The Kinks

You Really Got Me

Composed by Ray Davies

Song Review by

The Kinks originally recorded "You Really Got Me" in 1964, but elected to cut it again; the second version is the one we've come to know and love. To explain why and how this song works would be against its very nature; it operates on a purely visceral level. Those chords, the riff, and the sentiment "you really got me" are basically all you need to understand its essence. At the time, it was likened to a play on the ambiguous "Louie Louie," another classic from the era. But a few facts are in order: Dave Davies' fuzz-tone guitar was a groundbreaking sound at the time, achieved by him cutting the speaker of his amp with a razor blade and poking pins into it. The song was a million-seller. The band adapted and adopted its riff and phrasing throughout their career -- from the immediate follow-up, "All Day and All of the Night," on into the '80s on songs like "Destroyer." Naturally it was a live concert staple. "You Really Got Me" remains a blueprint song in the hard rock and heavy metal arsenal. In 1978, Van Halen recorded a white-hot cover version for their debut album. With Eddie Van Halen's fret-board histrionics and David Lee Roth's vocal shenanigans, Van Halen made the song their own; it's a close second to the original and the airplay it has enjoyed on classic rock radio is rivaled only by the Kinks' own song. In 2000, as the song was approached the 40-year mark, The Gap clothing company used it in two television commercials for its children's line: one features a girl band doing a punked-up version, while the boys give it the hip-hop treatment. All that's to say that it's nearly impossible to mess up a truly extraordinary rock & roll song like "You Really Got Me."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Kinks 1964 Universal Distribution
No Image 1965 Pye
You Really Got Me 1965 Rhino 2:16
No Image 1966 Reprise
One for the Road 1980 JVC Compact Discs / Victor Entertainment 3:35
No Image 1980 Hallmark Recordings
No Image 1984
No Image 1986 Arista
Classic Rock: 1964 A Go Go 1987
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:15
The British Invasion: History of British Rock, Vol. 1 1988
Various Artists
Rhino
No Image 1988
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 [Rhino] 1989 Rhino 2:13
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Rhino
No Image 1990
Original Soundtrack
MCA 2:09
Fab Forty: The Singles Collection 1964-1970 1990 Charly Records
British Rock, Vol. 2 [Original Sound] 1991
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:12
Complete Collection 1992 Castle Music Ltd. 2:14
All the Hits and More 1993 Electrola
Classic Rock: 1964 1993
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:15
To the Bone 1994 Guardian/Angel / Guardian 0:00
You Really Got Me: The Very Best of the Kinks 1994 Edsel 2:14
Only Rock 'N Roll 1960-1964: 20 Pop Hits 1995
Various Artists
Rhino / JCI Associated Labels 2:15
Party On 1995
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:13
British Rock [Original Sound] 1995
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:12
Sounds of the Sixties 1995
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:14
Kontrasts 1995 Third Eye Music
Party Time, Vol. 2: Ultimate Party Album 1996
Various Artists
SPG 2:10
You Really Got Me/Kinda Kinks 1996 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 2:12
Beverly Hills 90210: Songs from the Peach Pit 1996
Original TV Soundtrack
Rhino 2:16
The Kinks Collection, Vol. 1 1996 Excelsior Recordings
Chart Toppers [Boxsets 1997] 1997
Various Artists
St. Clair / Deuce Boxed Sets 2:14
Power Chords, Vol. 1 [Hip-O] 1997
Various Artists
Hip-O
Greatest Hits [Primecuts] 1997 St. Clair / Prime Cuts 2:17
Only Dance: 1960-1964 1997
Various Artists
JCD 2:12
Classic Rock: 60's 1998
Various Artists
Rebound Records 2:14
Chart Toppers: Rock Hits of the 60s 1998 Priority Records 2:15
Frat Rock! 3 Pac 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 2:13
Killer Classic Rock 1998
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:11
Empire Made 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:12
Double Decker Triple Tracker 1998
Various Artists
Recall (UK) 2:13
The EP Collection, Vol. 1 1998 Essential Records
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 2:13
Millennium 60's Rock Party 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 2:16
Greatest Sports Rock and Jams, Vol. 4 1999
Various Artists
Cold Front Records / K-Tel Distribution 2:10
Millennium Party [Rhino Box] 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 2:16
Greatest Hits [Castle] 1999 Deuce 2:17
Swinging in the Sixties, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Repertoire 2:14
The Best Jukebox Album in the World...Ever! 2000
Various Artists
Virgin 2:14
Party Time [SPG] 2000
Various Artists
SPG 2:10
Story of the Kinks: 24 Greatest Hits 2000 Donna 2:15
Greatest Number 1's Ever 2001 EMI Music Distribution 2:13
Well Respected Kinks [BMG Special Products] 2001 BMG Special Products 2:11
Swinging in the 60's 2001
Various Artists
Repertoire 2:14
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Special Product / MCA
No Image 2002 Universal Distribution
Mop Top Pop: Beat, Beat, Beat, Vol. 3: The Mersey Sound & Other Mop Top Rarities 1962-63 2002
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:14
Rude Boy Revival 2002
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 2:12
Comprehensive School Classics 2002
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:14
Sixties Jukebox Classics 2002
Various Artists
Universal International 2:12
1964: The Soundtrack 2003
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:14
Kitsch Lounge Riot 2003
Various Artists
BMG UK & Ireland 2:13
American Dreams: Original Soundtrack 1963-1964 2003
Original Soundtrack
Hip-O 2:15
The British Are Coming 2003
Various Artists
Sanctuary 2:13
British Invasion: 1963-1967 2004
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:13
The Best Air Guitar Album in the World...Ever! 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:13
BBQ Rock 2004
Various Artists
Konfit 2:14
Sixties Rock 2004
Various Artists
Passport Audio
The '60s Rock Experience 2005
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:13
The British Beat: Best of the '60s 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory/TJL 2:13
Cavern: The Most Famous Club in the World 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:11
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People 2008
Original Soundtrack
Island/mercury 2:13
Picture Book [Box Set] 2008 Sanctuary 2:13
The Best Sixties Album in the World...Ever! [2009] 2009
Various Artists
EMI 2:12
Mod Mania 2010
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:12
The Essential Kinks 2014 Arista / Legacy / RCA 2:13
The Best of Kinks: 1964-1971 2014 BMG / Sanctuary 2:12
The Anthology 1964-1971 2014 BMG / Sanctuary / Sony Music 2:14
No Image
Various Artists
Universal Music 2:14
Greatest Hits [Marble Arch] Marble Arch Records
Greatest Hits [UK] Bellaphon Records
No Image
Various Artists
Sire 2:15
Kinks Kontraband
No Image Strider
Pure 60's
Various Artists
Universal Music 2:11