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Credit: Jean-Luc


The Kinks frontman Ray Davies named his favourite song by The Beatles

The relationship between The Beatles and The Kinks is a peculiar one. Remarkably, the two bands only played a handful of shows together, but these meetings proved to be instrumental in the latter’s growth. Although they were never close associates, there was an undeniable mutual appreciation between the two acts.

When The Kinks formed in 1963, The Beatles were sitting at the zenith of the musical establishment. Every group on the planet had ambitions of toppling them from their perch, and The Kinks were no different. Having first shared the stage at a cinema in Bournemouth just two days before the release of ‘You Really Got Me’ in 1964 – which would send the group into the stratosphere – The Kinks were on the march after sealing their debut number one.

Davies later remembered the significance of that show and highlighted how one derogatory remark made by John Lennon spurned The Kinks on to prove him wrong. “We got a great reaction to ‘You Really Got Me.’ It was an early validation that we had something that stood up for us, like being bullied in school and having something that was bigger than the bully.,” he said, adding: “It was that sort of feeling”.

However, although Lennon was hostile towards him, Davies reflected: “I think he liked me, mostly because he knew I didn’t give a shit,” he told Classic Rock. “My attitude wasn’t down to inner resentment, like his was. A lot of his discontent was born from deep-rooted experience and resentment”.

Intriguingly, Davies was never a Beatles obsessive, and the first time he listened to one of their records in full was the Liverpudlian’s seventh album, Revolver. Even that was only as a guest reviewer for Disc and Music Echo Magazine and not for leisure purposes.

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Davies largely had superlatives to say about the album, although while on the topic of ‘Yellow Submarine’, he said: “This is a load of rubbish, really. I take the mickey out of myself on the piano and play stuff like this. I think they know it’s not that good”.

On the other hand, ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ caught his attention for all the right reasons, which Davies described as the “most beautiful song, much prettier than ‘Eleanor Rigby’. A jolly old thing, really, and definitely the best track on the album”.

‘I’m Only Sleeping’ is a radiant example of The Beatles dexterous ways as George Harrison inventively deployed a backwards solo, which helped give the track its unique charm. Despite never being released as a single, ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ has been covered on plentiful occasions, including Arctic Monkeys, who performed it during their first show.

To read Davies’ full track by track assessment of Revolvervisit here.