SPEAK TO A MEMBER of any band formed in the 1960s and you’ll find a decidedly competitive streak emerging in terms of their relationships with other musicians. The reasons for this are hard to fathom, although within that generation of songwriters there was certainly a desire to break new ground and accomplish things first.
This intense rivalry is something that Ray Davies felt first hand in 1964 when fledgling Kinks – then with just two minor hits under their belts – supported The Beatles, already the biggest band in the world.
“We’d played with The Beatles in Bournemouth [on August 4] and John Lennon made a remark that we were only there to warm up for them, but we got a great reaction to You Really Got Me,” recalls Davies. “It was an early validation that we had something that stood up for us, like being bullied in school and having something that was bigger than the bully, it was that sort of feeling.”
“Lennon made a remark that we were only there to warm up for them...”
Speaking to MOJO for our 20th anniversary issue, Davies looks back at the life-changing events he endured in 1964, the year he turned 20 and during which he wrote and recorded You Really Got Me – The Kinks’ first Number 1 single and the tune saved the band’s career and launched them to superstardom. As a songwriter, Davies then found himself on a roll, penning Stop Your Sobbing, All Day And All Of The Night and Tired Of Waiting For You in quick succession.
“When it went to Number 1 [in September 1964], it was like that thing of losing your virginity, you’re never quite the same again, you never forget that moment,” admits Ray.
The full interview – in which Davies also talks about the uncertainty of the period, as well as his approach to songwriting – appears in MOJO 20 which is on sale now.