The Kinks, Muswel Hillbillies or Working Class Heroes, told the stories of the common man. Their tracks are filled with stories of poverty, struggle, and survival in a post WWII industrial era. The Kinks actually preceded the Beatles with experimental and invented musical technique, using sitar and drones well before Norwegian Wood. Ray Davies and Brother Ray were the only continuous members of the band. Their feud is legendary and often involved violent bust-ups, but also served as a creative outlet for both brothers.
The Kinks are intriguing for another reason. They were one of the first rock bands to intentionally use distortion to create a unique sound. Now, you can’t find a rock song that doesn’t have it or an amp that doesn’t have a knob to induce it. The Kinks distortion was created when Ray Davies used a razor blade to slice one of their amps. From Wikipedia:
Distortion effects create “warm”, “dirty” and “fuzzy” sounds by compressing the peaks of an electric musical instrument’s sound wave and adding overtones. Distortion effects are sometimes called “gain” effects, as distorted guitar sounds were first achieved by over-driving tube amplifiers.
In “Storyteller”, Ray Davies says this about this first track, “You Really Got Me”:
“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.”