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by John Hardberger
Today on the MP3 Shuffle, we toast David Russell Gordon “Dave” Davies, singer and guitarist of the Kinks, who today turns 69. Dave and his brother Ray were the Kink’s most consistent member, sticking together through a variety of lineup and sound changes from the band’s formation in 1964 to its 1996 split-up. Davies was a guitar pioneer in the instrument’s earliest pop music days: he engineered the guitar tone for the band’s breakthrough single “You Really Got Me” by slashing the cone of his Elpico amplifier with a razor blade. This was one of the first distorted guitar riffs to appear in the burgeoning genre of rock and roll, and it inspired many of the earliest attempts at Heavy Metal and Punk. Though mostly known for his guitar chops (brother Ray was the lead singer and de facto frontman), Dave penned some of the Kink’s most memorable and introspective songs, like “Strangers,” from 1970 classic Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One.
To wish Dave well, let’s play the shuffle. Grab your MP3 or electronic device of your choice, press the shuffle button, and share the first 10 songs that play (in the comments below):
Being the brother of a legend can’t be easy, and the relationship between Dave and Ray Davies has always been perilous, but birthday boy Dave has carved his own deserved niche in rock history. Indeed, Ray has taken great pains to point out how essential Dave’s dirty, feedback laden playing was to putting The Kinks on the map, and, in so doing, sending rock into harder and louder territory. Dave also has been one of the great backup singers in rock history and has penned some fine Kinks tunes (such as “Death of a Clown”). Dave’s solo career has been pretty solid too. He has recovered decently from his stroke from a few years ago, but it remains to be seen if that will prevent any hope for a Kinks reunion. Let’s celebrate Mr. Davies by grabbing your iPod or MP3 player, hitting shuffle and sharing the first 10 songs that come up.