When Ray Davies Felt ‘Bullied’ By John Lennon
Ray Davies recalled feeling like he’d been bullied by John Lennon in August 1964 — but he said the night in question ended well for him.
The incident took place when the Kinks opened for the Beatles on the south coast of England. Davies and company hadn’t yet reached their height of fame, having only released two singles, “Long Tall Sally” and “You Still Want Me.” The first had risen to No. 42 on the British singles chart while the second failed to enter. Conversely, the Fab Four were already huge in the U.K. and would soon dominate the U.S. too.
“We’d played with the Beatles in Bournemouth, and John Lennon made a remark that we were only there to warm up for them,” the singer told Mojo in a recently posted interview. “[B]ut we got a great reaction to ‘You Really Got Me.' It was an early validation that we had something that stood up for us, like being bullied in school and having something that was bigger than the bully. It was that sort of feeling.”
“You Really Got Me” topped the singles chart the following month, securing the Kinks’ success and leading to a chain of follow-up hits. “When it went to No. 1, it was like that thing of losing your virginity,” Davies said. “[Y]ou’re never quite the same again; you never forget that moment.”
Perhaps predictably, Ray’s guitarist brother Dave had a different opinion of Lennon — in 2016 he described the late Beatle as “a paranoid guy, but funny.”
He told Classic Rock: “I think he liked me, mostly because he knew I didn’t give a shit. My attitude wasn’t down to inner resentment, like his was. A lot of his discontent was born from deep-rooted experience and resentment. But, unlike John, I’d had a great childhood. We were once both drunk, sitting at the table in the Scotch of St James [club in London]. I’d had a few pills as well and he couldn’t stop me talking. As I was leaving, John said to me: ‘You’re one of the most obnoxious people I’ve ever met!’ I took that as a great compliment.”
The Davies brothers have reportedly recorded demos for an endeavor described as "Project Kinks," but they've yet to formally announce any new material.