The Kinks

The Kinks • London • February 6, 1964


Richard Fleming Studio, Great Newport Street, central London

Having played their final show as The Ravens six days before, the group arrives at Richard Fleming's studio for the first formal photo session under their new name — The Kinks.

Left to right: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife, and Mick Avory

The Story

On Friday, February 7, 1964 The Kinks make their television debut on the highly-influential pop show Ready Steady Go! The appearance, booked to coincide with the band's first single release that same day — a plodding cover of Little Richard's 'Long Tall Sally' — is augmented by a management-sponsored busload of friends and family outside the Associated-Rediffusion studios. The small crowd, disguised as rabid beat fans, chants, "We Want The Kinks!" while carrying placards and banners scrawled with the same slogan. Incredibly, the stunt pays off, and photos of the fake mob make the papers.

Earlier that week, the group's image-conscious management send Ray Davies to a dentist who fits him with temporary caps to cover the gap between his front teeth. Davies wears the dental prosthetic during Fleming's photo session but avoids open-mouthed smiles, feeling the device makes him look like Bugs Bunny. Despite his misgivings, Davies makes his Ready Steady Go! debut with the caps in place. Soon after, Davies has second thoughts about the direction of his 'pop image' and flees the dentist's office just as he is about to undergo a more permanent oral procedure. This early rebellion against an industry trying to mold him while embracing his natural imperfections and individuality forms the basis from which Davies operates throughout his career.

As for The Kinks' first release, 'Long Tall Sally's' stay in the hit parade lasts about as long as Ray Davies' temporary caps — the single brushes the bottom of the chart, hitting number 42 for one week. Dave Davies later alleges management bought the placement, but this is never proven. Reviews are lukewarm — with some reviewers stating their preference for the disc's flipside, the Ray Davies penned, "I Took My Baby Home."

Also appearing on this week's Ready Steady Go!: Ben E. King, Manfred Mann, Kiki Dee, and Danny Seyton & The Sabres.

Photo by Richard Fleming

The Process

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