Like the Kingsmen, Kinks, Cream, Jeff Beck Group, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath? This video’s for you.
Now writing a history of rock and roll, I’ve just reached that period in the mid-1960s where blues-rock became hard-rock, which in turn became heavy metal. I remember it well, witnessing it explode around me. I saw Black Sabbath before they were famous in the 1960s, and promoted hard rock pioneers like the Kinks, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Jeff Beck, Mott the Hoople, Iggy and the Stooges, Nazareth and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band in the early 1970s.
The video below shows how blues-rock and hard-rock evolved into metal, as I remember it. But, since my new book will include the scotching of certain rock myths, here’s one myth I’d like to bust.
Jimmy Page did NOT play lead guitar on the Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’, in my view the single featuring hard-rock’s earliest riff. Jimmy certainly played on Kinks records, as an in-demand session guitarist in London, before forming Led Zeppelin in 1968, but has confirmed, many times, he didn’t play on ‘You Really Got Me’.
The producer of ‘You Really Got Me’ has also confirmed this in newspaper interviews, and Kinks singer Ray Davies recalls watching his younger brother, Dave, pump out the riff during the recording of ‘You Really Got Me’, on his 1998 CD ‘The Storyteller’.
So, how did such a myth come about? The author of 2004 book, ‘The Kinks’, Doug Hinman, attributes this to jealous British rock musicians who couldn’t believe a kid like Dave Davies, just 17, could produce the scintillating lead guitar featured on ‘You Really Got Me’. Check it out below.
‘You Really Got Me’ topped the British charts for two weeks in September, 1964. In America, it reached seven on Billboard’s Hot 100, and five on the Cashbox pop chart, establishing the Kinks as one of the era’s leading British Invasion acts.
Unfortunately, The Kinks assault on America was brutally cut short in 1965 by a four-year ban by the American Federation of Television and Recording Artists, said to have arisen due to the band failing to pay union fees. It wouldn’t have helped that Ray Davies reportedly punched a union official during the dispute. Years later, Ray Davies said, “In many respects, that ridiculous ban took away the best years of the Kinks’ career when the original band was performing at its peak.”