His guitar playing and songwriting skills had a pivotal role on The Kinks signature sound
The Kinks’ founder and guitarist Dave Davies turns 74
Dave Davies, the influential lead guitarist, backing (and occasional lead) singer for The Kinks, was born David Russell Gordon Davies on February 3, 1947 in London, England. He founded the Kinks with Pete Quaife in 1963. His brother Ray, who became the best-known member and leader of the band, joined soon after Dave Davies was solely responsible for the signature distorted power chord sound on the Kinks’ first hit, “You Really Got Me”. He achieved the sound by using a razor blade to slit the speaker cone on his Elpico amplifier, which he then ran through a larger Vox as a “pre-amp”.This sound was one of the first mainstream appearances of guitar distortion, which was to have a major influence on many later musicians,especially in heavy metal and punk rock. That made The Kinks being one of the very few 1960’s bands to be embraced by the late 1970’s Punk Rockers. Another example of the classic electric guitar distorted power chord used on a Kinks song it’s on “All Day, All Night”. During the late 1960’s the group steadily evolved, as Ray’s songwriting skills developed and he began to lead the group in a whole new direction. The group abandoned the traditional R&B/blues and Garage Rock sound and adopted a more nostalgic, reflective style of music, as showcased on songs like “Autumn Almanac” and “Waterloo Sunset”. During that period the band releases albums that aren’t welcomed by the critics as much as their earlier work. In 1970, they evolve again into a new sound, and made a successful comeback to the charts with their hit single “Lola”. Though remaining one of the most influential Rock bands of all time, The Kinks popularity decreased significantly as the 1970’s went by. During the 1980’s their effort to adapt to a more contemporary sound also failed and the band ended up following solo projects instead of trying to create new music together. In 1996 Davies published an autobiography, entitled “Kink”, in which he discussed a brief period of bisexuality in the late 1960’s, which included a brief relationship with Long John Baldry and music producer Michael Aldred. Despite some recent health problems, Davies remains an active musician, he played with his brother Ray in 2015 when he made a surprise appearance at the concert, which was regarded as a Kinks reunion. His latest solo album “Rippin’ Up Time”, was released in 2014. Dave Davies turns 74.
Look back at Dave Davies performing his solo hit “Death Of A Clown” in 1967
Listen to “The Ultimate Collection” compilation featuring some of the best Kinks songs
Watch more 1960s related videos
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