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"You Really Got Me"
Single by The Kinks
from the album Kinks
B-side "It's All Right"
Released 4 August 1964
26 August 1964 (USA)
Format 7" single
Recorded July 1964, IBC Studios, London, England
Genre Hard rock,[1] garage rock[2]
Length 2:14
Label Pye 7N 15673
Reprise 0306
Writer(s) Ray Davies
Producer(s) Shel Talmy
The Kinks singles chronology
"You Still Want Me"
"You Really Got Me"
"All Day and All of the Night"
Audio sample
file info · help

"You Really Got Me" is a song written by Ray Davies and performed by The Kinks. It was released on 4 August 1964 as the group's third single, and reached No. 1 on the UK singles chart the next month, remaining for two weeks.[3] It was the group's breakthrough hit; it established them as one of the top British Invasion acts in the United States, reaching No. 7 there later in the year.[4] It was later included on the Kinks' debut album, Kinks.

"You Really Got Me" was an early hit song built around power chords (perfect fifths and octaves),[5] and heavily influenced later rock musicians, particularly in the sub-genres heavy metal and punk rock.[2] American musicologist Robert Walser wrote that it is "the first hit song built around power chords"[5] while critic Denise Sullivan of Allmusic writes, "'You Really Got Me' remains a blueprint song in the hard rock and heavy metal arsenal."[6]

In 1999, "You Really Got Me" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[7] Rolling Stone magazine placed the song at No. 82 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time and at No. 4 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.[8] In early 2005, the song was voted the best British song of the 1955–1965 decade in a BBC radio poll. In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at No. 9 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.[9] In 2009, it was named the 57th Greatest Hard Rock Song by VH1.[10]


The song was recorded by the Kinks in a number of styles in the summer of 1964 before the final sound was achieved. The group was under tremendous pressure for a hit from their record company, Pye, after their two previous single releases failed to chart. Ray Davies in particular was stubbornly persistent in forcing the Kinks' management and record company to take the time and money needed to develop the record's landmark sound and style. Davies' efforts on behalf of the career-making song effectively established him as the leader and chief songwriter of the Kinks.[citation needed]

The Kinks' "You Really Got Me" guitar riff. About this sound Play 

The influential distortion sound of the guitar track was created after guitarist Dave Davies sliced the speaker cone of his guitar amplifier with a razor blade and poked it with a pin.[6] The amplifier was affectionately called "little green", after the name of the amplifier made by the Elpico company, and purchased in Davies' neighbourhood music shop, slaved into a Vox AC-30.[11]

The guitar solo on the recording is the source of one of the most controversial and persistent myths in all of rock and roll: that it was not played by the Kinks' lead guitarist Dave Davies, but by then-session player Jimmy Page, who later joined The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. Among those claiming Page played lead guitar was Jon Lord of Deep Purple who also claimed to play piano on the track.[12] Page has always denied playing the song's guitar solo, going so far as to state in a 1970s interview cited in Sound on Sound magazine that "I didn't play on 'You Really Got Me' and that's what pisses him (Ray Davies) off."[13] Rock historian and author Doug Hinman makes a case that the rumour was begun and fostered by the established UK rhythm and blues community, many of whose members were resentful that an upstart band of teenagers such as the Kinks could produce such a powerful and influential blues-based recording, seemingly out of nowhere.[citation needed]

Recent Kinks' releases have given full official credits for the musicians on the track.[14][15] Group members Ray Davies (vocals and rhythm guitar), Dave Davies (lead guitar), Pete Quaife (bass) are joined by session men Bobby Graham (drums), and Arthur Greenslade (piano). Regular Kinks drummer Mick Avory plays the tambourine.

Shel Talmy, the producer on the track, has gone on record and put the controversy to rest in an interview with the blog Finding Zoso: "I mean, Jimmy Page did not play the solo on “You Really Got Me” which I’ve said about 5,000 times to people who insist that he did. The reason I used Jimmy on The Kinks stuff is because Ray didn’t really want to play guitar and sing at the same time. In fact, Jimmy was playing rhythm guitar."[16] Talmy later re-emphasised the point in an interview with The Guardian saying "contrary to myth, Jimmy didn't play on 'You Really Got Me'."[11]

Ray Davies, in his autobiographical release Storyteller (Capitol, ASIN: B00000635E, released 21 April 1998),[17] also addresses the guitar solo on track 28 ("The Third Single"), in which he tells the story of how the Kinks needed to have a hit within their first three singles to maintain their record contract. "You Really Got Me" was their third chance. According to Davies, not only did his brother Dave play the solo, but he also yells "fuck off" to Ray Davies right before the solo starts. Per Ray Davies' recounting of the story:

"Halfway through the song it was time for Dave's guitar solo. This moment had to be right. So I shouted across the studio to Dave, give him encouragement. But I seemed to spoil his concentration. He looked at me with a dazed expression. 'Fuck off.' If you doubt me, if you doubt what I'm saying, I challenge you to listen to the original Kinks recording of 'You Really Got Me'. Halfway through the song, after the second chorus, before the guitar solo, there's a drum break. Boo ka, boo boo ka, boo ka, boo boo. And in the background you can hear 'fuck off'. You can, you can. When I did the vocal I tried to cover it up by going 'Oh no', but in the background you still hear it 'fuck off'. And it's even clearer on CD, it's really embarrassing."[18]

According to Ray Davies, the song's characteristic riff came about while working out the chords of The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie". Though in 1998, he said: "I'd written 'You Really Got Me' as tribute to all those great blues people I love: Leadbelly and Big Bill Broonzy."[18] His brother Dave Davies however has said that song had been inspired by Jimmy Giuffre's song "The Train and the River".[11]

The Kinks' use of distorted guitar riffs continued with songs like "All Day and All of the Night", "Tired of Waiting for You", and "Set Me Free", among others. Pete Townshend of The Who has stated that their first single, "I Can't Explain", was an intentional soundalike of The Kinks' work at the time (The Who were also produced by Talmy at that time).

The Kinks would go on to perform successfully together as a band for over 30 years, through many musical styles, and they would always play "You Really Got Me" in concert. Both Ray and Dave Davies still perform the song in solo shows, generally as a closing number.

Cover versions[edit]

Van Halen version[edit]

"You Really Got Me"
Single by Van Halen
from the album Van Halen
B-side "Atomic Punk"
Released 28 January 1978
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded September–October 1977
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Length 2:35
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Ray Davies
Producer(s) Ted Templeman
Van Halen singles chronology
"You Really Got Me"
"Runnin' with the Devil"

US hard rock band Van Halen recorded About this sound "You Really Got Me"  for their 1978 debut album, Van Halen. It was a popular radio hit which helped jump-start the band's career,[20] as it had done for The Kinks 14 years earlier. The song was used on the soundtrack for the early Ron Howard film Night Shift. On the radio, it has been frequently played together with "Eruption", the instrumental that precedes it on the album.[21] This version was the soundtrack of the celebrated,[22] award-winning[23] 1996 Nissan commercial Toys in which "Nick", driving a toy Nissan 300ZX, entices "Roxanne" out on a date, to "Tad"'s dismay.[24] Mattel sued,[25] but settled.[26] It was also used by Nissan for its Japanese commercials.[27] This version later appeared in the 2003 video game Karaoke Revolution and the 2006 video game Guitar Hero II. The Guitar Hero II version is itself a cover, however, the song was later revisited as a master recording in the Van Halen-themed Guitar Hero game, Guitar Hero: Van Halen.[citation needed]

The Kinks' Dave Davies has gone on record as having a personal dislike of Van Halen's cover of the song and believes "They (Van Halen) would be penniless without The Kinks". He also told of how Kinks fans have approached him and congratulated him on performing a "great cover of the Van Halen song", and how Van Halen fans have approached him to accuse him of "ripping off Van Halen".[28] Ray Davies, on the other hand, liked it.[citation needed]

Use in popular culture[edit]

The 1979 Live recording appears in Electronic Arts Battlefield Vietnam (2004) as a radio choice for vehicles and the loading music for Operation Flaming Dart

The song was played at the end of the Mad Men episode The Other Woman (5th season), as Peggy's expression turned from sadness to a smile and she entered an elevator, having just given her resignation to a stunned Don Draper.

In The Simpsons episode "The Canine Mutiny", Marge Simpson is shown listening to the song on a radio-equipped frying pan.


The Kinks version[edit]

Chart (1964-1965) Peak
Canadian RPM Top Singles[29] 4
France (SNEP)[30] 16
Germany (Media Control AG)[31] 39
Irish Singles Chart[32] 6
Italy (FIMI)[33] 28
UK (Official Charts Company)[3] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 7

Van Halen version[edit]

Year Chart Position
1978 Pop Singles 36
Preceded by
"Have I the Right?" by The Honeycombs
UK number- one single
"You Really Got Me"

10 September 1964 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"I'm into Something Good" by Herman's Hermits
Preceded by
"London Bridge"
by Fergie
RIANZ (New Zealand) number-one single
"You Really Got Me"
(Boyband version)

9 October 2006 (one week)
Succeeded by
"SexyBack" by Justin Timberlake


  1. ^ "The Top Hard Rock Songs". AllMusic. 
  2. ^ a b Creswell, Toby. 1001 Songs, p. 684. (Hardie Grant Publishing). ISBN 1-74066-458-2.
  3. ^ a b "Kinks". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "The Kinks awards on Allmusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Walser, Robert (1993). Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music, p. 9. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 0-8195-6260-2.
  6. ^ a b Sullivan, Denise. "Review of 'You Really Got Me' ". AllMusic.
  7. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame Award" Grammy.org Retrieved 20 December 2012
  8. ^ "The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 25 June 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Greatest Guitar Tracks" 21 March 2005. Ultimate Guitar.
  10. ^ "VH1 Top 100 Hard Rock Songs (list)". Spreadit.org. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c Simpson, Dave (10 June 2013). "How we made You Really Got Me". The Guardian (London). ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Jon Lord's Purple Reign" Joe Lalaina, Modern Keyboard Magazine, January 1989. (Archived at "The Highway Star" Deep Purple Fan site.) Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  13. ^ Buskin, Richard (September 2009). "The Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’ Classic Track". Sound On Sound magazine. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  14. ^ "The Kinks "Picture Book (Box Set)" (2008, Sanctuary Records)". AllMusic.  (booklet)
  15. ^ "The Kinks Deluxe Edition (2011, Sanctuary Records)".  (booklet)
  16. ^ Corbin (22 August 2012). "Interview: Shel Talmy". Finding Zoso. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  17. ^ Storyteller. AllMusic
  18. ^ a b "Ray Davies Lyrics - The Third Single (dialogue)". LyricsTime.com
  19. ^ Video on YouTube
  20. ^ "Van Halen - Inductee 2007". Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
  21. ^ "'You Really Got Me' song facts" Songfacts.com; Songfacts, LLC. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  22. ^ "Best Advertising Of 1996". Bellafante et al., Time. 23 December 1996. Retrieved 29 September 2009
  23. ^ "1997 CLIO Award Winners". CLIO Awards. 1997. Archived from the original on 13 January 1998.  "Toys": Gold, Bronze(2), Television/Cinema category.
  24. ^ "A Car Ad That Floors Viewers". Robert Dominguez, Daily News (New York). 29 October 1996. Retrieved 3 July 2009.
  25. ^ "Mattel Sues Nissan Over TV Commercial". The New York Times. 20 September 1997. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  26. ^ "Battleground Barbie: When Copyrights Clash" Peter Hartlaub, The Los Angeles Daily News. 31 May 1998. Retrieved 3 July 2009.
  27. ^ "Nissan Skyline R34 Early" on YouTube (video). TV Commercial. (Japanese).
  28. ^ "Dave Davies Slams Van Halen's The Kinks Cover". Road Runner Records. 2 August 2010.
  29. ^ "You really got me in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  30. ^ "You really got me in French Chart" (in French). Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.  You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "The Kinks"
  31. ^ "The Kinks - You Really Got Me". Charts.de. Media Control.
  32. ^ "You really got me in Irish Chart". IRMA. Retrieved 2 July 2013.  Only one result when searching "You really got me"
  33. ^ "Indice per Interprete: K". HitParadeItalia (it). Retrieved 2 July 2013. 

External links[edit]

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the kinks- you really got me

the kinks- you really got me.

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Van Halen - You really got me 1980 Original by The Kinks 1964 Girl, you really got me now You got me so I don't know what I'm doin' Girl, you really got me n...

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788 news items

Sun, 20 Apr 2014 04:37:30 -0700

On Wednesday The Kinks Forced To Record 'You Really Got Me' Twice was a top story. Here is the recap: (Gibson) Lately there's been quite a bit of talk about a Kinks reunion. Kinks guitarist Dave Davies has said that he has met up and jammed with his ...
Ultimate Classic Rock
Mon, 31 Mar 2014 07:30:46 -0700

We're down to the last two. Heart's 'Barracuda' takes on the Kinks' 'You Really Got Me' in the final round of Ultimate Classic Rock's March Riff Madness. Four weeks ago, we began by putting 32 of rock's most iconic riffs in a head-to-head bracket ...
Ultimate Classic Rock
Mon, 24 Mar 2014 06:32:08 -0700

Motorhead's 'Ace of Spades' takes on the Kinks' 'You Really Got Me' in the semifinals of Ultimate Classic Rock's March Riff Madness. Three weeks ago, we started with 32 of rock's most iconic riffs. Now, that field has been whittled down to four. We'll ...

Unreality TV

Unreality TV
Sat, 29 Mar 2014 13:24:25 -0700

This evening, each of the teams will take to the stage to perform with their respective coach, and Team Ricky took on The Kinks' 'You Really Got Me'. You Really Got Me isn't really a song that I'd couple with both Chris and Christina on Team Ricky, it ...
Digital Spy
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:36:59 -0700

Obviously 'All Day and All of the Night' and 'You Really Got Me' those rocky guitars are very distinct in the Kinks music, but they're very diverse. "They've been going a long time and changed and expanded their repertoire. Ray's still writing - he's ...
Blogcritics.org (blog)
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:04:59 -0700

Because the Kinks came up with the one thing that defines metal, the one sound that launched a whole genre. Their innovation on “You Really Got Me” was this: they were the first to use a heavy fuzz riff guitar, which gave metal its most characteristic ...

The Independent

The Independent
Fri, 04 Apr 2014 02:58:49 -0700

It was Dave's thickly distorted guitar sound on the dirtily aggressive opening riff of “You Really Got Me”, achieved after he stabbed his amp in adolescent frustration, which helped give shape to Ray's nascent songwriting. In The Kinks' 32 years ...

Telly Mix

Telly Mix
Wed, 26 Mar 2014 11:56:15 -0700

Finally the pair will join forces with Ricky for a group performance of The Kinks hit You Really Got Me. And the Kaiser Chiefs frontman admitted to being worried about his acts overshadowing him. “Technically, I've never been to singing school, it was ...

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