In terms of influence upon the acts we know and love today, The Kinks are up there with the biggest. The north London outfit had huge success in the ’60s, mainly due to the astonishing run of singles they put out; a bunch of socially observant, hook-infested gems written by Ray Davies that the likes of Johnny Borrell and Damon Albarn openly admit they took their inspiration from. And they had a pair of warring brothers in the band – remind you of anyone?
This lavishly packaged overview of the band’s eventful career (drugs, fist fights, mismanagement, the lot) is well worth investing in. ‘Picture Book’ rounds up all the classic tracks (the proto-punk ‘You Really Got Me’, the divine ‘Waterloo Sunset’) but also finds space for overlooked diamonds. Most writers would kill to pen a song as good as ‘She’s Got Everything’– Davies tossed it away as the B-side to ‘Days’ in 1968.
Things take a downturn with Disc Four. It’s fair to say The Kinks’ appeal became more ‘selective’ in the late ’70s and early ’80s, although curiously it was around this time that they started filling American stadiums. It was when Davies’ writing became less parochial that it began to lose its power. But those first 10 years – wow. Pop music doesn’t get much better.