, even though “Sunny Afternoon” a hit #14 in Oct66 is on this album. 

    The Kinks much like The Beatles chose not to tour as much to focus on making better recordings with a common theme or story. I am going to include a set list from a concert to show what songs The Kinks did play live when they toured. 

27 Nov 1969 @ Fillmore West in San Francisco, Ca.
Till the End of the Day
Mindless Child of Motherhood
Last of the Steam Powered Trains
You’re Lookin Fine
Mr. Churchill Says
Big Sky
You Really Got Me
All Day and All of the Night
Love Me Till the Sunshines
Milk Cow Blues
See My Friends
Tired of Waiting For You
Brainwashed (reprised)
Louie Louie
Well Respected Man
Death of a Clown

   The Kinks 2nd coming arrived in the form of a song about a “Transvestite” named “Lola” #9 in Oct70 an released again as a “Live” version Jul80, the “Live” version of this song gets played far more than the original. The band put out many other singles and albums over the next few years, however Top 40 hits eluded them, and so the band signed with RCA Records for 10 singles from 1971 to 1975 with 6 studio LPs. They added John Gosling (6feb1948 UK) on keyboards from 1970- 78 along with on Bass Andy Pyle (1946 UK) from 1976- 78. A song that people remember as being a hit but wasn’t is 1972’s “Colloid Heroes” this single failed to hit the Top 100. My favorite album from the period is “School Boys in Disgrace” Nov 1975, a fantastic ‘concept album’ from start to finish with the stand out tracks “Hard Way” “I’m In Disgrace” & Headmaster” the tour for this album found the band wearing “School Boy” outfits made famous later on by an Australian band later that same year. Brother Dave was using a Gibson L6-S for this tour as well, not many guitarists used this limited production guitar. Once again charting success eluded the band, so much so when RCA went to put out a “Greatest Hits” package Ray informed the record label of the “Trades Description Act” which prohibits false advertising, so RCA re-titled the LP “Greatest Celluloid Heroes” released in 1976. 

   The band’s RCA contract coming to a close they signed with Arista Records for 15 Singles from 1977 to 1984 with 6 studio LPs, 1978s “Misfits” produced a #30 hit with “Rock N Roll Fantasy” in Sep78 & “(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman” #41in Jun79. Once again replacing their Bass player for a 4th & final time, from 1978- 1996 with Jim Rodford (James Walter: 7jul1941 St Albans) who was also in The Swinging Blue Jeans & Argent, I met Rodford, in Sep2002 when he was with The Zombies, I was more interested in his time with The Kinks, however Jim was more interested in talking about his time in ‘Argent’ I asked him if I could send a questionnaire with him and if he would be so kind as to mail it back to me… Jim’s response “I’m not very good at stuff like that, I am always on tour though, you can catch me again”. And a new keyboards replacement with Ian Gibbons from 1979- 1989 and a new drummer with Bob Henrit (Robert John: 2may1944 UK) from 1984- 1996 replacing original  drummer Avory after far too many disagreements with Brother Dave the most notorious being in 1965 in Cardiff where Avory hit Brother Dave with his kick drum foot pedal. 

   There is a “Live Concert” VHS/DVD from this era “One For The Road” recorded 23sep1979 @  Civic Center, Providence, RI.  My favorite from this period would be “Give the People What They Want” from Aug81 this is a truly great album from start to finish stand out tracks to me are: “Add It Up” “Back To Front” & “YoYo” with “Destroyer” reaching #85 in Nov81 & “Better Things” reaching #92 in Jan82. In the 80s when a band’s videos is actually what got you on the charts, it was The Kinks 3rd coming with “Come Dancing” #6 in Jun83 & “Don’t Forget to Dance” #29 in Oct83. Also in 1983 Ray & Chrissie Hynde (Christine Ellen: 7sep1951Akron) of “The Pretenders” had a baby girl together. The Kinks final ‘ha raw’ was to be “Do It Again” at #41 in Feb85 I remember this video quite well, actually.  

   I am not exactly sure why but the band signed to MCA Records from 1986 to 1991 with 3 studio LPs, which seems very odd, since The Kinks had charted quite well with Arista records. Yet again misfiring with MCA records the band then signed to Sony Records in 1993, then in 1994 they began to put out their own material on their own Label “Konk” in total The Kinks had been signed to 4 of the 6 major record labels, to my knowledge the only band to do so in music history.

   The Kinks managed to rack up 12 Top 40 hits in their career. I was also to see Brother Dave in May 2002 at “1st Ave” he did a great concert, some solo material as well as songs he sang in The Kinks and a few he didn’t sing originally. I met him afterwards and had him sign a couple things for me like his solo LP from1981 on RCA “Glamour”  Dave said “Thanks for buying my record, did you like it?”. 

Dedicated to my long lost friends: Kerri V. & Jesse S.

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