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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'The Essential'
Artist - The Kinks

The Kinks were an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, by brothers Dave Davies and Ray Davies with Pete Quaife in 1963. The Kinks, who rose to fame during the mid-1960s and were part of the British Invasion of the US, are recognised as one of the most important and influential rock groups of the era.

Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres, including rhythm and blues, British music hall, folk and country. Ray Davies (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Dave Davies (lead guitar, vocals) remained members throughout the group's 32-year run.

Clive Davis personally signed The Kinks to his then relatively new Arista label, when he was trying to establish a rock and roll foothold. Till then, Arista was known primarily as a home to the likes of Barry Manilow and The Bay City Rollers. The Kinks, under Davis' tutelage, staged a comeback that brought them to a whole new audience who looked at Ray and Dave Davies as Punk Rock Godfathers, even as the band suddenly found themselves successful enough to tour American Sports Arenas.

Sleepwalker was the first album of that batch, and heralded that The Kinks were back. In retrospect, the songs sound very much of their time, heavy on the synths and radio friendly. When Misfits arrived, it contained a bonafide Davies' masterpiece, the melancholy A Rock and Roll Fantasy. It singled the introspective streak that became a running strength for the following albums.

In between was the successful Low Budget. It had an almost hit with the disco-fied 'Superman,' even if the title track and 'A Gallon Of Gas' sound dated. But is sure was weird hearing The Kinks in dance clubs along with The Bee Gees. Give the People What They Want was the radio breakthrough, as Album Rockers began giving heavy spins to 'Destroyer.' Quoting the riff from 'All The Day and All Of The Night' and referencing 'Lola,' it brought fans old and new to the band. But even better is 'Better Things,' which even Davies lamented had not become a more well known song.

And so, marching ever onwards, we have The Essential double CD of The Kinks, with all tracks personally selected by Ray Davies. The two discs contain 48 tracks that range from 'You Really Got Me,' 'Tired Of Waiting For You,' and 'David Watts,' on through to 'Lola (Live in 1979),' their hit parade, chart topping 80's hit single, 'Come Dancing,' and the anti-Christmas classic, 'Father Christmas'!

With new liner notes and testimonials, plus vintage photos and so much more, The Essential is fifty years on from when it all began. Which means that now their place in the pantheon's of hit artists, at long last assured, this brand new collection can be there for both old and young, once more.