The Kinks, The Kinks' Greatest Hits The year was 1964, and I was a scant 5 years old. The Beatles had conquered our universe. My elder brothers and I drew facsimiles of guitar strings on wooden building blocks and jumped about frantically in Fab Four fashion. What or whom could best that sound? Later that year my father was building a small transistor radio. I wandered down to the basement and looked on as my brother helped him put it together. Scanning the dial ... Sinatra ... static ... sober Cold War voices hawking must-have products ... more static. And then the opening chords of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me." It was a swaggering, raucous Pop song whose chorus climaxed in an entirely earthy manner. The singer sounded positively unhinged. The scream and subsequent guitar solo seemed alien. No happy shouting like John and Paul. These were the scrappy, scowling Davies brothers from Muswell Hill who took mid-'60s radio by storm. The Kinks Greatest Hits was released in '66, and I now had, all in one place, variations on the first single as well as melodic melancholy, scathing social commentary and oddball portraiture. Ray Davies drew the blueprint and made my head spin. I had to find out how to make those sounds.
CHRIS ARDUSER (graveblankets.com) and George Cunningham perform Sunday (2 p.m.) at Shake It Records.