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God Save The Kinks: A Biography Paperback – May 1, 2014

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Editorial Reviews


"Virtually every page unfolds a story of booze, bad luck or a punch-up...the drama grow's madder as the years pass." â?? Pat Gilbert, Q Magazine

"While the Kinks were one of the most influential bands to come out of Britain in the 1960s, their legacy has always been overshadowed by contemporaries such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and The Who. With this biography, journalist Jovanovic (Big Star: The Story of Rock's Forgotten Band; Kate Bush: The Biography) combines his professional skills with a passion to bring the band's story to life, resulting in a complex narrative that spans 50 years. Singer and lyricist Ray Davies, known for distinctly English character studies, is the most famous member of the band, followed by his brother and bandmate, Dave. The Kinks created early garage pop singles that led to concept albums in the 1970s and an eventual rebirth as arena-filling rockers during the days of new wave. The author uses interviews with band members, photographers, producers, and backing musicians to chronicle a story filled with rock star triumphs and tribulations fueled by a deep sibling rivalry and tension that ebbed and flowed over the decades. VERDICT ­Jovanovic's thorough biography, while lighter on critical and musical analysis, provides a complete and entertaining narrative of the history of one of rock's most influential, and sometimes unsung, bands." - Library Journal

About the Author

Rob Jovanovic is the author of numerous books on such diverse subjects as Pavement and Kate Bush, Big Star and George Michael, R.E.M. and The Kinks. His books have been published in ten countries and in nine different languages. He is also a contributor to magazines including Mojo and Uncut. He lives just outside Nottingham, England, with his wife and two young children.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd; PB Reissue edition (May 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781311641
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781311646
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #376,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By The Maestro on October 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
God Save The Kinks is a reasonably good biography with the author interviewing band members and those connected to the band and using various books and articles as source material. As one who is a great fan of the band and in particular Ray Davies I found this to be worth the read. Has black and white and colour photographs taking us up to 2012, a useful index and discography which has caused me to seek some discs I didnt' know existed. 330 pages not including the photographs. The image I had at the end was Ray Davies is typical of many creative people in that he can be difficult to live and work with but for all that he has produced great music and written some good books. Even as he approaches 70 he continues to put out some terrific solo albums that actually have something to say. Hopefully the rumour of another world tour with The Kinks will happen.

Rob Jovanovic does set the scene well by giving you the early days and influences, family and then trying to make it big and then making it big. The jealousies and in fighting and from time to time being unprofessional on stage. I enjoyed the book which is well written and a page turner but there was something missing. Not sure what but maybe it is not having been able to interview the main men in the band Ray and Dave Davies. We rely instead on various music mags and books for their interpretation of events. A bonus though is former band members and other musicians did give their time and input and it puts this type of bio above the pack. I came away knowing more about The Kinks and their music and the background to some of their albums and songs; their factions and fighting and just how under rated they have been. They are up their with The Beatles, Cat Stevens and the Rolling Stones.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By IJEFF on July 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just finished reading this book and as a long time Kinks fan it was certainly an interesting read. It is the first biography of the Kinks that really delves into the post-60's history and it does it via interviews with the many ex-band members from the 1970's (and if anyone follows the Kinks you know there were many during that era). The reader does learn things you would never learn reading a Ray or Dave Davies book both of whom have written very good books themselves. In fact, I don't recall anything in Ray's 'X-Ray' or Dave's 'Kink' that really talks much about all these members that served during the 70's and even the 80's to a lesser degree. Its as if they were backup players which in reality they were.

Many interesting comments on what they experienced during their time in the band from people like John Dalton and John Gosling who both were members for nearly a decade. Other input from the vast array of backup singers, producers, engineers, managers and other shorter term members is also fascinating. The portrayal of the Davies brothers is often not very flattering, especially Ray (Dave comes off much better). Specifically, one antidote related to bassist Andy Pyle displays the sometimes downright cruelness of Ray. After reading this you might get a better understanding of how difficult Ray was to work with and will no longer be surprised at why Pete Quaife left back in the late 60's and why life in the Kinks was so difficult for brother Dave.

Could the book have been better? The simple answer is yes, but its hard to argue with the quality of the book based on the hard work the author put in getting as many sources as he could.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Hundley VINE VOICE on June 16, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I imagine it is hard to write a history of the Kinks that would have the sort of depth and clarity that serious Kinks' fans would like. They were, and are, a contentious bunch, and who knows how many different versions of the same events you would likely get, even if you could get them all to agree to talk in the first place.

Unfortunately, Jovanovic wasn't able to get them all to talk, so what we have here is a fairly straightforward chronology cobbled together from secondary sources with a smattering of what seem to be short interviews with most peripheral characters. The author was able to interview Mick Avory, John Gosling and a few other, lesser Kinks (no offense, other Kinks), but the Davies brothers are only included in quotes from other sources. Pete Quaife died during the writing and is primarily represented, as it were, by his brother. And the interviews were either fairly short or fairly perfunctory as Avory and Gosling, the two longest running non-Davies Kinks are not generally quoted at length. (Actually, an extensive study / story of the "other Kinks" would likely make a pretty interesting book.)

So what is here is an admirable go of telling the story of the band through extensive culling from articles, earlier chronicles and published interviews with the band, and bits and pieces from Dave's and Ray's autobiographies. The good part is that the Kinks are so interesting that this works.Jonvanovic writes in a breezy, casual style that keeps things moving along from the early days through Ray's Olympic performance in 2012.

The down side is that the sort of depth and detail that come with direct interviews and primary sources is most missing.
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