For over 40 years in the music business, the Kinks have pioneered heavy metal, the concept album and the music video. They have also produced some of the greatest three-minute pop records ever to have been moulded in vinyl. From wild boys of the swinging 1960s to American stadium giants, eventually becoming the Godfathers of Britpop, their influence is as ingrained as deeply into the landscape of the world music scene as almost any other band. The story begins in a house on Fortis Green Road in the London suburb of Muswell Hill.
When I was small I believed in Santa Claus
Though I knew it was my dad
Annie and Frederick Davies had produced six daughters over the decades before their first son, Raymond Douglas Davies, was born in 1944. The youngest member of the family, David, was born three years later. The Davies boys' grandmother had 21 kids, and the family home was often full of friends, relatives and boyfriends. As was typical in the post-war years, entertainment came in the form of gathering round the piano and singing along.
Ray and Dave spent part of their childhood growing up in different houses in the Muswell Hill/Highgate area. Ray lived with his Aunt Rose, Uncle Arthur and Cousin Terry. He grew up as a determined young boy who was an outsider, excelling at athletics and boxing, with a strong desire never to be on the losing side. Dave, meanwhile, lived with his sister Rene and his nephew Bob. Dave was a rebel, who played truant and smoked cigarettes with his mates. Both had learnt to play the guitar: Ray first, then Dave - whose first guitar was a gift from his sister. She showed him how to play a couple of chords before going out one evening. She died later that night from a hole in the heart.
Twelve bars flowing through his brain
Ray preferred learning songs from musicals and more pop-influenced sounds, while Dave was into the new craze of rock 'n' roll and idolised people like Eddie Cochran. Both brothers, however, shared an interest in The Blues.
At secondary school, Ray met Pete Quaife whose dad owned the local grocer's shop. The two also went to art school together. Ray, impressed with how his brother was improving on the guitar, formed a band with the three of them. Their first gig was at a local dance hall and was arranged by one of the brothers' sisters. Ray and Dave played guitar and Pete played bass. All three were plugged into a little green Elpico amplifier. Playing without a drummer to a hall of teddy boys, the trio was dragged off stage by the manager before they were practically killed by the crowd!
Ray then played in a series of blues bands. British Blues legend Alexis Korner pointed him towards the The Dave Hunt Band, who required a young guitarist to appeal to the young audience. Passing the audition, he joined the band. At Ray's first gig, the support band was a group of South London lads who would grow into the Rolling Stones. Ray was impressed by this young group and knew his days as the token young guy in a big band were numbered. He left and joined The Ravens.
The Ravens were Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and a drummer John Start. Ray brought experience to the band and firmed up the rhythm section, which now included Mickey Willet on drums. However, the group lacked a singer and a manager.
Enter the Well-respected Men
And the whole wide world is on your side
In the 1960s, when a record shop assistant somehow became the most successful manager of the decade by getting involved with The Beatles, the lure of management drew in all sorts. Two of those sorts were Grenville Collins and Robert Wace. They were upper class gents with a lot of time and a handful of connections. After getting chatting to the group in a pub, they decided to help out The Ravens. Firstly, Wace, who thought of himself as a great singer, came on board, but then Grenville took over as their manger, renaming them Robert Wace and the Boll Weevils1.
The duo's high-class connections got them lots of gigs at balls and country manors. The audiences, amused by the working class band, ignored the small fact that Wace could not sing. One gig at an East End club was enough for Wace to realise he was not good enough and he left the stage, with Dave taking over vocals. The band reverted to being the Ravens. Wace formed Boscobel Productions with Collins and the two signed contracts with the band. The two forced Willet out of the band as they were uncomfortable with the lack of trust that he had in the pair. Willet, who was the eldest and most experienced of the band, was nominally their spokesperson and he didn't agree with some of the things that Boscobel Productions was up to.
An advertisement in Melody Maker turned up Mick Avory. Avory, who had had a haircut, was shocked to discover a long-haired bunch of kids with a sharp sense of humour, mainly targeted at the drummer. He survived the audition and joined the band, fitting in seamlessly with the music that the other three were playing. Avory had previous played with Brian Jones and Mick Jagger but stayed in his day-job rather than joining the Rolling Stones.
Boscobel got the band to audition in front of Larry Page. 'Larry Page the Teenage Rage' was a former club singer from the 1950s who had done all right for himself. He had a management company called Denmark Productions which was part-owned by Eddie Kassner, a music publisher. He knew the music industry inside-out and importantly, knew how to make a hit record. Larry saw that the group had potential and became a joint manager along with Robert and Grenville. Kassner got the publishing rights for Ray's songs.
At that point, Ray was not known for his writing skills and the group had no singer. In retrospect, it's clear that Page and Kassner got the best out of the deal, however at the time, it looked like the Ravens and Boscobel had scored a major coup.
Larry saw Ray as a singer and also helped encourage his songwriting. The band's name was also changed to make it more daring and to fit in with the swinging 1960s, with its call-girl scandals and a catsuited Diana Rigg. The Kinks were born. These strange, long-haired musicians, with an aggressive stage manner and outlandish clothes were to take the country by storm, but not just yet.
They were taken to Regent Sound studios, where they put down a couple of tracks. Wace let American producer Shel Talmy listen to the tracks. Talmy had bluffed himself into a musical production job, and having scored a hit Charmaine in 1963, was given a contract with Pye Records. It was on his recommendation that the Kinks got a deal with Pye Records.
They laid down a few more tracks with Talmy that were to be released as singles. The first two, a cover of 'Long Tall Sally' and an original 'You Still Want Me' saw little chart action, but did manage to get them a spot on the TV show Ready, Steady, Go and a support slot on the Dave Clark Five tour.
One of the features of the Kinks live was that the band were volatile. Dave had a knack of winding people up and often started rows within the band. Ray tried his best to keep out of them initially, but as the years went on, fights between the brothers reached an altogether different level. However, on this tour, Dave spent most of his time picking on Mick. During the Cardiff set, he took to swearing and insulting him, then he kicked Mick's bass drum. Eventually, he was taken to hospital! Most witnesses claim Mick threw a cymbal at him that hit Dave across the head. Mick claims that a cymbal would have decapitated Dave, and that he only used the bass drum pedal!
It's probably also worth noting at this point a feature that both brothers shared, and that didn't change as the band hit the big time: they were incredibly tight with money - their own at least. Ray would purposely leave his wallet at home in order to avoid forking out for anything, and both of them would end up borrowing pennies almost every night while on tour to buy snacks. If you met Ray in a posh hotel and he offered to buy you dinner it would be at a greasy spoon around the corner!
The Kinks needed a hit, and it came eventually with 'You Really Got Me'.
Look, it's a Hit
Eyes down round and round let's all sit and watch the moneygoround.
Ray had a simple two-chord riff and a vision of a song that sounded rawer and dirtier than even the Rolling Stones. Previously Dave had pierced holes in the speaker of the Elpico amp2 so it sounded even more distorted. The group descended on the studio to record what could save the band. Shel Talmy replaced Mick on the drums with session drummer Bobby Graham. And the result was... rubbish!
Talmy had produced away the raw sound that Ray wanted by introducing loads of echo onto the track. Ray appealed to Larry who said that the record company couldn't overrule the producer. He then appealed to Grenville and Robert, who couldn't hear anything wrong with it. Ray appealed to his girlfriend Anita, who agreed to talk to Larry for him. Larry finally realised that the record would bomb, and claiming that the record company didn't have rights to release the song straight away, got everybody back for another session down the studio.
This attempt produced the record that would launch the band as superstars, 'You Really Got Me'. The song was rougher and more aggressive than even the Rolling Stones or The Animals, and almost a world away from the beat groups from the north-west. With their long hair, wild sound and suggestive name, the Kinks were causing controversy3 and commotion across the country. The song hit the number one spot. In years to come, people would claim that this was the first rock record or the birth of heavy metal4. It did, however, make Dave Davies, with his unpredictable and aggressive style, a guitar hero.
The record's success allowed the band to appear on the same bill as The Beatles on two shows and they were booked to open the second half before the main act. After the first show, the headline act were so worried they swapped The Kinks to a position finishing the first half of the show. The band that replaced them were The High Numbers, who were soon to become The Who. Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney tried their best to intimidate the inexperienced London band and Ray took it as a sign that the Fab Four were intimidated by The Kinks.
The band's next record was an album that was rushed out to cash in on their earlier success. The Kinks was a set of covers mixed with a few originals and a couple of Talmy's own songs. Though it had its good points, songs like Talmy's 'I've Been Driving on Bald Mountain' didn't really belong on this record. To make matters worse, Robert and Grenville wrote the liner notes about a band who wanted to restore the letter K to its rightful place. While this might just have been funny when it was suggested over a couple of drinks, a piece of prose full of one-knight stands, kampaigning and krowns is little more than kringeworthy.
The follow up single was a more musically adventurous take on 'You Really Got Me'. 'All Day And All Of The Night' was again aggressive and based on a simple chord change. Among the session musicians hanging around the studio during the recording was Jimmy Page. Page, who would later join The Yardbirds and form Led Zeppelin was regarded as one of the best guitarists in the country at the time, and contributed to a number of Kinks tracks. Many among his legion of fans claim that the solos on the Kinks' early hits, especially 'All Day And All Of The Night' were the work of Page, but they are undoubtedly the work of Dave Davies. The song reached number two on the charts and cemented the The Kinks' position as one of the top bands in the country.
They were obviously not in the same record-selling league as the all-conquering Beatles, who topped the charts four times in 1964. But The Kinks were not far behind The Rolling Stones, who they saw as rivals in the 'bad boys' stakes. The Stones may have been marketed as the band that you wouldn't let your daughters go out with, but onstage The Kinks were an unholy mix of testosterone, riffs and violence. While not abusing his bandmates or diving into the crowd, it was not unknown for Dave to walk out with his testicles hanging out of his trousers.
A Family Man
And the drudgery of being wed, She was so jealous of her sister.
Just as the band were taking off, Ray got married to Rasa, a girl he met at a gig in Sheffield. Rasa had bunked off convent school to go the gig, met the band and swapped addresses with Ray. A week later the two met in London, and it wasn't much longer before she was pregnant. In the meantime, the others, especially Dave, were living the high life. Drink, drugs, women, men: a teenage Dave experimented and indulged in them all. This contrast between the brothers would become more prominent during the decade, Ray pushing a pram around the streets of Muswell Hill while Dave partied through the nights.
While the management knew the band needed to break America, they decided to tour Australia first. The Kinks had a brief stop-off in Paris for a television appearance and a gig before filming another gig on an American aircraft carrier in Marseilles. Ray was not happy at the sailors who leered at Rasa, and was even less happy when the Captain of the ship refused to let them off until they got to Egypt unless they played for the crew!
On to Oz, where Ray and Dave where overjoyed to see their aunt Rose, her husband Arthur and their cousin and best friend Terry. The tour had a mixed reception. The brothers saw it as a warm welcome, but the most conservative elements of the press were campaigning to have them thrown out. While there, they got the news that they had hit the top spot on the UK charts again with 'Tired of Waiting'. This was on another, more sophisticated level musically. Again it had a repetitive riff and a simple lyric, but it was slower and lacked a Dave solo.
On the way back from Australia, they stopped off in New York for a bit of promotional activity. Dave's guitar was stolen and he replaced it with the most offensive thing he could find, an original Gibson Flying V. Ray spent most of his time stuck in a hotel room recovering from an insect bite. When they appeared on Frankie Avalon's5 TV show, Hullabaloo, the image of Ray and Mick dancing cheek to cheek got the show banned by the homophobic station.
The Kinks had painted their image with an obvious rose tint. Even though homosexuality was illegal in most of the Western world, the band seemed to camp it up at every opportunity. Dave had a large gay following and certainly had a number of gay encounters among his many conquests. Ray, more withdrawn with a wife and child, was much more ambiguous, but played up to the image as much as the next man, except if the next man was his brother. Obviously, outrageously camp lead singers were not uncommon at the time, as Mick Jagger proved.
Back from their tour and worn out, Pye gave the band two weeks to write and record Kinda Kinks, their next album. Although this featured more original songs and showed a marked growth in Ray's songwriting, it was not an album that the band look back on with pride. This is mainly because it was put together in a rush and Talmy hardly excelled himself with the production. Ray was of the opinion that the record company were trying to cash in while they could because most pop bands didn't last more than a year or two. The next two singles were 'Everybody's Gonna Be Happy', which bombed, and 'Set Me Free' which reached the Top Ten. Another single that was released at the time was 'I Can't Explain' by The Who. It sounded so much like the Kinks that the band thought somebody else was ripping off their style. Pete Townsend of The Who, a huge Ray Davies fan, had chosen that song because he wanted to attract the attention of Shel Talmy.
The Kinks topped the bill at the NME Pop Winners Party; however, Ray stormed out the building when he found out that they'd missed out on the Best New Band award to The Rolling Stones, who had (oddly!) won the same award the year before.
Welcome To America
With hotel bans across the country, a mad Ray either running around London with all his money in a sock or pouring all the ink out of a fountain pen to avoid signing a contract and Dave-induced mayhem across the continent, The Kinks6 hit America in 1965. And America hit back.
Perhaps the only other British band that could have conjured up such a string of farces and disasters would be Spinal Tap. Larry was jailed early on, and spent most of the rest of the time on tour trying to get promoters to pay up, which surprisingly hardly ever happened. One promoter, who was actually friendly with the band, and had intentions to be rather more than friendly with Dave, turned out to be John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer!
After an argument between Ray and a worker on the Dick Clark Show - about the state of American music - descended into violence things got much worse. The worker, a union bigwig, managed to get a ban on The Kinks performing in the country for four years. This left the band excluded from the largest record market in the world. They could release records but had no way of promoting them. They went on to see other bands raking in the money, enjoying the new sights, sounds and narcotics of late 1960s America and playing festivals like Monterey and Woodstock, while they stayed at home in England. However, away from summers of love, hippies and acid, Ray was able to concentrate on writing songs about the English way of life.
Forget me not, for I will keep waiting until your return.
Ray then refused to perform at the Hollywood Bowl unless his wife was flown out. This was rather difficult for even Larry to arrange since Rasa's East European heritage meant that getting a visa was difficult in a country that was living in fear of the Communists. Rasa finally arrived along with Pete Quaife's girlfriend, but it all proved too much for Larry. He decided to resign from managing the Kinks and take charge of the careers of a duo by the name of Sonny and Cher. Of course, getting a chunk of Ray's publishing meant that if he could get his new act to record a few Kinks songs, he'd see even more money.
Who Let The Lawyers Out?
Robert gives half to Grenville
Who in turn, gave half to Larry
Who adored my instrumentals
So he gave half to a foreign publisher.
This is where the fun really began. Robert and Grenville were getting sick of Larry and Eddie Kassner. Ray was getting sick of Larry flogging his songs around and even making an instrumental album of Kinks songs featuring Jimmy Page7. The band was fed up with Larry Page spending so much time with Sonny and Cher. Talmy was fed up with Larry recording band demos without him on board.
Lawsuits and writs later, The Kinks were signed to Belinda Music to handle their affairs and two publishing companies were set up. Davray8 for the UK and Mondvies9 for elsewhere. If that seemed like a nice clean outcome, it wasn't; legal wrangling meant that all the band's accounts were put into administration and they would not see any royalties for the remainder of the decade.
Most of the Ray originals on the next album Kinks Kontroversy were still published by Kassner. With titles like 'Gotta Get The First Plane Home', 'The World Keeps Going Round', 'Where Have All The Good Times Gone', 'It's Too Late' and 'What's In Store For Me' it seemed as if Ray was sensing impending doom. The good news was that this album had many strong songs; even better news was that there were no more new Kinks albums using wordplay involving the letter 'K'. Those would be saved for EPs and compilations.
The first single would be the ground-breaking 'See My Friends'. This featured a combination of droning guitars arranged to imitate an Indian Sitar. It would be a year before George Harrison did the same thing with The Beatles. The song also reinforced the band's kinky sexuality. 'Friend' was gay slang for a homosexual lover and many people tried to read between the lines of the song. The other Top Ten single, 'Till The End Of The Day' saw a return to the raucous sound of the early hits. It remained in the charts over Christmas and into 1966. This was the beginning of a long run of Kinks hit singles.
On Top of the World
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.
The next five singles were some of the most accurate observations of the English way of life ever put to music. They started off with 'A Well Respected Man', a portrait of an English upper-class young gent, much like Robert or Grenville. The next single was written by Ray after an argument with a rather fashionable chap at a party he'd been to. 'Dedicated Follower of Fashion' made fun of the people whose lives revolved around the latest clothing fads. Ray invented the word 'Carnabetian' to describe the people who hung around Carnaby Street in the West End - for the song.
'Sunny Afternoon' again gave a glimpse of an English life of luxury. It also sent the band back to the top spot, and much to their delight, knocked The Beatles' 'Paperback Writer' down after only one week at Number One. This song contrasted with the working-class despair of 'Dead End Street'. As well as more insightful lyrics, these songs were much more musically sophisticated, featuring novel chord structures and more interesting basslines. In 1967, the band released one of their best-loved songs, 'Waterloo Sunset'.
Originally written as 'Liverpool Sunset' to mourn the death of Merseybeat music, Ray rewrote the lyrics as a lonely voyeur watching a couple in love amongst the busy commuter throng.
Some of these songs, such as 'Sunny Afternoon,' were written by Ray as he recovered from a nervous breakdown which forced the band to tour without him. Dave took over lead vocals and Mick Grace from The Cockneys was added on guitar. Mick Avory also took some time off touring due to tonsilitis, and was replaced by Clem Cattini from The Tornadoes and Johnny Kidd and The Pirates.
The biggest change however came after Pete Quaife got a lift home from Morecambe with road manager Peter Jones. Jones fell asleep on the M6 and the resulting crash was set to put Quaife out for a few weeks. Quaife, tired of the band's in-fighting and the music industry in general, decided to take time out to take a scriptwriting course. He was replaced by John Dalton. In traditional Kinks style, John's debut was chaotic. The gig in Madrid was undersold, so the promoter used the temporary man as an excuse to stiff the band for money. Then it turned out that Dalton was playing on Quaife's work permit. Cue more legal troubles. To top it all, Quaife had bought a Danelectro bass after seeing John Entwistle use it for his solo on The Who's 'My Generation'. The Danelectro's sound was totally different to the normal Kinks bass that the fans expected but Dalton was forced to play this instrument. However, Dalton was offered the role full time after a few months on the road. Quaife, however, decided that he missed life with the band and returned. Dalton went on to work as a coalman.
Even though he had a string of hit singles to his name, Ray was still living in a house bought on borrowed money, and was strapped for cash. Allen Klein was called in to sort out their recording contract with Pye, and together with his lawyer, Marty Machat, would sort out the royalties that Ray was owed as well as the American performance ban.
November 1966 saw the release of the first Kinks LP that featured all Ray Davies's original songs. Compared to previous Kinks albums, Face To Face was a much stronger record, with better songs and better production. Ray originally had planned an album of songs linked with sound effects, but had to abandon his idea. Starting off with Grenville's 'Hello, who's that speaking?' on 'Party Line' and ending with 'Sunny Afternoon', the album contained some of the finest bits of social commentary Ray had ever produced. There were also references to his family in 'Rosy Won't You Please Come Home' and a slight at Jimmy Page in 'Session Man'.
This was the last album that Shel Tamly produced wholly; it was becoming more obvious that Ray wanted more than Shel's solid but limited skills. Although they had done well in marketing the band's singles, Pye was not geared to promoting albums.
Larry Page, fresh from success with The Troggs, tried to get the High Court to uphold his 10% share in the band's management. This was thrown out, much to Ray's approval. However an appeal to the Lords meant that Denmark Productions retained publishing rights to everything until 'See My Friends'. However because Larry had told Dave, Pete and Mick that he was quitting the American tour, but not Ray, the judges ruled he had forfeited his management rights.
Everybody Wants To Be A Star
Once under a scarlet sky I told you never-ending lies.
1967 saw 'Waterloo Sunset' held off the top spot by 'Puppet On A String', 'Silence Is Golden' and 'All You Need Is Love'. The other major Kinks single of the year was 'Autumn Almanac', a description of the delights of English life.
Dave stepped up to the spotlight with the self-penned 'Death Of A Clown', a record which proved to the world, and more importantly, himself, that he was an able songwriter in his own right. The follow-up was a brash tale of a lonely woman, 'Susannah's Still Alive'. Although Ray originally encouraged Dave to write the song, he would often introduce his brother as Dave 'Death Of A Clown' Davies.
Much like Beatles For Sale, the title of the next Kinks album, Something Else By The Kinks implied a conveyor belt of songs made to boost the record company's balance sheet. In truth, the album was every bit as strong as its predecessor and is probably the best of the Kinks' non-thematic albums. Influenced by the efforts of George Martin and Brian Wilson, Ray was taking more control behind the desk. In fact, Ray had wanted the role Brian had in the Beach Boys; that of the reclusive genius who stayed behind and made the albums while the others were on the road.
1968 did not start off well musically for the band. Live At The Kelvin Hall was released. The band were drowned out by the audience, which, given the shabby performance, was probably for the best. The accompanying single was 'Wonderboy'.
July saw a massive return to form with 'Days', a love song that seemed to come straight from Ray's heart. It just failed to get into the Top Ten, however a cover version by Kirsty McColl reached number four in the 1990s.
Defenders of the Faith
God save little shops, china cups and virginity.
And then came the masterpiece.
Initially written as an album based on Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood, the next Kinks album went through countless track-changes, rewriting and false starts. Eventually, The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society appeared to rave reviews. The first of Ray's concept albums, it explored the lives of various characters from a village Ray imagined at the heart of Middle England. There was 'Wicked Annabella' the witch, 'Walter' the now-settled family man, 'Daisy', the singer's first love who was now with 'Tom' the grocer boy, 'Monica' the kind-hearted prostitute and the boy who the village just can't understand, 'Johnny Thunder'. Ray also explored the themes of fame and showbusiness, and people's obsession with photographs.
Musically rich and varied, it featured fairytales, whimsical stories and self-reflection, all wrapped tightly around a cast of characters and a coherent theme. Here was a city boy dreaming of the village he believed to be the heart of England. In an era when everybody was looking to the future, where it was finally good to be young and free, here was one of the most revolutionary bands of the decade singing about draught beer and custard pies and asking people to think of themselves when they are getting old.
Ray may have set out the theme, written the words and tunes, and produced the album, but he was open to his bandmates' ideas.
The result was one of the seminal albums of the 1960s, one that is often cited alongside Pet Sounds and Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band as a turning point in popular music. Unlike those albums, the record bombed. Despite Pye's big advertising campaign and rave reviews, Ray decided to rework the album. When it finally arrived in November, the finished article slipped into the lower reaches of the charts.
It didn't help that there was no single released to go with the record, and the band's promotional tour featured mainly northern cabaret clubs.
1969 saw the final departure of Pete Quaife, again replaced by John Dalton. It also saw the band's latest single 'Plastic Man' crash and burn in the charts. However things were looking up. Their American ban was over and Granada had asked Ray to write them a pop opera.
The pop opera was going to be about a man who moved himself and his family from London to Australia. It was called Arthur after his brother-in-law. The television side of the project ran out of money, but the songs were released as Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire). With songs like 'Victoria' and 'Shangri-la' the album was strong, and it did okay in the charts.
A New Decade
Oh But, rock and roll still lives on.
In 1970, the Kinks recruited a keyboardist Kink, in the shape of John Gosling. Previously on records Ray or session man Nicky Hopkins had recorded the parts, but they now wanted that sound on stage. Deciding that Hopkins was too busy sessioning to dedicate himself full-time, they took on Gosling.
With a new recruit on board, the Kinks toured America, supporting bands such as The Who10. By the end of the tour, their loose, shambolic stage show had been tightened up and the foundations laid for a following that would support the band for the next couple of decades.
1970 saw what was to be the last Kinks hit for over a decade, their first since 'Waterloo Sunset'. 'Lola', the tale of meeting a Soho transvestite, was a pure Kinks classic. All the ingredients were there: it was catchy, musically sophisticated and sexually suggestive. It was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
The accompanying album did reasonable business, but it was clear that The Kinks were no longer a force in the album charts. Lola Versus The Powerman and The Moneygoround, Part One11 was an attack on the music industry, and on Denmark Productions in particular. The two singles, 'Lola' and 'Apeman,' both caused trouble with the censors. Ray's pronouncement of the word 'fogging' in 'Apeman' sounds remarkably close to swearing, while 'Lola' upset the BBC because it mentioned Coca-Cola12.
'Lola' proved to be the band's last success in their home country until the 1980s came around. Regarded as dinosaurs in Great Britain, the pioneering band and their genius songwriter had America to court now, but that is another story for another Entry.