You Really Got Me single label

Let Dave Davies have his legacy

Tag Archive: Dave Davies, Kinks

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Dave Davies was the lead guitarist for The Kinks and as the sole holder of that job he was tasked with playing lead guitar for The Kinks. It doesn’t get much simpler than that fact.

But for as long as there have been The Kinks, there has been a rumor that Jimmy Page was responsible for the thrilling guitar work on the band’s first major hit, You Really Got Me. Even as recently as February, 2024 — just six months shy of the song’s 60th anniversary — rumors were published in Guitar World magazine claiming again that Jimmy Page was the man behind the iconic sound.

To their credit, Guitar World does acknowledge that Dave Davies and Jimmy Page both dispute this claim but that didn’t stop them from publishing the story the centers around the story of a studio worker who just seems to remember Jimmy playing on that track 60 years ago. It turns out, though, that even that story was a misquote as Dave himself would contact the “source” and straighten things out.

But why, after all of these years, does this rumor persist? How many people who were actually in the room need to discredit the rumor before it sticks? And why does Jimmy Page need this extra credit on his resume? He was in the celebrated Yardbirds, went on to lead one of the most popular and enduring rock acts of all time, and is considered a guitar god by every publication ever published. He doesn’t need more acclaim. On the other hand, Dave Davies singlehandedly changed the sound and attitude of rock music forever and people insist on taking that away from him. It’s right up there with the famous John Lennon quote of “Ringo wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles” which he never actually said. It’s just a rumor to diminish an immensely talented performer.

Part of the issue may stem from the fact that there was a session player on the You Really Got Me track as Bobby Graham was brought in to play drums and Kinks’ drummer Mick Avory was relegated to tambourine (a crime in and of itself no matter how good Graham was) and part of the issue may steam from the fact that Jimmy Page did in fact play on some Kinks records from that period as he was an accomplished session man prior to becoming a household name. Page, who played on many tracks produced by Shel Talmy, is believed to have played 12 string guitar on I’m a Lover Not a Fighter and may have contributed rhythm guitar parts for other tracks on the band’s first LP but live footage from the era (if Page and Davies’ accounts aren’t enough proof for you) clearly show that the guitar solo on that record was right in Dave’s wheelhouse and should eliminate any doubt.

Page did, in fact, play the guitar solo on a cover of You Really Got Me released in 1965 by the Larry Page Orchestra. Larry Page, one of The Kinks’ managers at the time, arranged an instrumental cover album of early Kinks tunes for which Jimmy Page and future Led Zeppelin partner John Paul Jones performed. A few years later, Ray would immortalize Larry Page in the song Moneygoround as the one “who adored my instrumentals”.

So maybe there’s a reasonable excuse as to why this rumor persists or why this rumor seems to have more people with a memory of Jimmy being there as there are fewer people to discredit the claim. But, thankfully, Dave and Jimmy are still around as the ultimate harbingers of truth on this matter and the truth continues to be that Dave Davies is responsible for changing rock music forever and his place on the Mount Rushmore of guitarists should never be put into question. As the man said, “how can you believe when you don’t understand?”

You Really Got Me is, in my view, one of the five most important songs in rock history with a shadow that extends over several generations of guitar players and rock bands. If it were the only contribution to music made by the brothers Davies, they would still warrant inclusion in the Hall of Fame but the fact that it was the launching pad for a brilliant 30 year recording career is somewhat mind-boggling. An argument could be made that the guitar solo on this track, not to mention the guitar tone of the main riff, helped pave the way for Jimmy Page’s later successes and that Page himself would never have turned in such a performance in 1964. So give Dave his due. Put this to rest. There’s enough clickbait on the internet that we don’t need any more articles about how Page played on this song or that Paul is dead or that Dark Side of the Moon goes with the Wizard of Oz. Consider this debate closed as there is no real room or reason to debate it in the first place and to you, my loyal reader, don’t click on those articles when you see them. Take that time to go listen to one of the hundreds of fantastic songs in the Kinks, Ray Davies, and Dave Davies catalogs! And Dave, if you’re reading this, check your DMs on Twitter!

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