The Kinks debut album celebrates 50 years

The Kinks self-titled debut album turns 50 and the Davies' brothers are rumored to have a reunion tour.


The Kinks released their debut album, Kinks, on October 2, 1964, which consisted primarily of covers and altered songs. During a period where most of England’s iconic bands like the Yardbirds or the Rolling Stones were attracting a new fan base by way of America’s iconic bluesmen, the Kinks followed suit — but only at first. They blossomed after their first album topped the charts, and eventually took reign in the United Kingdom by reinventing the underground tone and revolutionizing the garage, Brit pop scene.

Mod revivalists and brothers, Ray and Dave Davies, conceptualized the group on the basis of breaking the boundaries of how “acceptable” pop bands were looking, sounding, and presenting themselves to the public. The Kinks didn’t attempt to disguise their English accents, sartorial style, or abide by social constructions, but they certainly developed a keen sense of stuffing their songs with hard-driving wit and gritty guitar distortions.

For instance, the first single, “You Really Got Me,” features an iconic guitar riff fashioned after Dave Davies snipped the speaker cone of an amplifier. On the contrary, in the less aggressive track, “Just Can’t Go to Sleep,“ Ray Davies’ definitive songwriting embellishes the feeling most everyone can relate to — loneliness — but delivers it in a comfortable way that brands loneliness as a natural human instinct, rather than a sad, shameful emotion.

The original UK tracks are listed individually below, or you can listen to the full album here.

Side 1
"Beautiful Delilah" (Chuck Berry)
"So Mystifying"
"Just Can't Go to Sleep"
"Long Tall Shorty" (Herb Abramson, Don Covay)
"I Took My Baby Home"
"I'm a Lover Not a Fighter" (J. D. "Jay" Miller)
"You Really Got Me"

Side 2
"Cadillac" (Bo Diddley)
"Bald Headed Woman" (Shel Talmy)
"Revenge" (Ray Davies, Larry Page)
"Too Much Monkey Business" (Berry)
"I've Been Driving On Bald Mountain" (Talmy)
"Stop Your Sobbing"
"Got Love If You Want It" (James Moore)

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The Kinks first hit on Kinks was “You Really Got Me,” which reached number one on British charts. Later, the album was reissued as You Really Got Me as the album title in the U.S., with three title track omissions, and it ranked in at number seven.

A proper celebration is in the works. The Kinks will reissued Muswell Hillbilles with several unreleased recordings Oct. 7. Also, an anniversary tour is being discussed, however Ray Davies seems the least optimistic. Read about the "50/50 chance" via Rolling Stone.

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