“You Really Got Me” - The Kinks

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"You Really Got Me" is a rock song written by Ray Davies and performed by his band, The Kinks. According to the You Really Got Me Songfacts, after writing it, Ray played the song for Dave on piano, and Dave tried it on guitar. Their first version was 6-minutes long.
When the Kinks heard this first version they hated the results. It was produced by Shel Talmy, their manager at the time, and Ray Davies thought it came out clean and sterile, when he wanted it to capture the energy of their live shows. Dave Davies girlfriend backed them up, saying it didn't make her want to "drop her knickers." The Kinks' record company had no interest in letting them re-record this, but due to a technicality in their contract, The Kinks were able to withhold the song until they could do it again. At the second session, Dave Davies slashed his amp and Talmy produced it to get the desired live sound. This is the version that was released.

It was released as the group's third single, in August 1964, and reached Number 1 on the UK singles chart the following month, staying there for two weeks. It was the group's breakthrough hit, and established them as one of the top British Invasion acts in the United States, reaching Number 7 there later in the year. It was later included on the Kinks' debut album, The Kinks.

"You Really Got Me" was the first hit song built around power chords (parallel 5ths and octaves) , and was heavily influential on later rock and roll musicians, particularly in the heavy metal genre. One critic wrote that it is, "the track which invented heavy metal"[1] while critic Denise Sullivan of Allmusic writes, "'You Really Got Me' remains a blueprint song in the hard rock and heavy metal arsenal."

The Rolling Stone magazine placed the song at number 82 on their list of list of the 500 greatest songs of all time and at number 4 on their list of the The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time. In early 2005, the song was voted the best British song of the 1955-1965 decade in a BBC radio poll. In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at number 9 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. In 2004 the song managed to be voted into the bottom end of the Kerrang! Rock 100 best music videos of all time, by readers of the magazine and viewers of the TV station. This can be considered surprising as the magazine has never mentioned the band], the magazine concentrates on heavy metal rock acts, grunge or emo genres.In 2009 it was named the 57th best hard rock song of all time by VH1.

The song was recorded by the Kinks in a number of styles in the summer of 1964 before the final sound was achieved. The group was under tremendous pressure for a hit from their record company Pye, after their two previous single releases failed to chart. Ray Davies in particular was stubbornly persistent in forcing the Kinks' management and record company to take the time and money needed to develop the record's landmark sound and style. Davies' efforts on behalf of the career-making song effectively established him as the leader and chief songwriter of the Kinks

The influential distortion sound of the guitar track was created after guitarist Dave Davies sliced the speaker cone of his guitar amplifier with a razor blade and poked it with a pin.[2] The amplifier was affectionately called "little green," after the name of the amplifier made by the Elpico company, and purchased in Davies' neighbourhood music shop, slaved into a Vox AC-30.

The guitar solo on the recording is the source of one of the most controversial and persistent myths in all of rock and roll: that it was not played by the Kinks' lead guitarist Dave Davies, but by then-session player Jimmy Page. The solo was undoubtedly played by Dave Davies (then seventeen years old), as everyone involved in the July 1964 recording sessions for the track has always maintained. Although an effective and integral part of the song, it is essentially a faster variation of the "Louie Louie" guitar solo, and did not represent a great technical or stylistic achievement on par with that song's driving three-chord rhythm backing (save for the method of playing the pentatonic scale in a manner that "seems" sloppy; this technique is a major watershed in the history of rock and roll, arguably an influence on punk rock). However, the story has circulated for decades that the solo was played by Jimmy Page, who later joined The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. Page was in fact hired by Kinks producer Shel Talmy as a session rhythm guitarist on a handful of tracks on the Kinks' first album, but those sessions took place several weeks after the "You Really Got Me" session. Page has always denied playing the song's guitar solo, going so far as to state in a 1977 interview that "I didn't play on 'You Really Got Me' and that's what pisses him (Ray Davies) off." Rock historian and author Doug Hinman makes a case that the rumour was begun and fostered by the established UK Rhythm and Blues community, many of whose members were resentful that an upstart band of teenagers such as the Kinks could produce such a powerful and influential blues-based recording, seemingly out of nowhere.

Several session musicians did play on "You Really Got Me": The piano was by either keyboardist Jon Lord of Deep Purple[6] or Arthur Greenslade [7] In the same interview, Davies says that there was a session guitarist doubling his rhythm part, but that it wasn't Page. At the behest of producer Shel Talmy, session drummer Bobby Graham played drums on the recording, rather than regular Kinks drummer Mick Avory. Graham went on to play the main drum part on many of the Kinks' early recordings. Interestingly, both Jon Lord and Shel Talmy claim Jimmy Page did play on "You Really Got Me". Talmy credits him for the rhythm guitar [8] and Lord for the solo.

According to Ray Davies, the song's characteristic riff came about while working out the chords of The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie." The Kinks' use of distorted guitar riffs continued with songs like "All Day and All of the Night," "Tired of Waiting for You," and "Set Me Free," among others. Pete Townshend of The Who has stated that their first single, "I Can't Explain," was an intentional soundalike of The Kinks' work at the time (The Who were also produced by Shel Talmy at that time).

The Kinks would go on to perform successfully together as a band for over 30 years, through many musical styles, and they would always play "You Really Got Me" in concert. Both Ray and Dave Davies still perform the song in solo shows, generally as a closing number.


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