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The 2 covers of The Kinks songs that Ray Davies said he likes

Ray Davies


The 2 covers of The Kinks songs that Ray Davies said he likes

Formed in London, England in 1963, The Kinks are one of the most important bands of all time, which were fundamental especially in the 60s during the so-called “British Invasion”. Famously led by the brothers Ray Davies and Dave Davies, the band had five top 10 singles on the United States Billboard hot 100 and sold an estimated amount of more than 50 million records worldwide.


But those numbers really don’t represent the impact of the inspiration they were to other artists. Over the years many famous musicians listed The Kinks and Ray Davies’ songwriting as a huge influence and some of them were Pete Townshend and David Gilmour.

They were covered by other artists multiple times over the decades and in an interview with Jools Holland (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Ray Davies revealed which are some of his favorite versions of his songs.

The 2 covers of The Kinks songs that Ray Davies said he likes

Van Halen “You Really Got Me” (1978)

“‘You Really Got Me’ started Van Halen‘s career for better or worse. So it’s people who bring something of their own to it. I think that shows that writing can be definitive but leave enough space for interpretation,” Ray Davies said.

Although Van Halen’s debut album had many other famous songs like “Eruption”, “Runnin’ With The Devil” and “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”, their Kinks cover really was a big hit.

Curiously, as Ray Davies recalled in an interview with Classic Rock in 2010, there were people who would approach them and ask why they were “covering a Van Halen song” in their concerts. So at the time, he showed that he actually had mixed emotions toward that version.

“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’!’ There’s the thing: good art isn’t always about having the comfiest technique. I shouldn’t encourage him. But I’m sure Eddie Van Halen played better when he was drunk. But it must be a good record if people like it.”

He continued:

“We got pissed off though, when we played America. The Kinks had an album out called ‘Low Budget’ (1979). We ended up touring and playing stadiums. Some kid came up to me after one of the gigs. (He) said: ‘I like your cover of Van Halen’s ‘You Really Got Me.’ You have to smile sometimes,” Ray Davies said.

The Pretenders “Stop Your Sobbing”

“I like The Pretenders ‘Stop Your Sobbing’, that was great,” Ray Davies said. Written by Ray Davies, the track was first featured on The Kinks self-titled debut studio album released in 1964. Then it was covered by The Pretenders 15 years later on their self-titled debut record released in 1979.

Davies and the band’s guitarist/vocalist Chrissie Hynde curiously dated each other in the early 80s. In an interview featured on the 2015 album “Jive in UK” (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Davies praised the track too.

“I like the Pretenders version of it. I was living with the singer at the time. (So) I heard the backtrack and I think it was hard to make comments on it. It was a girl singing, by the way. (…) It wasn’t her version, it was the guitarist Jim Scott, who was a big influence to the band, was involved in a lot of the arrangements in that band. It’s good to do a cover and put something of your own in it. That was a nice cover,” Ray Davies said.

Besides that cover, the album had other famous tracks like “Precious”, “Kid”, “Private Life” and “Brass In Pocket”. At the time the band was formed by Chrissie Hynde, Martin Chambers, Pete Farndon and James Honeyman-Scott.


During the interview with Jools Holland the songwriter Ray Davies did mention another cover. “I like them all. There’s a great version by a French singer of ‘I’m Not Like Everybody Else’ (which appeared) a few years ago in a movie, a Tim Burton movie. I like the covers that bring some of their own to it rather than just copy it,” Ray Davies said.

But we really couldn’t find anything that shows that a version for that song was really featured in a Tim Burton movie neither we were able to find a French version for that song.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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