The Kinks are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most important and influential rock bands of the 1960s. The band emerged during the height of British rhythm and blues and Merseybeat, and were briefly part of the British Invasion of the United States until their touring ban in 1965. Their third single, the Ray Davies-penned "You Really Got Me", became an international hit, topping the charts in the United Kingdom and reaching the Top 10 in the United States. Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres, including rhythm and blues, British music hall, folk and country. They gained a reputation for reflecting English culture and lifestyle, fuelled by Ray Davies' observational writing style, and are considered one of the most influential groups of the period.
Early works included albums such as Face to Face (1966), Something Else (1967), The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968), Arthur (1969), Lola Versus Powerman (1970), Muswell Hillbillies (1971), along with their accompanying singles. After a fallow period in the mid-1970s, the band experienced a revival during the late 1970s and early 1980s with their albums Sleepwalker (1977), Misfits (1978), Low Budget (1979), Give the People What They Want (1981) and State of Confusion (1983). In addition, groups such as Van Halen, the Jam, the Knack, the Pretenders and the Fall covered their songs, helping to boost the Kinks' record sales. In the 1990s, Britpop acts such as Blur and Oasis cited the band as a major influence.
Ray Davies (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Dave Davies (lead guitar, vocals) remained members throughout the band's 32-year run. Longest-serving member Mick Avory (drums and percussion) was replaced by Bob Henrit, formerly of Argent, in 1984. Original bass guitarist Pete Quaife was replaced by John Dalton in 1969, and Dalton was in turn replaced by Jim Rodford in 1978. Session keyboardist Nicky Hopkins accompanied the band in the studio for many of their recordings in the mid-to-late 1960s. In 1969 the band became an official five-piece when keyboardist John Gosling joined them, being replaced by Ian Gibbons in 1979, who remained in the band until they broke up in 1996; a result of the commercial failures of their last few albums and creative tension between the Davies brothers. In 2018, Ray Davies and Dave Davies said they are working with Mick Avory on a new Kinks album.
The Kinks have had five Top 10 singles on the US Billboard chart. Nine of their albums charted in the Top 40. In the UK, The Kinks have had seventeen Top 20 singles and five Top 10 albums. Four of their albums have been certified gold by the RIAA and have sold over 50 million records worldwide. Among numerous honours, they received the Ivor Novello Award for "Outstanding Service to British Music". In 1990, the original four members of The Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the UK Music Hall of Fame in November 2005.
In a June 2018 interview, Ray Davies stated that he, along with brother Dave, and drummer Avory, had reformed The Kinks for a new studio album and to potentially perform live.
The Davies brothers were born in suburban North London on Huntingdon Road, East Finchley, the youngest, and only boys, among their family's eight children. Their parents, Frederick and Annie Davies, moved the family to 6 Denmark Terrace, Fortis Green, in the neighbouring suburb of Muswell Hill. At home they were immersed in a world of varied musical styles, from the music hall of their parents' generation to the jazz and early rock and roll that their older sisters enjoyed. Both Ray and his brother Dave, younger by almost three years, learned to play guitar, and they played skiffle and rock and roll together.
The brothers attended William Grimshaw Secondary Modern School (later merged with Tollington Grammar School to become Fortismere School), where they formed a band, the Ray Davies Quartet, with Ray's friend and classmate Pete Quaife and Quaife's friend John Start. Their debut at a school dance was well received, which encouraged the group to play at local pubs and bars. The band went through a series of lead vocalists, including Rod Stewart, another student at William Grimshaw, who performed with the group at least once in early 1962. He then formed his own group, Rod Stewart and the Moonrakers, which became a local rival to the Ray Davies Quartet.