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Album: Van HalenReleased: 1978Charted:
This is a cover of the 1964 song by The Kinks. It was the first hit for The Kinks
, and became famous for its distorted guitar sound, which many bands began to copy.
This was Van Halen's first single. They learned a bunch of Kinks songs when they were just starting out (in part because David Lee Roth had one of their greatest hits albums), and often played them at their shows when they were still a bar band. "They sounded good and they were great to dance to," David Lee Roth said.
When it came time for Van Halen to record their first single, they chose "You Really Got Me," since they had refined it after years performing it. In 1982, they released another Kinks kover, "Where Have All The Good Times Gone?
," which appears on their album Diver Down
There is a track before this on the album called "Eruption
," which is an Eddie Van Halen guitar solo that leads into it. Disc jockeys often played the 2 songs together, but as computerized playlists and corporate programmers took control of radio stations, "Eruption" is rarely played.
This was used in an animated ad for a Nissan sports car. It featured G.I. Joe stealing Barbie away from Ken and driving off with her.
The Kinks got the dirty guitar sound on their version by slashing their speaker with a razor blade.
The album was cheap and easy to record. The band used very little overdubbing, and simply played in the studio as if they were live.
Van Halen's producer, Ted Templeman, recorded this as soon as he could because he was worried that a rival band called Angel would try to release their version of this ahead of Van Halen.
After releasing this album, they toured as the opening band for Journey, and then Black Sabbath. Ozzy Osbourne thought Van Halen blew away Sabbath every night.
Eddie Van Halen was 21 when this was released.
The album has sold over 5 million copies. Most were bought a few years after it was released as Van Halen picked up fans through constant touring and increased radio play.
On their 1982 "Hide Your Sheep" tour, they played this as their second encore, stopping in the middle to sing some of "Happy Trails" before finishing the song.
Contrary to popular belief, Eddie used an Ibanez Destroyer for most of this album, as well as several songs on their next two albums. This guitar is featured on the cover of Woman and Children First
. Ed later took a large chunk out of the guitar, which ruined the tone.
Ray Davies once said the he liked the Van Halen version better than the Kinks' own, saying that their original version (the Kinks) was like a prop plane and Van Halen's was like a jet fighter. Eddie later responded by saying he was flattered but that the original was better. His version was just more modern. "Ray, that prop stuff is the real sh-t," he said.