I said I would blog about listening to every Kinks record to come up with an educated Top 10. I’ve been listening to them all, even UK Jive, but haven’t blogged a jot. Well read this!
One point before we get started, I am only considering songs written by Ray (or Dave) Davies. This excludes my personal favourites like “Cadillac” and “Bald Headed Woman”.
I figure the easiest way to break this up, especially in the earlier stages of their career, is to do it by year. In 1964, the Kinks release their first four singles and their eponymous debut album. Based on that, here are my rankings for 1964:
- All Day And All Of The Night
- You Really Got Me
- You Still Want Me
- I Gotta Move
- I Took My Baby Home
- Stop Your Sobbing
- Just Can’t Go To Sleep
- It’s All Right
When I was ranking these, there was definitely a tinge of shame and contrarianism about placing “All Day And All Of The Night” ahead of “You Really Got Me”, but after listening to the two back to back several times in a row I am sticking with it. There’s no arguing that “You Really Got Me” is iconic and the guitar riff helped spawn a genre of music I love. There’s just something about “All Day And All Of The Night” that resonates more with me. Maybe it’s the production, as it sounds more like a group just playing in a room, not as produced. Maybe it’s the lack of a piano? I just feel it’s a stronger song.
“You Still Want Me” is a somewhat peculiar song, but I think it’s under appreciated. It sounds like something the Searchers would have done. Regardless, the song construction is well done and the beat is great. “I Gotta Move” is pretty R&B and it works. It also has a good beat you can dance to. I always had the impression my mom thought “I Took My Baby Home” was a throw away pop song, which isn’t exactly wrong. I will give it credit though for being an excellent example of a cheesy pop tune from 1964. It’s very much a Beatles rip off, only much better. “Stop Your Sobbing” is good for a slow song. I know lots of people remember the Pretenders’ cover, but the original is so much better. I think it’s a nice, sweet song with an old school rhythm and blues feel. It’s just a little too mid-tempo. “Revenge” is a frenetic instrumental that is also largely forgotten, don’t make that mistake. The other slow song is “Just Can’t Go To Sleep”, which also sounds like something the Searchers would have done. It’s a fine song, just not as good as others. The same is true for the total R&B pastiche of “It’s Alright”. Fine son, just not a stand out in this crowd.
So that’s 1964. Stay tuned for 1965.