The Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ Didn’t Always Rock

Frank Mastropolo
3 min readJan 7, 2021

The raw sound of Dave Davies’ lead guitar on “You Really Got Me” has been called the blueprint for the power chords of heavy metal and punk rock. Written by Ray Davies, the song topped the British charts and introduced the Kinks to America, where it was a Top 10 hit. But the song that revolutionized rock was recorded in a variety of styles before the raucous single was released in September 1964.

In early 1964 Ray and the Kinks were under pressure from Pye Records to produce a hit. As their first single, the label demanded the Kinks record Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally” in the Merseybeat style of other British Invasion bands.

Their follow-up was “You Still Want Me.”

Both singles flopped.

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Frank Mastropolo

“Life is too short to be spent in the company of morons." — Jerry Weintraub