Saturday, September 27, 2014

You Really Got Me/Destroyer

Well, this is kinda fascinating. Here's one of the all-time great bands, during their 2nd or 3rd or perhaps 4th, depending upon how you're counting, career renaissance playing a talk show in Australia. Think about that: they were doing well, commercially, at this point in time, and yet they were playing a talk show at about the same time the Rolling Stones and the Who were playing outdoor stadiums for around 75,000 people a pop. This from the band that no less an authority than Pete Townshend said was the third member of the Holy Trinity of British Rock, along with the Beatles and the Stones, and not the Who.

And yet. Here they are playing a talk show (which would be cancelled just a year later). And damn if they don't give it their all.

Watch Ray Davies shimmy and shake at the beginning like a young Roger Daltrey tying to be James Brown. Check out Dave Davies with his angelic high harmonies and his effortless mastery of the fretboard, showing later imitators from arena rock bands like REO Speedwagon just how it's done, from the originator of the proto-punk riff, one of the most impressive transitions in rock. Note Mick Avory dressed like he's auditioning for an AC/DC tribute band and observe as he seems to be having trouble keeping up with the tempo.

And then there's the song itself, utilizing the riff of "All Day and All of the Night"—itself a rewrite of "You Really Got Me," a lesson Townshend learned well when he himself then brilliantly rewrote it for "Can't Explain"—and adding lyrics that are either a sequel to "Lola" or at least a continuation of the story from a slightly varied point of view and brought up to date, going from the beginning of the anything goes in the Me Decade to the frantic stress of the 80s, one of the more interesting deconstruction of a famous rock band's own mythology by the very rock band in question.

And, of course, it kicks.

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