50 Years Ago: The Kinks Play Their First Show
On Feb. 1, 1964, the Kinks made their official debut. The concert, held at the Town Hall in Oxford, was the first time brothers Ray and Dave Davies, Mick Avory & Pete Quaife took the stage under the name the Kinks after ditching the moniker, the Ravens.
Drummer Mick Avory had just joined the band, replacing Micky Willet, a few days before the gig. “I actually joined the band through putting an ad in Melody Maker as a drummer seeking Rhythm and Blues Band,” Avory told the Kast Off Kinks website in 2009, “I went for an audition and they were playing the stuff I liked.” The actual ad from the Jan. 25th Melody Maker read, “Drummer. Young, good kit, read, seeks pro-R&B groups.”
“He was the best drummer we’d seen,” recalled Dave Davies in his autobiography ‘Kink,’ “but I didn’t have a gut feeling he was the right guy. The pressure was mounting to do stuff, and he looked good, he was a nice guy and played well.”
That evening, the band were opening for R&B ravers the Downliners Sect. The venue itself had only recently begun to host rock and roll shows with the Rolling Stones performing there a month prior. According to the Doug Hinman book ‘The Kinks: All Day And All Of The Night,’ the show was very sparsely attended, with the bulk of the audience made up by other band members.
One week later, the Kinks made their debut on British television, singing ‘Long Tall Sally’ on the legendary ‘Ready, Steady Go!’