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In August 1964 The Kinks released their third single. After a little noticed debut and a follow-up that had failed to chart at all, Pye Records were threatening to annul the group’s contract. But with its unforgettable distorted guitar riff, 'You Really Got Me’ went on to reach No.1, entering the US Top Ten later the same year. Followed by a string of hits, it marked the b In August 1964 The Kinks released their third single. After a little noticed debut and a follow-up that had failed to chart at all, Pye Records were threatening to annul the group’s contract. But with its unforgettable distorted guitar riff, 'You Really Got Me’ went on to reach No.1, entering the US Top Ten later the same year. Followed by a string of hits, it marked the breakthrough of one of Britain’s most innovative and influential bands, and a turning point in the fortunes of two brothers whose troubled story is as tumultuous and characterful as the music they produced: Ray and Dave Davies. Born into a deeply musical working-class family in London’s Muswell Hill, Ray and Dave grew up in a city recovering from the bombs and privations of the Second World War, and, more than any other musicians of the Sixties, they crafted the soundtrack that made it swing again. In songs such as ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion’, ‘Sunny Afternoon’ – which toppled The Beatles to become the hit of Summer 1966 – ‘Waterloo Sunset’, ‘Days’ and ‘Lola’, they drew on music hall, folk and rhythm and blues to craft a peculiarly English pop idiom, inspiring generations of songwriters from David Bowie to Jarvis Cocker and Damon Albarn. Pocked by sibling rivalry, furious on-stage violence, walkouts, overdoses, a career-throttling ban from the US, gross self-indulgence, and the band's curious rebirth as Eighties stadium rockers, the story laid bare in God Save The Kinks is one of the greatest in British pop history.


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In August 1964 The Kinks released their third single. After a little noticed debut and a follow-up that had failed to chart at all, Pye Records were threatening to annul the group’s contract. But with its unforgettable distorted guitar riff, 'You Really Got Me’ went on to reach No.1, entering the US Top Ten later the same year. Followed by a string of hits, it marked the b In August 1964 The Kinks released their third single. After a little noticed debut and a follow-up that had failed to chart at all, Pye Records were threatening to annul the group’s contract. But with its unforgettable distorted guitar riff, 'You Really Got Me’ went on to reach No.1, entering the US Top Ten later the same year. Followed by a string of hits, it marked the breakthrough of one of Britain’s most innovative and influential bands, and a turning point in the fortunes of two brothers whose troubled story is as tumultuous and characterful as the music they produced: Ray and Dave Davies. Born into a deeply musical working-class family in London’s Muswell Hill, Ray and Dave grew up in a city recovering from the bombs and privations of the Second World War, and, more than any other musicians of the Sixties, they crafted the soundtrack that made it swing again. In songs such as ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion’, ‘Sunny Afternoon’ – which toppled The Beatles to become the hit of Summer 1966 – ‘Waterloo Sunset’, ‘Days’ and ‘Lola’, they drew on music hall, folk and rhythm and blues to craft a peculiarly English pop idiom, inspiring generations of songwriters from David Bowie to Jarvis Cocker and Damon Albarn. Pocked by sibling rivalry, furious on-stage violence, walkouts, overdoses, a career-throttling ban from the US, gross self-indulgence, and the band's curious rebirth as Eighties stadium rockers, the story laid bare in God Save The Kinks is one of the greatest in British pop history.

30 review for God Save the Kinks: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex Wilson

    I absolutely love The Kinks, and this book covered a lot of the well-documented issues the band have faced over the years as well as a few lesser known nuggets about the session players and the tours. Some of the tales did get a bit repetitive and formulaic towards the end, but this is a great read for both the avid Kinks fan and newbies to the Village Green Preservation Society.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    The author has done a lot of homework but I wish he were a better writer. Too often this sounds like it's being transcribed from a notebook. I also noticed a couple of errors, in particular the 1967 reference regarding Revolver. Overall though, this told me more about the Kinks than I've ever known. The author has done a lot of homework but I wish he were a better writer. Too often this sounds like it's being transcribed from a notebook. I also noticed a couple of errors, in particular the 1967 reference regarding Revolver. Overall though, this told me more about the Kinks than I've ever known.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    It does a good job of telling the Kinks dramatic rise and breakdown with facts but doesn't do a good job of hooking the reader. A good history book transports you to the past but this one didn't really do that well. It does a good job of telling the Kinks dramatic rise and breakdown with facts but doesn't do a good job of hooking the reader. A good history book transports you to the past but this one didn't really do that well.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Peter

    I always liked the Kinks (and The Lovin' Spoonful) when it seemed de rigueur to like Cream, but oddly I sort of lost touch with everything at university. I recently got hold of a compilation - The Kinks: The Anthology 1964-1971 - and discovered how much I'd missed even then. 'God Save the Kinks' showed me how much more had passed me by. I think I expected rather more from this 'biography' than the chronicle it effectively is. Certainly there's a lot about the Davies brothers, as you'd expect, but I always liked the Kinks (and The Lovin' Spoonful) when it seemed de rigueur to like Cream, but oddly I sort of lost touch with everything at university. I recently got hold of a compilation - The Kinks: The Anthology 1964-1971 - and discovered how much I'd missed even then. 'God Save the Kinks' showed me how much more had passed me by. I think I expected rather more from this 'biography' than the chronicle it effectively is. Certainly there's a lot about the Davies brothers, as you'd expect, but in the end there's not much more to it than a detailed chronology of their careers with some details about their private lives and those of their associates thrown in. Nevertheless, the details that are there paint a pretty good picture of people who can't be said not to have lived life to the full. I was particularly taken by Dave Davies' interest in the occult and the 'spiritual' side of life, and was astounded by Ray's prolific songwriting. But I also felt that a lot of other people had fallen by the brothers' waysides, and there were personal tragedies in there which I'd perhaps, had I been the biographer, have been tempted to be more judgmental about. But that may be a thing for the future. The discography is very helpful. I know what to look out for now. And the biography hasn't made me any less appreciative of the music.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul Brown

    I've been a fan of The Kinks since going through a Mod phase as a teenager after the fall of Brit Pop and not knowing much about them outside the greatest hits compilations this book seemed ideal. Now if you're just after the facts delivered clean, clear and concisely this is an entertaining read however if you want the tale told with raw, rock and roll verbal energy Jovanovic is not the author for you. To say the author is meant to be a Kinks fanatic I found his prose unenthusiastic to say the l I've been a fan of The Kinks since going through a Mod phase as a teenager after the fall of Brit Pop and not knowing much about them outside the greatest hits compilations this book seemed ideal. Now if you're just after the facts delivered clean, clear and concisely this is an entertaining read however if you want the tale told with raw, rock and roll verbal energy Jovanovic is not the author for you. To say the author is meant to be a Kinks fanatic I found his prose unenthusiastic to say the least and he was almost cautious about proclaiming Ray Davies and Co were better than the Stones or The Beatles. My God if you're a Kinks fan writing a book on the subject is there any better a time to bang the drum for the band? Cold, sterile delivery aside this book is also just a round up of previously released interviews so don't expect much new under the sun here. So in conclusion this is an adequate potted history of the Kinks and it succeeds in the sense I'll seek out the band's back catalogue and the Davies brother's respective autobiographies but I can't say I'll be in a rush to seek out further reading by Jovanovic.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Peter O'Connor

    What an odd and wonderful band the Kinks were. Grounded for the best part of the British Invasion of the USA in the sixties, the Kinks hunkered down in London and concentrated on writing about life in old Blighty, becoming the quintessential musical voice on the subject. Oddly enough, they became somewhat ignored in the homeland around the advent of punk and into the eighties but built up a strong following in the US long after the invasion was over. The tale spans a lot of years and a hell of a What an odd and wonderful band the Kinks were. Grounded for the best part of the British Invasion of the USA in the sixties, the Kinks hunkered down in London and concentrated on writing about life in old Blighty, becoming the quintessential musical voice on the subject. Oddly enough, they became somewhat ignored in the homeland around the advent of punk and into the eighties but built up a strong following in the US long after the invasion was over. The tale spans a lot of years and a hell of a lot happens with the Davies boys at each others throats, booze, drugs, mental illness, a love hate love hate love affair with the snippy English music press and a revolving door of band and management. If you are a fan of the Kinks, this read gives you a nice overview of the big picture and even for those that only know the hits, moves along at a nice enough pace to keep you on the hook.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I am a Kinks fan and have a bunch of their records but never knew a lot about them. This book was informative but a bit lacklustre. I now have a lot more respect for and sympathy with the band members. However, I am a fan of their much derided concept albums - Soap Opera, the Preservations, Schoolboys in Disgrace - and am a bit sick of the way that every critic follows each other in panning these albums. As far as I can see they were a genuine attempt to do something original rather than just se I am a Kinks fan and have a bunch of their records but never knew a lot about them. This book was informative but a bit lacklustre. I now have a lot more respect for and sympathy with the band members. However, I am a fan of their much derided concept albums - Soap Opera, the Preservations, Schoolboys in Disgrace - and am a bit sick of the way that every critic follows each other in panning these albums. As far as I can see they were a genuine attempt to do something original rather than just seeking chart success. I like them anyway. Summary of the book - topic is great, information is well presented, but writing a bit underwhelming.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm

    For Kinks fans only. Mostly a compilation of quotes from album reviews, quotes from interviews of band members and interviews with minor figures. I don't feel I gained much insight into the famous battles between Dave and Ray Davies. I gather Ray was more volatile and sometimes violent than was apparent to the fan base. A lot of the book deals with the Kinks being banned from playing in the US in the late sixties but doesn't reveal how or why that happened. Glad to know there was an actual perso For Kinks fans only. Mostly a compilation of quotes from album reviews, quotes from interviews of band members and interviews with minor figures. I don't feel I gained much insight into the famous battles between Dave and Ray Davies. I gather Ray was more volatile and sometimes violent than was apparent to the fan base. A lot of the book deals with the Kinks being banned from playing in the US in the late sixties but doesn't reveal how or why that happened. Glad to know there was an actual person named "David Watts" that the song referred to. And that many of the songs refer to actual events in the Davies family.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    The Kinks were one of my favourite groups of the 60s. The first vinyl LP I owned was Well Respected Kinks - a Xmas gift from my brother. I loved reading more about them. I knew Ray and Dave had a volatile relationship, but the book really surprised me with all the fallouts. I did not know that they had been banned from the USA. Ray was a song writing genius. I listened to their "Best Of" CD while I read the book. The Kinks were one of my favourite groups of the 60s. The first vinyl LP I owned was Well Respected Kinks - a Xmas gift from my brother. I loved reading more about them. I knew Ray and Dave had a volatile relationship, but the book really surprised me with all the fallouts. I did not know that they had been banned from the USA. Ray was a song writing genius. I listened to their "Best Of" CD while I read the book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    Great kronicle of one of the best and most British of the "British Invasion" bands that never seemed to quite get the success and recognition they deserved but nonetheless made excellent music through the 1990s. Great kronicle of one of the best and most British of the "British Invasion" bands that never seemed to quite get the success and recognition they deserved but nonetheless made excellent music through the 1990s.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rich Saskal

    Workman like recapitulation of this band's career. Contains many details without really touching what makes the Kinks' music so magic. That spirit is far better captured in the liner notes of The Kink Chronicles. Or just by playing the songs. Workman like recapitulation of this band's career. Contains many details without really touching what makes the Kinks' music so magic. That spirit is far better captured in the liner notes of The Kink Chronicles. Or just by playing the songs.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michael Marshall

    Very fun and enlightening biography of the Kinks. It’s particularly good on all the material they recorded after their 60s heyday, which as a Brit I’m barely aware of, and on the group’s dysfunctional relationships.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Daltrey

    I loved this book and now want to read Ray and Dave Davies' books. The stories from the road were great! I loved this book and now want to read Ray and Dave Davies' books. The stories from the road were great!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Love the Kinks. But didn't love this book. Love the Kinks. But didn't love this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    A

    Garden variety bio of the Kinks. Does share some unattractive Ray Davies characteristics.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brian O'Leary

    This book mirror's The Kinks career; too much repetitive drivel, with the occasional high quality moment. This book mirror's The Kinks career; too much repetitive drivel, with the occasional high quality moment.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    A Bizarre History of Rock n' Roll and one of the greatest British bands of all time. A Bizarre History of Rock n' Roll and one of the greatest British bands of all time.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lukas Evan

    “But I don’t need no friends. As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset I am in paradise.”

  19. 4 out of 5

    DrimbleWedge

    Not a bad read. Ray Davies seems like a dick, but most geniuses are.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shelly Itkin

    If you enjoy Rock and Roll heritage from a British point of you then this book will grab your attention. The Kinks were a band that had released two records that seemed to go nowhere until August 1964 when their last chance at making it put them on the charts with their now famous record “You Really Got Me” which not only went on to number one in Britain, but which introduced Ray and Dave Davies and the other members of the band to the United States by reaching the top ten in the same year. Mr. J If you enjoy Rock and Roll heritage from a British point of you then this book will grab your attention. The Kinks were a band that had released two records that seemed to go nowhere until August 1964 when their last chance at making it put them on the charts with their now famous record “You Really Got Me” which not only went on to number one in Britain, but which introduced Ray and Dave Davies and the other members of the band to the United States by reaching the top ten in the same year. Mr. Jovanovic did lots of research speaking to former band members, their producer, bassist and keyboardist and opens up some deep secrets about the ban. You learn of sibling rivalry, on stage violence, overdoes and a very unsettling account of the July day in 1973 when Ray’s wife takes their two daughters and leaves him. Most of you might not of heard of this group, if you are not a “baby boomer,” but there is much to learn about the history at this time and how the group conducted itself. It is a hard life on the road and being in competition with other British groups but it is not one of those happily ever stories. The Kinks struggled with many problems so much so that is why they were even banned from returning to the United States. If you enjoy reminiscing about the sixties you will enjoy this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Diskojoe

    Although this book gave some new insights, I have to dock a star or two because of several factual errors. One of those errors was stating that the Beatles never toured Australia, which they did prior to the Kinks in 1964. Another error was stating that Ray reviewed the Beatles album Revolver for an English music paper in August 1967, instead of 1966. There were also several errors involving chart placements of several singles, i.e., "See My Friends" never made the US charts. I was surprised abo Although this book gave some new insights, I have to dock a star or two because of several factual errors. One of those errors was stating that the Beatles never toured Australia, which they did prior to the Kinks in 1964. Another error was stating that Ray reviewed the Beatles album Revolver for an English music paper in August 1967, instead of 1966. There were also several errors involving chart placements of several singles, i.e., "See My Friends" never made the US charts. I was surprised about these errors & fell that it distracted from the rest of the book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dan Lalande

    A busy chronology of The Kinks, the '60's most underrated band. It's the lurid tale of the Davies', two talented, egotistical, idiosyncratic brothers with a powder keg relationship and those (band mates, wives, etc.) who valiantly tolerated them. Neither Ray nor Dave Davies collaborated with the author, though, so it's more cut-and-paste than kink-and-tell. A busy chronology of The Kinks, the '60's most underrated band. It's the lurid tale of the Davies', two talented, egotistical, idiosyncratic brothers with a powder keg relationship and those (band mates, wives, etc.) who valiantly tolerated them. Neither Ray nor Dave Davies collaborated with the author, though, so it's more cut-and-paste than kink-and-tell.

  23. 4 out of 5

    C.J. Ruby

    Didn't realize how relevant the Kinks were/are. I'd forgot that they sang 'Lola,' remember my dad and his friends laughing about that song when I was a kid and didn't know what it was about. Great group. Being banned from touring in America surely kept them from becoming juggernauts of rock like the Beatles and the Stones. Didn't realize how relevant the Kinks were/are. I'd forgot that they sang 'Lola,' remember my dad and his friends laughing about that song when I was a kid and didn't know what it was about. Great group. Being banned from touring in America surely kept them from becoming juggernauts of rock like the Beatles and the Stones.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Ugh. My ergonomic keyboard quit so I am forced to use a regular keyboard. And even though I only type with three fingers I can say that this has screwed up my life beyond measure. Thus, no book rview. Ugh. See what I mean? I am not going back to fix that typo.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gary Fowles

    Hmm. Neither a great nor a bad bio of The Kinks. Starts off full of good intentions, but really peters out towards the end as if the author had lost interest in his own book. Worth a glance if you are a fan but no nothing about the group.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Best book on the Kinks I've read so far, but still gives short shrift to the 70s and 80s part of the band's story. Would have liked to see the same amount of detail lavished on the 60s extended to the rest of the book. Still a much needed contribution to rock biography. Best book on the Kinks I've read so far, but still gives short shrift to the 70s and 80s part of the band's story. Would have liked to see the same amount of detail lavished on the 60s extended to the rest of the book. Still a much needed contribution to rock biography.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Drew

    My full and detailed review can be found on my website: http://rnrchemist.blogspot.com/2013/1... My full and detailed review can be found on my website: http://rnrchemist.blogspot.com/2013/1...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    Great bio of a highly underrated rock powerhouse.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ross Whamond

    An interesting insight into the Kinks and the music industry and London.And the affect of sibling rivalries

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

    The Kinks deserve better than this rather insipid collection of 'facts', I'll look for another book - 'coz they're not like everybody else! The Kinks deserve better than this rather insipid collection of 'facts', I'll look for another book - 'coz they're not like everybody else!

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