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The Kinks

Biography

Led by singer-songwriter Ray Davies, the Kinks recorded countless songs that have proven to be both timeless and highly influential. Their slew of early singles -- from the Hard Rock prototype "You Really Got Me" to the whimsical, lackadaisical and humorous "Sunny Afternoon" -- made them one of the most popular bands of the British Invasion. However, it was Davies' singular, distinctively noncommercial vision that made their superstardom a relatively brief part of an otherwise lengthy career. Tensions between the musicians didn't help matters, as onstage fights between Ray and his guitar-playing brother Dave were notorious. Although they ostensibly mastered the singles format, the Kinks became an album-oriented band in the truest sense: between 1968 and 1977, the band released numerous concept albums that varied wildly in quality and subject matter. The most famous, and perhaps the finest of the lot, is Lola vs. the Powerman & the Money-Go-Round, Part One (1970). The record is a cutting, acerbic look at the music industry, and the song "Lola" put the band back on top -- and what a song to do so, as it's become the most famous song in the rock 'n' roll oeuvre to deal with gender-swapping and/or transvestism. The Kinks continued to record powerful singles and solid albums, but their fame rests firmly on their utterly unique early material.
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