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The Kinks were an English rock band formed in Muswell Hillmarker, North London, by brothers Ray Davies and Dave Davies in 1964. Categorized in the United States as a British Invasion band, The Kinks have been cited as one of the most important and influential rock acts of the era. Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres, including rhythm and blues, British music hall, folk, and country. The group's original lineup consisted of Ray Davies (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Dave Davies (lead guitar, vocals), Pete Quaife (bass guitar, backup vocals), and Mick Avory (drums and percussion). Ray and Dave Davies were the only permanent members of the band throughout its run, while Avory was with the group for most of its history, leaving in 1984. John Dalton played bass with the band for part of 1966 after Quaife was involved in an automobile accident. When Quaife left the group permanently in 1969, Dalton replaced him and played with the group until 1976; after Dalton briefly returned two years later, Jim Rodford took over on bass. They were accompanied by a frequently changing roster of keyboardists.

The Kinks first gained prominence in 1964 with their third single, "You Really Got Me", written by Ray Davies. It became an international hit upon release, topping the charts in the UK and reaching the Top 10 in the US. Through the early 1970s the group released a string of commercially and critically successful singles and LPs. They became known for songs and concept albums reflecting on English culture and lifestyle, fueled by Ray Davies' observational writing style. Albums such as Face to Face, Something Else, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur, Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, and Muswell Hillbillies, along with their accompanying singles, are considered amongst the most influential recordings of the period. The band's subsequent theatrical concept albums met with less success, but they experienced a revival during the New Wave era, when groups such as The Jam, The Knack, and The Pretenders covered their songs, helping boost the band's record sales. In the 1990s Britpop acts such as Blur and Oasis cited them as major influences. The group split in 1996, due to the commercial failures of their past few albums as well as creative tension between the Davies brothers.

The Kinks had five Top 10 singles on the US Billboard chart, and nine of their albums charted in the Top 40. In the UK, the group had fourteen Top 20 singles on the New Musical Express chart, with five Top 10 albums. Among numerous honors, they received the Ivor Novello Award for "Outstanding Service to British Music". In 1990, their first year of eligibility, the original four members of The Kinks were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Famemarker.


Formation and first years (1963–1964)

6 Denmark Terrace, birthplace of the Davies brothers
The Davies brothers were born at 6 Denmark Terrace, Fortis Greenmarker, North Londonmarker, the only boys (with six older sisters) and last two children of their parents. As children, they were immersed in a world of different musical styles, from the music hall of their parents' generation, to the jazz and early rock and roll that their older sisters listened to. Ray Davies studied to be a theatre director at Hornsey College of Artmarker and gained experience in music as a guitarist with the Sohomarker-based Dave Hunt Band. Ray and his brother Dave had been playing skiffle and rock and roll together.

The brothers attended William Grimshaw Secondary Modern School, now known as Fortismere Schoolmarker. Ray's friend and schoolmate Pete Quaife joined them and they formed a band, with Quaife's friend John Start on drums. The group, dubbed "The Ray Davies Quartet", debuted at a school dance, and were well-received, encouraging the group to continue, playing small local gigs at pubs and bars. The band went through a series of lead vocalists at this time, the most notable being Rod Stewart. Stewart, who was at the time known as "The Elvis of Muswell Hill", had known the Davies brothers and Quaife at William Grimshaw School. Stewart performed with the group on at least one occasion in the spring of 1962 (when they were known as The Ray Davies Quartet), but soon departed due to complaints about his voice from Start's mother as well as musical and personality differences with the rest of the band. Stewart went on to form his own group, Rod Stewart and the Moonrakers, which became a local rival to the Ray Davies Quartet over the next year.

The band performed under many names between 1962 and 1963, switching from "The Ray Davies Quartet" to "The Pete Quaife Band," "The Bo-Weevils," and "The Ramrods," before settling on "The Ravens" in the summer of 1963 and recruiting drummer Mickey Willet. The fledgling group began auditioning at several studios for various labels, but these attempts all ended in rejection. Eventually a demo tape landed in the hands of American record producer Shel Talmy, who helped them land a contract with Pye Records in early 1964. It was during this time that The Ravens changed their name to "The Kinks". Drummer Willet left the band shortly before they signed to the label. The Kinks invited Mick Avory to replace Willet after seeing his advertisement in the magazine Melody Maker. With a background in jazz drumming, Avory's previous experience included one gig with the fledgling Rolling Stones.

The Kinks' first single, the Little Richard-cover "Long Tall Sally", was almost completely overlooked, and the release failed to chart in the UK. Nevertheless, the band received heavy publicity through the efforts of their managers Robert Wace, Grenville Collins, and ex-1950s showbiz star Larry Page. Despite this their second single, "You Still Want Me", also failed to chart.

Commercial breakthrough and American touring ban (1965–1966)

Due to the failure of their past two singles, Pye Records threatened to drop the group if another single did not find success. The Kinks released their third single, "You Really Got Me", in August 1964. Boosted by a performance on the television show Ready Steady Go!, it quickly hit number one in the United Kingdom and, after a quick import to the American label Reprise Records, made the Top 10 in the United States. The loud, distorted guitar riff—achieved by Dave Davies' slicing of the speaker cones in his Elpico amplifier (referred to by the band as the "little green amp")—gave the song its signature, gritty guitar sound. "You Really Got Me" was extremely influential on the American Garage rock scene, and went on to work as a blueprint for other genres, including hard rock and heavy metal. After the success of "You Really Got Me" the group recorded their fourth single, "All Day and All of the Night", another hard rock tune. Released in late 1964, it rose to number two in the United Kingdom and number 7 in the United States. In 1965, The Kinks recorded "Set Me Free" and "Tired of Waiting for You", which both found great success, the latter topping the UK charts.

The group released three albums and several EP in the next two years. They also performed and toured relentlessly, which caused tension within the band. The group headlined package tours throughout 1965 with the likes of The Yardbirds and Mickey Finn. Some on-stage fights erupted during this time as well. One incident was at The Capitol Theatre, Cardiffmarker, Wales on 19 May 1965, involving drummer Mick Avory and Dave Davies. The fight broke out during the second number of the set, "Beautiful Delilah". It culminated with Davies insulting Avory and kicking over his drum set after finishing the first song, "You Really Got Me". Avory responded by knocking down Davies with his Hi-Hat stand, rendering him unconscious. He then fled from the scene, fearing he had killed his bandmate, and Davies was taken to Cardiff Royal Infirmary, where he received 16 stitches to the head. To placate police, Avory later claimed that it was part of a new act in which the band members would hurl their instruments at each other.

Following the summer 1965 American tour, the American Federation of Musicians refused permits for the group to appear in concerts in America for the next four years, cutting the Kinks off from the main market for rock music at the height of the British Invasion. Although neither the Kinks nor the union gave a specific reason for the ban, at the time it was widely attributed to their rowdy on-stage behaviour.

The group made its first tour of Australia and New Zealand in January 1965 as part of a "package" bill that included Manfred Mann and The Honeycombs. A stopover in Bombay, Indiamarker on the way to Australia led Davies to write the song "See My Friends" (released as a single in July 1965). This was a prominent early example of crossover music, and along with The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood", was one of the first pop songs of this period to display a direct influence from the traditional music of the Indian subcontinent. According to Ray Davies in his autobiography X-Ray, he was inspired to write "See My Friends" after hearing the songs of local fishermen during an early morning walk:

Jonathan Bellman, in his book The Exotic in Western Music, claims that this song had a significant influence on contemporaries, particularly George Harrison of The Beatles. He states that "In late January 1965, three months before Harrison first encountered a sitar on the Twickenham movie set, Ray Davies ... wrote an Indian-influenced song, "See My Friends", which his musical contemporaries found extremely influential ... And while much has been made of the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" because it was the first pop record to use a sitar, it was recorded well after the Kinks' clearly Indian "See My Friends" was released."

On their return from Asia, recording began immediately—the day after—on their next project, Kinda Kinks. The LP was completed and released within two weeks. Consequently, the production was rushed and, according to Ray Davies, the band was not completely satisfied with the final cuts. Due to record company pressure, however, no time was available to fix certain flaws present in the mix. Ray Davies later expressed his dissatisfaction with the production, saying, "A bit more care should have been taken with it. I think (producer) Shel Talmy went too far in trying to keep in the rough edges. Some of the double tracking on that is appalling. It had better songs on it than the first album, but it wasn't executed in the right way. It was just far too rushed."

The band's first stylistic change became evident in late 1965, with the appearance of singles like "A Well Respected Man", "Dedicated Follower of Fashion", and their third album The Kink Kontroversy. These demonstrated the progression in Davies' songwriting, from hard-driving rock numbers toward songs rich in social commentary, observation, and idiosyncratic character study, all with a uniquely English flavour. The satiric single "Sunny Afternoon" was the biggest UK hit of summer 1966, topping the charts and displacing The Beatles' "Paperback Writer".

Prior to the release of The Kink Kontroversy, Ray Davies suffered a nervous and physical breakdown from the pressures of touring, writing, and ongoing legal squabbles. He spent several months recuperating, during which he wrote several new songs and pondered about the band's direction. Quaife also left the band for much of 1966 after an automobile accident. After he recovered, he decided to step back from the band. Mick Avory's friend John Dalton replaced Quaife until he decided to return to the band at the end of the year. This caused some tension, as Avory was more used to Dalton's style of playing.

"Sunny Afternoon" was a dry run for the band's Face to Face, which displayed Davies' growing skill at crafting gentle yet cutting narrative songs about everyday life and people. For the recording the band recruited session musician Nicky Hopkins on keyboards, mellotron, and harpsichord. Hopkins had first played with the band during The Kink Kontroversy sessions the year before. He would play on the band's next two studio albums and would also be featured on numerous live BBC recordings with the band before joining The Jeff Beck Group in 1968.

The Kinks' next single, a social commentary piece, "Dead End Street" was released at the time of Face to Face and became another UK Top 10 hit. It failed commercially in the United States, only reaching number seventy-three in the Billboard charts. One of the first promotional music videos was produced for the song, filmed on Little Green Streetmarker, a diminutive eighteenth century lane in North London, located off Highgate Road in Kentish Townmarker.

'The Golden Age' (1967–1972)

In May 1967, The Kinks released "Waterloo Sunset" as their next single. The lyrics describe two lovers passing over a bridge, with a melancholic observer reflecting on the couple, the Thames, and Waterloo Stationmarker. The song was rumoured to have been inspired by the romance between two British celebrities of the time, actors Terence Stamp and Julie Christie, although Ray Davies denied this in his autobiography, and claimed in a 2008 interview that "it was a fantasy about my sister going off with her boyfriend to a new world and they were going to emigrate and go to another country." The single became on of the group's biggest UK successes, peaking at number two on Melody Maker. The song went on to become one of their most popular and best-known. Pop music journalist Robert Christgau called it "the most beautiful song in the English language", and Allmusic senior editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine cited it as "possibly the most beautiful song of the rock and roll era."

The songs on the 1967 album Something Else By The Kinks expanded the musical progressions of Face to Face, adding English music hall influences to the band's sound. Dave Davies scored a major UK chart success with "Death of a Clown", co-written with Ray and recorded by The Kinks, but also released as a Dave Davies solo single. However, the album received a disappointing commercial reception, prompting The Kinks to rush out a new single, "Autumn Almanac", which became another UK hit. Their next single, "Wonderboy", released in the spring of 1968, stalled at number thirty-six and would become the band's first single not to make the UK Top Twenty since their early covers.

Throughout 1968, Davies continued to pursue his deeply personal songwriting style, while at the same time rebelling against the heavy demands placed on him to keep producing commercial hits. At the end of June, The Kinks released the single "Days", which made number twelve in the United Kingdom. It was a Top 20 hit in several other countries in the summer of 1968—although it did not chart in the United States—and it is also notable as the last recording made by the original lineup of the group.

Their next album, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, was released in the autumn of 1968 in the UK. It was greeted with almost unanimously positive reviews from both UK and US rock critics, but at the time the album failed to sell strongly, with an estimated 100,000 copies sold worldwide. Despite this, the album has become The Kinks' best selling original record. A collection of thematic vignettes of English town and hamlet life, it was assembled from songs written and recorded over the previous two years. The album's deliberately understated production contrasted with the extravagant style then in vogue, and it did not have a popular single ("Starstruck" was released in North America and continental Europe, but failed to chart anywhere but the Netherlands). Although it was commercially unsuccessful, Village Green, upon its US release in January 1969, was embraced by the new underground rock press, particularly in the United States, where The Kinks' status as a cult band began to grow. In The Village Voice a newly-hired Robert Christgau called it "the best album of the year so far", and in Boston's underground paper Fusion, a review was released stating "The Kinks continue, despite the odds, the bad press and their demonstrated lot, to come across ... Their persistence is dignified, their virtues are stoic. The Kinks are forever, only for now in modern dress." The record was not without criticism, however. In the student paper California Tech, one writer commented that it was "schmaltz rock", and that it is "without imagination, poorly arranged, and a poor copy of the Beatles." The album remains popular today; it was re-released in a 3 CD "Deluxe" edition in 2004, and an album track, "Picture Book", was featured in a popular Hewlett-Packard television commercial in 2004, helping boost the album's popularity considerably.

In early 1969 Quaife had told the band he was quitting. Initially the other members didn't take the remark seriously, however on 4 April an article was featured in New Musical Express magazine featuring his band, named Maple Oak, which he had recently formed without the rest of The Kinks' knowledge. This caused lead vocalist and songwriter Ray Davies to make a personal plea to Quaife, asking him to return for the sessions for their upcoming album. Quaife, however, rejected this offer and continued with his band. Within a day Davies called up bassist John Dalton, who had filled in for Quaife in the past, as a replacement. Dalton would take a more permanent position with The Kinks this time, remaining with the group until 1977, with the release of Sleepwalker.

Ray Davies traveled to Los Angeles, California in April 1969, to help negotiate an end to the American Federation of Musician ban on the group, opening up an opportunity for the group to return to touring in America. The group's management quickly made plans for a North American tour, to help restore their standing in the US pop music scene. Before their return to the United States, The Kinks recorded another album, Arthur . As with the previous two albums, Arthur was soaked with British lyrical and musical hooks, having been conceived as the score for a proposed but never realised television drama. It was a modest commercial success and was particularly well received by music critics in America. Much of the album revolved around themes of the Davies brothers' childhood, their sister Rosie, who had migrated to Australia in the early 1960s with her husband, Arthur Anning (the album's namesake), and life growing up during World War II.

The Kinks embarked on their tour of the US in October 1969. The tour fell apart as the group struggled to find a hold in the American concert scene, and many of the scheduled dates were canceled. The band managed to play a few major underground venues at the Fillmore East and performed for a night at New York's Carnegie Hall.

The band added keyboardist John Gosling to their line-up in early 1970. Before this, Nicky Hopkins, along with Ray, had done most of the session work on keyboards. Gosling debuted with The Kinks on "Lola" in May 1970, an account of a confused romantic encounter with a transvestite, that became both a UK and US hit Top 10 hit, helping return The Kinks to the public eye. The track originally contained the word "Coca-Cola", but the BBC refused to play it as this was considered a violation of their product placement policy. The portion of the song then had to be hastily re-recorded by Ray Davies, with the offending line changed to the generic "cherry cola". The group's accompanying album Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One was released in November of 1970, and was an immense success both critically and commercially, charting in the Top 40 in America, making it their most successful since the mid-1960s.

After the success of "Lola", the band went on to release Percy in 1971, a soundtrack album to a film of the same name about a penis transplant. The album did not receive positive reviews, containing only seven full songs with the remainder being instrumentals. The band's US label, Reprise, declined to release it in America, precipitating a major dispute that contributed to the band's departure from that label. Directly after the release of the album, the band's contracts with Pye and Reprise expired. Before the end of the year, The Kinks signed a five-album deal with RCA Records and received a million dollar advance, which helped fund the construction of their own recording studio, Konk.

Their debut for RCA, Muswell Hillbillies, was soaked with country, bluegrass and music hall influences and is often hailed as their last great record, though it was not as successful as its predecessors. It was named after the Davies brothers' birthplace in Muswell Hill, and contained songs focusing on working-class life and the Davies' own childhood. Muswell Hillbillies, despite positive reviews and high expectations, peaked at number forty-eight on Record World and number one hundred on Billboard.

1972's double album Everybody's in Show-Biz consisted of half studio tracks and half live tracks recorded during a two-night stand in New York's Carnegie Hall. The record featured the ballad "Celluloid Heroes" and the Caribbean-themed "Supersonic Rocket Ship", their last UK Top 20 hit for more than a decade. "Celluloid Heroes" was a bittersweet rumination on dead Hollywood stars in which Ray Davies admits that he wishes his life were like a movie, "because celluloid heroes never feel any pain/And celluloid heroes never really die." The album was moderately successful in the United States, peaking at number forty-seven on Record World, and number seventy on Billboard. The record was a transitional piece between the band's early 1970s rock material and the theatrical incarnation in which they would immerse themselves over the next four years.

Theatrical incarnation (1973–1976)

Ray Davies and backup singers, in Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, 29 April 1977
In 1973, Ray Davies dived headlong into the theatrical style, beginning with the rock opera Preservation, a sprawling chronicle of social revolution, and a more ambitious outgrowth of the earlier Village Green Preservation Society ethos. In conjunction with the Preservation project, The Kinks' lineup was expanded to include a horn section and female backup singers, essentially reforming the group as a theatrical troupe. Preservation: Act 2 was the first project recorded at Konk Studio; from this point forward, virtually every Kinks studio recording would be produced by Ray Davies at Konk.

Ray's marital problems during this period would prove to adversely affect the band. In late 1973, his wife, Rasa, left Davies and took their children with her. Davies went into a state of depression, culminating when he announced onstage that he was "sick of it all." A review of the concert published in Melody Maker stated: "Davies swore on stage. He stood at The White City and swore that he was 'F......[sic] sick of the whole thing' ... He was 'Sick up to here with it' ... and those that heard shook their heads. Mick just ventured a disbelieving smile, and drummer[sic] on through 'Waterloo Sunset.'" Davies proceeded to announce that the Kinks were breaking up, but this attempt was foiled by the group's publicity management, who pulled the plug on the microphone system. Davies then collapsed due to a drug overdose, and was rushed to a hospital. He eventually pulled through his depression, but throughout the remainder of the Kinks' theatrical incarnation the band's output remained uneven and their already failing popularity eroded further.

Preservation: Act 1 was released in late 1973 amid generally poor reviews, although its live performances fared better with the critics. Preservation: Act 2, the sequel to Act 1, appeared in the summer of 1974 to a similar reception. Davies soon began another musical, Starmaker, this time for the Britain's Granada Television. After a broadcast with Ray Davies in the starring role and The Kinks as both back-up band and ancillary characters, the project eventually morphed into the concept album The Kinks Present a Soap Opera, released in the spring of 1975, in which Ray Davies fantasized about what would happen if a rock star traded places with a "normal Norman" and took a 9–5 job. In August 1975, The Kinks recorded their final theatrical work, Schoolboys in Disgrace, a backstory biography of Preservation's capitalist overlord Mr. Flash. The record was a modest success, peaking at number forty-five on the Billboard charts.
Ray Davies Toronto, 29 April 1977
The Kinks signed with Arista Records in 1976, reborn with the encouragement of Arista's management as an arena rock band, stripped back down to a five-man core group.
During this period Heavy-metal band Van Halen achieved a major hit with a remake of "You Really Got Me", which boosted The Kinks' commercial resurgence.

Return to commercial success (1977–1984)

John Dalton left the band before finishing the sessions for their debut Arista album. Andy Pyle was brought in to complete the sessions and to play on the following tour. Sleepwalker was released in 1977. The album was a return to success for the group, peaking at number twenty-one on Billboard.

Andy Pyle and keyboardist John Gosling soon left the group to work together on a separate project. Dalton returned to complete the tour, and ex-The Pretty Things keyboardist Gordon John Edwards joined the band. The Kinks' second Arista album Misfits, and their only album with Andy Pyle, was released in 1978 and included the minor hit "A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy", helping make the record another success for the band.

Dalton left the band permanently after the end of their UK tour, with Gordon John Edwards soon to follow. Ex-Argent bassist Jim Rodford joined the band, which recorded Low Budget with Ray Davies handling keyboard duties. Former Life keyboardist Ian Gibbons was drafted for the following tour and soon become a permanent member. Despite the personnel changes, the group's recording and concert success continued to grow.

During this time in the late 1970s, new wave bands like The Jam ("David Watts") and The Pretenders ("Stop Your Sobbing") and hard rock acts like Van Halen ("You Really Got Me") recorded successful covers of Kinks songs, boosting each band's fame. At the same time, these cover versions helped fuel the commercial success of each new Kinks release. The hard and punk rock sounds of Low Budget (1979) helped make it the group's most successful album in America, peaking at number eleven. 1979 also saw The Kinks headline at Madison Square Gardenmarker for the first time.

A live album (the group's third) and video, both called "One for the Road", followed in 1980, bringing the group's concert drawing power to a peak between 1980 and 1983. Dave Davies also took advantage of the group's improved commercial standing to fulfill his decade-long solo ambitions and released albums on his own, including the eponymous Dave Davies in 1980 (also known by its catalogue number "AFL1-3603" owing to its cover art, which depicted Dave Davies as a leather-jacketed piece of price scanning barcode) and 1981's less successful Glamour.

The next Kinks album, Give the People What They Want, was released in late 1981 and reached number 15 in the US. The record attained gold status, and featured the UK hit single "Better Things", as well as "Destroyer" a major Mainstream Rock hit for the group. To promote the album, The Kinks spent the better part of 1982 touring. In spring 1983, the song "Come Dancing" became their biggest American hit (peaking at number six) since "Tired of Waiting for You". It also became the group's first Top 20 hit in the UK since 1972, peaking at number 12 in the charts. The accompanying album State of Confusion followed and was another commercial success, going to number 12 in the US, but once again failing to chart in the UK, as had all previous albums since 1967. Another single released from the record, "Don't Forget to Dance", became a US top 30 hit, and minor UK chart entry.

The Kinks' second wave of popularity peaked with State of Confusion in 1983, but soon their success would quickly begin to dwindle, a trend that was also shared with many of their British rock contemporaries like The Rolling Stones and The Who. During the second half of 1983, Ray Davies started working on an ambitious solo film project, Return to Waterloo, about a London commuter who daydreams he's a serial murderer. The film gave actor Tim Roth a significant early role. Davies' commitment to writing, directing and scoring the new work caused tension in his relationship with his brother. Another problem was the stormy end of the relationship between Ray Davies and Chrissie Hynde. The old feud between Dave Davies and drummer Mick Avory also re-ignited. Soon Dave Davies wanted Avory replaced by the former drummer from Argent (a band in which Jim Rodford had also been a member), Robert Henrit.

Dave Davies eventually refused to work with Avory. Ray Davies said that he unwillingly had to choose sides, as stated later in a 1989 interview: "The saddest day for me was when Mick left. Dave and Mick didn't get along. There were terrible fights, and I got to the point where I couldn't cope with it any more ... Mick had an important sound. Mick wasn't a great drummer, but he was a jazz drummer—same school, same era as Charlie Watts." Bob Henrit was brought in to take Avory's place. At Ray Davies' invitation Avory agreed to manage Konk Studios, where he also served as a producer and occasional contributor on later Kinks albums.

Between the completion of Return to Waterloo and Avory's departure, the band had already begun work on Word of Mouth, released in late 1984 with Avory still part of the line-up on three tracks. All other drumming duties were taken over by a drum machine. Many of the songs featured on the record had already appeared on solo versions on Ray Davies' companion album for Return to Waterloo. On Word of Mouth The Kinks' last Billboard Hot 100 entry, "Do it Again" (number fourty-one), was featured.

Fall in popularity (1985–1996)

Word of Mouth was the last Kinks album for Arista Records. In early 1986, the group signed with MCA Records in the United States and London Records in the UK. Their first album for the new label, Think Visual, was released in 1986 and became a moderate success, peaking at number eighty-one on the Billboard albums chart. The subject matter of the album was varied, with songs like the ballad "Lost and Found" and "Working at the Factory" concerning blue-collar life on an assembly line, and the title track, an attack on the very MTV video culture the band had been profiting off of during the earlier part of the decade.

The Kinks followed Think Visual in 1987 with another live album, titled The Road, which was a mediocre commercial and critical performer. In 1989, The Kinks released UK Jive, which was a commercial failure, making a momentary entry into the album charts at number one hundred twenty-two. MCA Records ultimately dropped them, leaving The Kinks scrambling to find a label deal for the first time in over a quarter of a century. Longtime keyboardist Ian Gibbons left the group during this period and was replaced by Mark Haley.

In 1990, their first year of eligibility, The Kinks were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Famemarker alongside The Who, Simon and Garfunkel, The Four Seasons, The Four Tops, Hank Ballard, and The Platters. Mick Avory and Pete Quaife were on hand for the award. The induction, however, did not bring back The Kinks' stagnated career. In 1991, a compilation from the MCA Records period, Lost & Found was released to fulfill contractual obligations and their MCA period officially ended. The band signed with Columbia Records and released the 5-song EP Did Ya in 1991, which, despite being coupled with a new studio re-recording of the band's 1968 British hit "Days," failed to chart.

The Kinks' first album for Columbia, Phobia (1993), was released and recorded by the band as a four piece. Following the departure of Mark Haley after the band's sold out performance at the Royal Albert Hall, London, Gibbons rejoined for a US tour and again became part of the band. The record only managed one week in the US Billboard chart at number one hundred sixty-six As usual, no impression was made on the group's home country chart in the UK. One single, "Only a Dream" narrowly failed to reach the UK chart, climbing to number seventy-nine. "Scattered", the album's final candidate for release as a single, was announced and TV and radio promotion followed, but the record could not be found in the shops. Several months later a small number appeared on the collector market.

The group was dropped by Columbia in 1994. In 1994 the band released the first version of the album To the Bone on their own Konk label in the UK, a live album recorded partly on the highly successful UK tours of 1993 and 1994, and in the Konk studio before a small invited audience. Two years later the band released a new improved double CD live set in the USA, still called To The Bone, which now consisted of two new studio tracks ("Animal" and "To The Bone") paired with effective new treatments of many old Kinks hits. The record drew respectable press but failed to chart in either the US or the UK.

The band's name and profile rose considerably in the mid 1990s, mainly due to the British rock boom called "Britpop" by the UK press. Several of the most prominent bands of the decade cited The Kinks as a major influence. Blur frontman Damon Albarn and Oasis' chief songwriter Noel Gallagher especially stressed that The Kinks were one of the bands that made the biggest impact on their songwriting as well as their development as artists and musicians, and Noel Gallagher called The Kinks "the 5th best band of all time." However, all these accolades made little difference to the commercial viability of the group.

The group gradually became less active and Ray and Dave Davies turned to their own interests. Each released an autobiography; Ray's X-Ray was published in early 1995, and Dave responded with his memoir Kink, published in the spring of 1996.

Split and solo work (1997–2007)

Ray Davies at a recent show in Ottawa, Canada
The Kinks performed the last time in mid-1996. Band members focused on their own solo projects with Ray and Dave releasing their own studio albums. Talk of a Kinks reunion has circulated (including an aborted studio reunion of the original band members in 1999), but both Ray and Dave Davies had shown little interest in playing together again.

In 1998, Ray Davies released the solo album Storyteller (a companion piece to X-Ray) which celebrated his old band and his estranged brother. Before becoming an album, Storyteller began life as a cabaret-style show in 1996. Seeing the programming possibilities inherent in Ray Davies' music/dialogue/reminiscence format, the American music television network VH-1 launched a series of similar projects featuring established rock artists, titling their show "VH1 Storytellers".
Dave Davies at the Dakota Creek Roadhouse, 2002
Meanwhile, former members John Gosling, John Dalton and Mick Avory regrouped and started performing on the oldies circuit under the name of The Kast Off Kinks, with guitar-player/singer Dave Clarke.

In the autumn of 2005, The Kinks were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame, at which all four of the original band members were present. The award was given by long-time Kinks fan and friend of Ray Davies, The Who's guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend. The induction helped fuel sales for the group—in August 2007, a re-entry of The Ultimate Collection, a compilation of material spanning the bands' entire career, reached number forty-eight in the UK Top 100 album chart and number one in the UK Indie album chart.

Reunion and new album (2008–present)

In an interview with BBC Radio 4 on 29 September 2008, Ray Davies said that the band could reform soon. He said he wouldn't do it as a nostalgia act, but only to work on new material with the band. Davies told the UK radio station: "There is a desire to do it. The thing that would make me decide 'yes' or 'no' would be whether or not we could do new songs". Davies also went on to explain that the main barrier to the band getting back together was the illness of his brother, guitarist Dave Davies, who suffered a stroke in 2004.

In November 2008 Ray Davies told the BBC that the band was beginning to write new material for a possible reunion. The interview did not clarify who the band members were at this time. However, other members of the band have expressed no desire for a reunion, with Dave Davies claiming in one interview "it would be like a bad remake of Night of the Living Dead". He also added that, "Ray has been doing Karaoke Kinks shows since 1996". In Spring 2009, Ray Davies told the Independent that the group had rehearsed and even written new material together, but an official reunion was unlikely, stating: "I will continue to play with ex-band members like Mick Avory from time to time. With Dave, a lot of it is psychological. I’ll guide him in, and coerce and nurture him, and when the time is right I suppose I’ll even shout at him again".


Per Doug Hinman.

Line-up timeline

Musician Dates Active Role
Ray Davies Feb 1964–1996 lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica, keyboards, lead songwriting
Dave Davies Feb 1964–1996 harmony vocals, lead guitar, occasional lead vocals and songwriting
Mick Avory Feb 1964 – 1984 drums and percussion
Pete Quaife Feb 1964 – June 1966, Nov 1966 – Mar 1969 bass guitar, backup vocals
Nicky Hopkins 1964–1969 keyboards (session)
John Dalton June–Nov 1966, 1969–76, 1978 bass guitar, backup vocals
John Gosling 1970–78 keyboards
Andy Pyle 1976–78 bass guitar
Gordon John Edwards 1978 keyboards, backup vocals
Jim Rodford 1978–1996 bass guitar, backup vocals
Ian Gibbons 1979–89, 1993–1996 keyboards, backup vocals
Bob Henrit 1984–1996 drums and percussion
Mark Haley 1989–1993 keyboards, backup vocals



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