How the Kinks Changed Rock Music With 'You Really Got Me'

100 Great Songs From The British Invasion- 1963-66. The arrival of The Beatles and the British Invasion was a game changer as far as pumping energy into rock music. Not only the music that came from those artists- but the influence the had on American artists. Would rock and roll music have survived much longer without that input? The 1960’s certainly would have been a lot different. In this feature only have two rules- I am narrowing the song choices to the time period of 1963- to 66- and I for obvious reasons I won’t feature any Beatles songs.

Single: ‘ You Really Got Me’- The Kinks / Written by Ray Davies/ Recorded July 1964/ Time: 2:20/ Produced by Shel Talmy/ Released in U.S. September 2, 1964 / Peaked at #1 in UK- #7 in US Billboard Hot 100.

One of the great rock music myths of all time is- that future Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page played the guitar solo on The Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’- Jimmy Page over the years has flatly denied it- and the rumor has always pissed Ray Davies off. The most memorable part of this great song is the power chords. The song is built around Dave Davies guitar riff. ‘You Really Got Me’ is one of the most influential non- Beatles songs from The British Invasion. ‘You Really Got Me’ was the first hit song for two bands- The Kinks- and a cover of the song in 1978 was Van Halen’s first hit single- reaching #36. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked The Kinks ‘ You Really Got Me’ at #82 in their 500 Greatest Songs Ever list.


  1. The first power chord rock song, hands down the best of the best. F to G, then repeat quickly. The lead was a mish-mash flurry of missed notes and bending strings, and it was awesome. The Kinks didn’t tour the states that much and when they did, it was mainly the East Coast, so I never got to see them live back in the day. I did catch The Animals, The Stones, The Hollies, and ugh…Herman’s Hermits. I was 5 rows back at a Zepplin concert in 71, and it was so loud my girlfriend ( now wife ) had to move to the back of the room. My ears rang for a week. The Kinks were unique and the forerunners of Zepplin and the rest. Good post.

    • Thanks- the first thing I think of when I think of The Kinks- Ray Davies lyrics- except for this song- which you described perfectly. I saw them in the 90’s– you caught a lot of great bands back then. I can’t imagine a Led Zeppelin concert- although I did see Page and Plant.

    • I was lucky to have seen Zepplin in 69 at the Texas International Pop Festival. That was right before they hit big in the states. Even outside, they gave us impaired hearing. I can only imagine the bands hearing loss. They played at night when it was a bit cooler, say around 95 degrees, and I remember Plant cussing the damnd Texas heat. Those guys were melting before our eyes. You write very well about those times and the music, so you must be a huge fan of all things retro.

  2. I was shocked when I saw you also started a British Invasion series today, Hans. What are the odds??? Thankfully you’re covering 63-66 and mine will cover 84-89. Very cool. Plenty of British Music to go around. Anybody want to volunteer to do a series on 67-83???

    • Hans, I really don’t know the odds but they have got to be astronomical.

      Glad to hear it and ditto on looking forward. I did a little homework last night and realized that your series will be covering the first invasion, and the era I’m covering will be the second invasion, which motivated me to change my banner and titles accordingly. Did you know there is actually a 3rd invasion as well?

  3. Classic song! NASA sent Johnny B Goode on that first Voyager mission – they could have sent this instead. Glad you are doing this series Hans. Have enjoyed all the licks so far

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