The Kinks are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, north London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s. The band emerged during the height of British rhythm and blues and Merseybeat, and were briefly part of the British Invasion of the United States until their touring ban in 1965 (as a result of constant fighting between the brothers). Their third single, the Ray Davies-penned “You Really Got Me”, became an international hit, topping the charts in the United Kingdom and reaching the Top 10 in the United States. Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres, including American R&B and rock and roll initially, and later adopting British music hall, folk, and country. They gained a reputation for reflecting English culture and lifestyle, fuelled by Ray Davies’ wittily observational writing style.
Early works included albums such as Face to Face (1966), Something Else (1967), The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968), Arthur (1969), Lola Versus Powerman (1970), and Muswell Hillbillies (1971), along with their accompanying singles. After a fallow period in the mid-1970s, the band experienced a revival during the late 1970s and early 1980s with their albums Sleepwalker (1977), Misfits (1978), Low Budget (1979), Give the People What They Want (1981) and State of Confusion (1983). In addition, groups such as Van Halen, the Jam, the Knack, the Pretenders, The Raincoats and the Fall covered their songs, helping to boost the Kinks’ record sales. In the 1990s, Britpop acts such as Blur and Oasis cited the band as a major influence.
Ray Davies (rhythm guitar, lead vocals, keyboards) and Dave Davies (lead guitar, vocals) remained members throughout the band’s 33-year run. Longest-serving member Mick Avory (drums and percussion) was replaced by Bob Henrit, formerly of Argent, in 1984. Original bass guitarist Pete Quaife was replaced by John Dalton in 1969. After Dalton’s 1976 departure, Andy Pyle briefly served as the band’s bassist before being replaced by Argent bassist Jim Rodford in 1978. Session keyboardist Nicky Hopkins accompanied the band in the studio for many of their recordings in the mid-to-late 1960s. The band became an official five-piece in 1970, when keyboardist John Gosling joined them. Gosling quit in 1978; he was first replaced by ex-Pretty Things member Gordon Edwards, then more permanently by Ian Gibbons in 1979. The band gave its last public performance in 1996 and broke up in 1997 as a result of creative tension between the Davies brothers.
The Kinks have had five Top 10 singles on the US Billboard chart. Nine of their albums charted in the Top 40. In the UK, they have had seventeen Top 20 singles and five Top 10 albums. Four Kinks albums have been certified gold by the RIAA and the band have sold over 50 million records worldwide. Among numerous honours, they received the Ivor Novello Award for “Outstanding Service to British Music”. In 1990, the original four members of The Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the UK Music Hall of Fame in November 2005. In 2018, after years of ruling out a reunion due to the brothers’ animosity and difficult relationship between longtime drummer Mick Avory and Dave, Ray and Dave Davies finally announced they were working to reform the Kinks along with Avory on board. However, comments made by each of the Davies brothers in 2020 and 2021 would indicate that in the years since the initial announcement, little progress has been made towards an actual Kinks reunion for a new studio band album. It is unknown which living members apart from Mick Avory and probably John Dalton would participate in such a reunion as Ray Davies hasn’t reached out to Dalton.John Gosling and John Dalton are the only living longtime members of the band. Gosling has retired from music, spending time writing, but has participated in The Kast Off Kinks with Dalton and Avory.