The Kinks

Any shortlist of rock’s most influential songs would be incomplete without The Kinks’ 1964 classic, “You Really Got Me.” Ironically, however, Ray Davies says he was trying to write something more befitting a country singer like Roy Rogers or Gene Autry. “I was trying to write a country blues,” Davies said recently, speaking with Rock Cellar magazine. “I started writing it on guitar. It was probably the third or fourth song I’d ever written. I’d written a few bad pop songs. I switched over to piano later, when I showed it to the band, which gave it a very different feel.”

Davies went on to speculate that an established songwriter probably couldn’t have written the song. “I think if I had been an accomplished songwriter, I wouldn’t have written ‘You Really Got Me,’ because there’s something naive and basic about it, with the key shift halfway through,” he said. “If I’d been an accomplished songwriter I wouldn’t have written it in the key I did and I probably wouldn’t have made that shift, which was quite revolutionary but became common after we did it.”