Album Reviews

The Kinks – Essential Kinks

Artist:     The Kinks

Album:     Essential Kinks

Label:     Legacy

Release Date:     10/14/2014

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Columbia/Legacy has released a 2-disc, 48 track collection of the best of the Kinks. It is everything, and perhaps more, that you could want of this seminal rock ‘n’ roll group.

In 1964, the British Invasion of American music was well under way. The Kinks released one of the most important and influential singles of the entire assault, “You Really Got Me.” It was unlike anything else at the time: raw, unpolished, and featuring a stinging blood-letting guitar break, it pointed directly forward to psychedelic rock, garage rock, punk rock. The Kinks had landed with an explosion and followed up with a string a great singles: “All Day and All of the Night,” “Tired of Waiting for You,” and “A Well Respected Man.”

As the ’60s moved forward, so did the Kinks, improving their musicianship while Ray Davies expanded and perfected his songwriting. The new Kinks brought us such small masterpieces as “Sunny Afternoon,” “Dead End Street,” “Autumn Almanac,” and “Waterloo Sunset,” perhaps Ray Davies’ crowning achievement. Their influence was heard everywhere, especially in the Who.

The notoriously feuding Kinks rolled into the ’70s and left behind such memorable recordings as “Victoria,” “Apeman,” the hugely popular “Superman” and the infamous “Lola.” The band managed to hang together until 1996, having forged a career much longer and richer than most.

Today, the Kinks are firmly ensconced in the highest echelons of rock ‘n’ roll history. Their work, especially the early singles, continues to resonate and inspire a generation of new listeners. It is a legacy well-deserved preserved on this truly essential release.

– Robert Myers

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