" You Really Got Me ", a Ray Davies song, influenced by American blues and the Kingsmen 's version of " Louie Louie ",   was recorded on 15 June 1964 at Pye studios with a slower and more produced feel than the final single.    Ray Davies wanted to rerecord the song with a lean, raw sound, but Pye refused to fund another session; Davies took an adamant stand, so the producer, Shel Talmy, broke the stalemate by underwriting the session himself.  The band used an independent studio, IBC , and went in on 15 July, getting it done in two takes.  The single was released on August 1964, and, supported by a performance on the television show Ready Steady Go! and extensive pirate radio coverage, it entered the UK charts on 15 August, reaching number one on 19 September.   Hastily imported by the American label Reprise Records , it also made the Top 10 in the United States.  The loud, distorted guitar riff and solo on "You Really Got Me" was played by Dave Davies and achieved by a slice Dave Davies made in the speaker cone of his Elpico amplifier (referred to by the band as the "little green amp")— helped with the song's signature, gritty guitar sound.  "You Really Got Me" has been described as "a blueprint song in the hard rock and heavy metal arsenal",  and as an influence on the approach of some American garage rock bands.  After its release, the group recorded most of the tracks for their debut LP, simply titled Kinks . Consisting largely of covers and revamped traditional songs, it was released on 2 October 1964, reaching number four on the UK chart.  The group's fourth single, " All Day and All of the Night ", another Ray Davies hard rock tune, was released three weeks later, reaching number two in the United Kingdom, and number seven in the United States.    The next singles, "Set Me Free " and " Tired of Waiting for You ", were also commercially successful, the latter topping the UK singles chart.  
Word of Mouth was the last album they would record for Arista Records. In early 1986, the band signed with MCA Records in the ., London in the . Think Visual , their first album for their new label, was released in late 1986. It was a mild success but there were no hit singles from the record. The following year, the Kinks released another live album, appropriately titled The Road , which spent a brief time on the charts. Two years later, the Kinks released their last studio record for MCA, UK Jive . During 1989, keyboardist Ian Gibbons left the band. The Kinks were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, but the induction did not help revive their career. In 1991, a compilation of their MCA records, Lost & Found (1986-1989) , appeared, signalling that their contract with the label had expired. Later in the year, the band signed with Columbia Records and released an EP called Did Ya , which didn't chart. The Kinks' first album for Columbia, Phobia , arrived in 1993 to fair reviews but poor sales. By this time, only Ray and Dave Davies remained from the original lineup. In 1994, the band was dropped from Columbia Records, leaving the group to release the live To the Bone on an independent label in the .; the band was left without a record label in the .
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The Kinks ' most tuneful, reflective album is anchored by two of their greatest songs: "Waterloo Sunset" and "Death of a Clown." The album tanked in the ., but it set the table for their pastoral masterpiece, The Village Green Preservation Society .