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John's Ode to The Kinks

As the bass player in Bhakti Explosion, I am at least *somewhat* responsible for the band's groove. And what I bring is shaped by my musical background, which is steeped in rock 'n' roll. (I can't help but take credit for the idea of adding a Krishna chant to the classic Feel Like Making Love by Bad Company, which has become one of our most loved songs.)

Katie also grew up on classic rock (in addition to truly classical music and piano), played at high levels when her dad was trying to wake her and her sister up early for a hike in the mountains of Montana.

And if you're a Bhakti Explosion fan, I bet you like the rock 'n' roll, too!

This post is an ode to my first "favorite band" growing up in the 80s.

So, who else is a fan of The Kinks?

From a young age I was frequently on long road trips with my parents, and as an only-child, my best company on these journeys were the music-makers singing to me through the headphones of my Walkman. Too young to prowl record stores, I mostly bought cassette tapes at gas stations. For a time my favorite group was the Beach Boys. But then, in a hotel gift shop in Arizona, I discovered a band that I developed an immediate and long-term fondness for.

Van Halen’s “Jump” was my first favorite song. But the Kinks became, for many years, my favorite band.

The discovery actually occurred via a compilation of 80s hits (ironically released well before the decade of 80s were over), which included the song “Come Dancing.” Some time later in the same hotel I ran across the 1984 album Word of Mouth. I was mesmerized by the innovative sound and smart lyrics. Next was a live album called One for the Road.

I loved this 80s-era material, and it wasn’t until years later that my friend Joanna introduced me to some of their more influential, earlier work from the 60s and 70s, which felt like discovering a whole new face of my favorite band. I would probably place Ray Davies immediately behind Paul Simon and Lennon/McCartney on my list of best pop and rock songwriters.

The Kinks catalogue is staggering -- there are still albums that I haven’t spent time with. But I do claim to have a sense of some of their strongest material.

If you are interested in checking out this seminal group, I not-so-humbly offer my Great Kinks Compilation playlist on Spotify as a beginning.

If you are a Kinks fan, give this a play and let me know if there’s any tracks I’ve neglected to include on this sampler.


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