Kinks Ray Davies Breaks Silence on Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me.”
The Kinks were an English rock band formed in London by two brothers, Ray and Dave Davies. They are known as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s. Part of a British invasion included the Beatles and Rolling Stones.
The original writers of “You Really Got Me” in 1965 reached the top 10 in the United States. So, after 57 years, we finally get an answer to a sought-after question. What does Ray Davies think of the cover of their hit song covered by Van Halen?
I wondered myself after many years of being a Kinks fan of the song, “All Day and All of the Night.” I loved the crunch of the guitar riff coming even through an AM transistor radio. Van Halen’s debut came out in the cold winter of 1978. Remember the biggest storm your parents and grandparents keep talking about. My friend introduces me to the album. The first drop of the needle was the song, “Eruption.” I asked my friend John if the record was on the wrong speed and no one plays that fast. Then at the end of “Eruption,” the slow fade into the next song. “You Really Got Me,” came on loud, and I couldn’t believe my ears that they made the Kinks cover great again. I loved it!
Years went by, and I always wondered, what did the Kinks think of Van Halen and their version of their hit record? The Kinks hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts as Van Halen’s cover of the song only reached #36. His brother Dave Davies said of Van Halen’s version, “This sounds really flashy.” As for Ray Davies, I finally got my answer after all these years. Ray said,” Van Halen’s version was very Middle America. It was like, ‘Hey man, look at me with my tight trousers! Here’s our version of ‘You Really Got Me’! Truthfully I love both versions and can listen to both over and over again. When it comes to cover songs it has to rank up to my top 5 favorites. Hmm, I think I see the best cover list coming soon.