The titular ditty’s crunchy guitar riff, which was recently (and rightly) lauded in one of those VH-1 song-list countdown specials, is an enjoyably filthy thing, all forward-leaning adolescent momentum and pelvic energy. So it’s no surprise, really, that You Really Got Me: The Story of the Kinks gives good attitude while also maintaining a pinch of mystery, interspersing an array of superb color and black-and-white concert footage, from the 1960s right on through to the ’90s, with some nice biographical nuggets.
Of all the British bands that broke through commercially in America who
were part of the so-called “British Invasion” of the ’60s, the Kinks may have been the most quintessentially English. Led by Ray Davies and his younger brother Dave Davies,
the group burst onto the music scene in 1964 with their groundbreaking
hit single “You Really Got Me,” which topped the U.K. singles chart and made the American top 10 to boot, spawning an entire generation of power-chord riffs (American musicologist wrote that the song “invented heavy metal”). That tune gets a loving treatment here, of course, but some of the other performances
in the international collection of footage are equally notable, including “All Day and All of the Night,” “‘Til the End of the Day,” “Waterloo Sunset,” “Days” and “Celluloid Heroes.”
A lot of reach-back, artist-specific concert docs like this have the advantage of a handful of performances that have been rarely seen since their first rotation, if at all, outside some regional broadcast and promotion. But if there’s not any artist participation, and the talking heads aren’t lively and informed, they too often can sputter and fail to capture what’s intriguing about Band X or Artist Y. Thankfully, You Really Got Me: The Story of the Kinks also contains comments from various members of the band, including both the Davies brothers and drummer Mick Avory. The gentlemen talk about their roots as a rhythm-and-blues band, and their maturation as musicians. The band continued touring until mid-1996, and despite Dave Davies suffering a stroke in 2004, certain rumors of a reunion persist out there in various corners of the Internet. If it never happens, this title at least showcases the Kinks’ worthy legacy.
Housed in a regular clear plastic Amaray case, You Really Got Me: The Story of the Kinks comes to DVD on a region-free disc presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio, with an English language Dolby digital 2.0 stereo audio track. Its supplemental features consist of… well, nothing really. But the nice slate of captured musical material makes this disc alternately thrash and kick, and sing and soar, and that’s good enough for properly aged or curious rock ‘n’ roll fans. To purchase the DVD, click here; or if you’re all about Amazon, click here. B- (Movie) C- (Disc)