Why Didn't The Kinks Catch On In America? Their Self-Destructive Story

By | June 19, 2020

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The Kinks in 1965: Ray Davies, Pete Quaife, Dave Davies and Mick Avory holding playing cards (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)

The Kinks are responsible for many rock classics, including "You Really Got Me," "All Day And All Of The Night," and "Tired Of Waiting For You." Those three early hits came out in 1964-65, when The Kinks were part of the British Invasion, and all made the top ten of the U.S. Billboard pop chart. Then the group essentially sat out the rest of the decade, as far as American listeners were concerned -- it wasn't until "Lola," in 1970, that the Kinks would again crack the U.S. top ten.

This absence was actually more like exile. The Kinks weren't welcome in the States. Just as their musical star was rising, they irritated the powers that be in the American concert business, and earned a ban that lasted four years. Like overserved party guests, they were asked to leave, and not invited back.

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The fiery tempered KInks. (whatsonstage)

Fronted by Ray Davies, with his brother Dave Davies on lead guitar, Mick Avory on drums and Pete Quaife on bass, The Kinks were an important group who released a lot of great music in the late '60s. But compared to their fellow British Invaders -- The Beatles, The Who, The Stones -- The Kinks were a non-entity in the States.

The Kinks remain a cautionary tale for British bands trying to make it in America. In the early '60s, British music was completely absent from the U.S. pop scene, but that changed when American listeners heard The Beatles in late 1963 and early 1964. The groups that came through the door opened by The Beatles' massive success included The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Dave Clark Five, The Hollies, Herman's Hermits, The Animals, The Zombies and others.  In the Groovy era, no other country could fire up the afterburners of fame and fortune like America.