Why have I taken so long to write something about The Kinks?
Maybe that’s my pattern. I noticed them during the first British Invasion, of course. And they seemed to hold their own during the transition from rock ‘n’ roll to psychedelic. I remember playing Well Respected Man in my band when I was in Grade 8.
But then they got pushed aside during the second invasion, displaced by the likes of Cream, Zeppelin, Hendrix and Deep Purple. Yes, I know Hendrix was American, but he arrived from England, didn’t he?
Like so many others, The Kinks just didn’t register on the new hard rock scale. After Lola, they were gone and forgotten.
Ah, but they weren’t gone. While everyone was dicking around with Prog Rock and Metal and Disco, they were out there, staying (mostly) true to their rock ‘ n’ roll roots. And somewhere in the late-ish 70’s, when Punk had said “enough!” and radio stations began giving airtime to the likes of Steve Miller, Linda Ronstadt and Tom Petty, The Kinks resurfaced.
And, longing as I was for something less pompous and silly. I finally, really noticed them. A string of great albums, beginning with Misfits, helped them ride the New Wave well into the 80’s when, along with rock ‘n’ roll, they faded again. Having finally become a fan, I hoped they might resurface one more time during the all-too-brief Garage Band thing in the early 90’s, but to no avail. That wish turned out to be a rock & roll fantasy.
Now they’re gone, un-rescued by the local village green preservation societies. Maybe that’s a good thing, ‘cause at least we’re being spared one more fossilized group out on tour. I dunno.
Listen: I know I’m doing some revisionist history here, suggesting The Kinks were fabulous from start to finish. They disappeared from most of our radars in the late 60’s and early 70’s because their dabbling in the emerging styles was unsuccessful. But when they went back to what they did well, they gave us a big batch of terrific music.
They may have been surpassed by others in terms of both impact and longevity, but there are times when I could listen to their music all day and all of the night.