The Kinks’ Dave Davies Discusses Van Halen Covering “You Really Got Me”

What a way to introduce yourself to the world! You take one of the best rock songs of the 60s (and of all time) with one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time

Kevin Dodds is a Van Halen fanatic. He’s been following the band since 1979 and is a contributor to the Van Halen News Desk. He is also the author of Edward Van Halen: A Definitive BiographySo…, he knows his stuff!

Back in November of 2013, he got Dave Davspoke to Kinks guitarist, Dave Davies on the phone for an interview. Naturally, Van Halen was brought up during the conversation since Van Halen covered “You Really Got Me” (Van Halen – 1978) and “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” (Diver Down – 1982).

 

Excerpt from Van Halen News Desk

Kevin Dodds: Do you recall when you first heard Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me?”

Dave Davies: Oh, yeah. I heart it on the radio when we were on the road or something. When was it out?

It was 1978.

It was quite early, anyway. I quite liked a lot of the kind of crash and jam – Dead Kennedys. I liked that kind of tail-end of the punk thing, which I found reminded me of when we had first started. When I heard the guys’ [Van Halen’s] version of it, I felt, you know, “This sounds really flashy.” But it depicted the era, didn’t it? In that it was in the era when stadium rock was big, and guitars were flashier, and tight trousers, and swanky. The original record was – our record, the original, because Van Halen’s is a cover [laughs] – we literally had one, ball-busting chance to make that record, otherwise it would’ve never gotten made. The record company fucked up the first recording, and they had echo all over the place. It was awful. Our manager gave us two hundred pounds to go in the studio to get it how we wanted to do it. So, I just sliced my own damn speakers – really basic stuff. When I first heard the sound of it, it was either shit or bust. It was like, you know, I had to do it, otherwise we were never going to get another session. I had no idea what I was going to do on the solo. I was really just cocky, and I just fucking played something. And that’s what happened.

Our version is very much about survival and kids trying to express themselves. It’s like “You Really Got Me” has that feeling of kids just trying to express themselves. You know, back then, if we wanted to date a girl, we just went up to her and grabbed hold of her. And you didn’t wine and dine, or court. It was just really fundamental, basic kind of things that young kids did at that time. And the music reflected our own culture and behavior. So, really, even though it’s the same song, there’s a cultural emphasis and there’s patterns in it.

There’s a chasm between the two versions. One’s about a comfortable, American urban life. And one is about a raunchy, desperate kind of survival instinct. I’m not saying it wasn’t a good record. It always makes you feel good when people are inspired by your work.

I watched a bit of your link of the guys doing an acoustic version of “You Really Got Me” last night. [From Van Halen’s “Downtown Sessions” in 2012.]

What did you think about that?

I thought it was interesting. Because when you trim it all down back to basics, it becomes a lot more honest, doesn’t it? And there’s only certain things you can do when it’s a very simplified approach. I enjoyed that.

Read Dodd’s entire conversation with Dave Davies (Van Halen is discussed A LOT) at VHND.com/the-kinks-and-van-halen/ and consider purchasing Dodd’s book: Edward Van Halen: A Definitive Biography

Rock News

Slayer, Motley Crue, Slipknot & Korn To Headline 2024 Louder Than Life Festival

Reunited thrash metal band Slayer along with Slipknot, Motley Crue and Korn are set to headline this year's Louder Than Life festival. This year's Louder Than Life festival is scheduled to take place at the Highland Festival Grounds at Kentucky Exposition Center on September 26-29. The 10th edition of the rock festival will also feature…

Slayer, Motley Crue, Slipknot & Korn To Headline 2024 Louder Than Life Festival

Reunited thrash metal band Slayer along with Slipknot, Motley Crue and Korn are set to headline this year’s Louder Than Life festival. This year’s Louder Than Life festival is scheduled to take place at the Highland Festival Grounds at Kentucky Exposition Center on September 26-29. The 10th edition of the rock festival will also feature…

Sexual Assault Case Against Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler Dismissed

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has dismissed a sexual assault case filed against Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler by model Jeanne Bellino, ruling that Tyler's actions did not present "serious risk of physical injury" to the plaintiff. The case pertains to an incident that allegedly took place in 1975, when Bellino was 17. She claimed in…

Sexual Assault Case Against Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler Dismissed

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has dismissed a sexual assault case filed against Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler by model Jeanne Bellino, ruling that Tyler’s actions did not present “serious risk of physical injury” to the plaintiff. The case pertains to an incident that allegedly took place in 1975, when Bellino was 17. She claimed in…

Alex Van Halen To Publish Memoir ‘Brothers’ In October

Van Halen drummer Alex Van Halen is set to release a memoir titled "Brothers" in October. According to publisher HarperCollins, the book is scheduled to drop on October 22. It will be available as a 384-page hardcover, a 720-minute audiobook and an ebook. No further details were revealed by HarperCollins, although the preview displayed the…

Alex Van Halen To Publish Memoir ‘Brothers’ In October

Van Halen drummer Alex Van Halen is set to release a memoir titled “Brothers” in October. According to publisher HarperCollins, the book is scheduled to drop on October 22. It will be available as a 384-page hardcover, a 720-minute audiobook and an ebook. No further details were revealed by HarperCollins, although the preview displayed the…

Foreigner’s Mick Jones Reveals Battle With Parkinson’s Disease

Foreigner founder and guitarist Mick Jones has revealed that he is battling Parkinson's disease. Jones opened up about the disabling disease's diagnosis in a statement released on social media earlier this week. "Fans will have become very aware that for some time now, I have not been performing onstage with the band. Several years ago,…

Foreigner’s Mick Jones Reveals Battle With Parkinson’s Disease

Foreigner founder and guitarist Mick Jones has revealed that he is battling Parkinson’s disease. Jones opened up about the disabling disease’s diagnosis in a statement released on social media earlier this week. “Fans will have become very aware that for some time now, I have not been performing onstage with the band. Several years ago,…

Headlines