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You Really Got Me
The Kinks
Ray Davies would become expert at chronicling the neuroses of repressed Englishmen, and this song positively seethes with tension and sexual confusion.† One of the greatest riff-based songs ever written, itís occasionally
Ray Davies
Song facts
Composer Ray Davies
Genre Rock
Album You Really Got Me
Released 1964
UK Chart 1
tagged as the first ever heavy metal record, confirmed when Van Halen covered it on their explosive debut in 1978. Almost primeval in its simplicity, the riff builds on colossal double stopped power chords, modulating ever upwards to an ecstatic repetition of the title before plunging back down into the driving root note.

The tension explodes into Dave Davies' guitar solo, which positively tears out of the speakers. Literally - the raw sound was achieved by taking a razor blade to the speaker cones.

You Really Got Me was The Kinks' third single. Their previous efforts had flopped, prompting Ray to adopt a harder approach. It was recorded twice, the first version deemed not raw enough, and the band borrowed £200 to re-record it with American producer Shel Talmy. Ironically, given its status as one of the great guitar rockers, it was originally written on Ray's parent's piano.

Going straight to the top of the charts, You Really Got Me's gonzo glory was enormously influential, not least on The Who.†Their debut single, I Canít Explain, also produced by Talmy, was written by Pete Townsend in direct imitation of Davies' proto-punk classic, and mined a similar seam of adolescent romantic angst.†

Other versions
Eddie Van Halen
 Van Halen's debut album rewrote the metal rule book. Eddie Van Halen's revolutionary guitar technique with Lee Van Roth's showmanship cranked up the raw energy in this over the top version of the Kinks track

He has an amazing voice in this recording

Linus, Cornwall

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Songwriting tips

Before going into the studio is as important as when you are in it. More in†The Songwriting Guides

Working with other songwriters can expand your skills and bring new inspiration. More in†The Songwriting Guides
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Elsewhere on the web

Official Kinks fan club website
magazine feature on The Kinks
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