🎵 August, 1964

In 1965 an interviewer asked The Rolling Stones a question that was on everyone’s mind at the time, Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone? 

Part of The Rollings Stones success at the time was that they weren’t the Beatles. That was true for The Kinks as well. 

Before The Kinks succeeded with the song You Really Got Me, they were ho-hum and predictable. They were just another young band known as The Ravens. About the only thing they did differently at the time was dress oddly, in colorful outfits. During one session in a bar, lead singer Ray Davies complained about their name and a drunk helped out and suggested kinks, because of their clothes. “That’s perfect,” Davies said. 

Their music was kind of bland too, but they fixed that with You Really Got Me. Instead of the polished sound of studio music, brothers Ray and Dave and producer Shel Talmy wanted something edgier that sounded more like what the band sounded like when they played live. 

“I always liked how our band sounded at clubs—course and sort of stripped down,” Dave said. Part of that sound came from one time Dave amputated an amp with a razor blade. “Up until then, rock guitars in London had sounded very clean and polished.” 

When it came time to record the song the band’s idea was compromised by the studios. They’d cleaned it up, to sound like more of the same. “It was exactly what I didn’t want,” Ray said.

So coming up with their own money, the band rerecorded it their way. It sounded noisier—exactly what they wanted. It also had a different arrangement. Rather than the traditional G to C to D they played it G to A. “There’s something about that full step up,” Ray said, “that feels like acceleration and raises the excitement level.” 

The Kinks were different. The Rolling Stones were different. Being different works but it’s hard. Being different is good, but being too different is too much. Nobody asked for a smartphone without chiclet keys yet that’s what’s made. Nobody asked for The Rolling Stones or The Kinks, yet their music is asked for all the time now.