How The Kinks Got Banned In USA

How The Kinks Got Banned In USA | I Love Classic Rock Videos

via Rock N' Roll True Stories / Youtube

In the midst of the 1960s ‘British Invasion’ in the United States, The Kinks played a significant role, led by Ray Davies. Despite their music resonating with the spirit of Britain, the band never achieved the same level of fame as their counterparts like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones across the Atlantic. The group’s rowdy off-stage behavior, marked by hard-drinking and chaotic rock and roll shows, eventually led to their ban from the United States.

One infamous incident in May 1965 involved an on-stage fight between Ray Davies’s brother, Dave Davies, and drummer Mick Avory, resulting in injuries and arrests.

The tumultuous tour, marked by poor ticket sales and payment disputes, reached a breaking point when the band canceled a San Francisco show due to payment concerns. This prompted promoter Betty Kaye to file a complaint with the American Federation of Musicians, leading to a four-year ban on The Kinks touring in the U.S.

Ray Davies recalled a particularly unpleasant encounter backstage before The Dick Cavett Show, where the band faced anti-British remarks and threats of being reported. The subsequent ban severely impacted The Kinks’ U.S. career during their peak years, hindering their ability to capitalize on opportunities. Reflecting on the ban in 2014, Davies lamented its impact on the band’s trajectory, attributing it to “bad luck, bad management, bad behavior.”


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Despite the setback, Ray Davies found solace in rooting himself more in Europe and the folk tradition in Britain.

The enforced hiatus from the U.S. allowed the band to explore new musical directions, leading to the creation of the iconic and quintessentially British song, “Waterloo Sunset.”

“That ridiculous ban took away the best years of the Kinks’ career when the original band was performing at its peak,” said Ray Davies in 2014.

“It made me root myself more in Europe, the folk tradition in Britain,” he added.

The ban, initially viewed as a hindrance, may have inadvertently steered The Kinks toward artistic exploration and the creation of timeless classics.

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