You Really Got Me
The Kinks
Kinks 1964 You Really Got Me 45
Girl, you really got me going
You got me so I don`t
Know what I`m doing
1964
7
Year
Peak Chart Position
  • peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1964
  • No. 1 on the UK Singles charts in 1964
  • from The Kinks' debut album, Kinks (1964)
  • the song was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • ranks #80 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2010 list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • the first single to chart for The Kinks and the group's first Top-10 hit
  • the distortion sound of the guitar track was created by 17 year old Kinks guitarist Dave Davies when he sliced the speaker cone of his guitar amplifier with a razor blade - Davies: “I was alone at home in the front room of 6 Denmark Terrace in Muswell Hill North London when I got angry because I was upset about being separated from my girlfriend. I slashed the speaker cone with a razor blade in a fit of rage."
  • Jon Lord, who would join Deep Purple four years later, played keyboards on the session
  • Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead: "That is arguably the first punk song, cause that riff, it sticks in your head"
  • Glenn Hughes (bassist/vocalist for Deep Purple and Black Sabbath): "The first dirty guitar I ever heard was 'You Really Got Me.' It was so demonic! It made moms and dads go 'Turn it off, it's evil!'"
  • the first of five Top-10 singles charted on the Hot 100 by The Kinks
  • The Kinks:
         Ray Davies - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica, keyboards
         Dave Davies - lead guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals
         Pete Quaife - bass guitar, backing vocals
         Mick Avory - drums, tambourine
  • written by Ray Davies - he wrote this guitar-riff driven song on the piano in his parents living room - it was one of the very first songs he had written
  • Ray Davies: "I was about 15 and trying to write some songs. The first was called ‘Tired Of Waiting For You,' which is kind of a riff-driven thing, and then I wrote a more aggressive version of that, which became ‘You Really Got Me.'  We'd tried ‘You Really Got Me' out on stage six months before we recorded it, and we knew we had something really special because of the way it went down live. It was the only song, really, that stopped the Beatles fans chanting when we opened for them in Bournemouth. It's a very simple melody, almost a Gregorian chant. The way we played it was so magnetic. It wasn't a virtuoso track, it was a basic riff, with a melody popping over the top and a crucial key change that was different for its time. The sound of the guitar was almost as loud as the sound of the vocals, which was unknown for records, and still is, really. The riff was all-important, and the chanting was almost primal, so in retrospect, it was the start of hard rock."
  • You Really Got Me’ was inspired by Jimmy Giuffre’s 1957 single ‘The Train and the River‘ - Dave Davies: "You Really Got Me" didn’t just fall out of the sky. Ray was messing around on the piano in the front room at home, inspired by this song, and came up with the two-note riff to "You Really Got Me," which I played on guitar. I wanted it to be a jazz‑type tune, because that’s what I liked at the time.”  Ray Davies comments: “It’s written originally around a sax line. Dave ended up playing the sax line in fuzz guitar and it took the song a step further. … I wanted it to be a blues song, like a Leadbelly or a (Big Bill) Broonzy song. But because I was a white kid from North London, I put in certain musical shifts that made it unique to what I did.”
  • recorded at IBC Studios, London, England
  • produced by Shel Talmy; Talmy: “On ‘You Really Got Me,’ I recorded the guitar on two channels, one distorting and the other not. The combination makes the sound seem louder. We’d even kick Dave’s amp as we walked past, to make it sound rougher. I used 12 microphones to record the drums — which was unheard of then — so they’d sound like they were bouncing off the walls.”
  • Reprise Records label
  • Van Halen covered "You Really Got Me" for their first charted single - it peaked at No. 36 in 1978; in live performances the Kinks' Ray Davies has tongue-in-cheek introduced ‘You Really Got Me’ as a song that was made famous by Van Halen
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