Craig Allen’s Fun Facts: “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen
"You Really Got Me" was Van Halen's first HIT single!
Forming in Los Angeles in 1974, Van Halen learned a whole bunch of "Kinks" songs as they were starting out...due in part to the fact that David Lee Roth owned the Kinks "Greatest Hits" album.
Roth is quoted as saying of Kinks music: "They sounded good, and they were great to dance to." Which was important in the early years, as Van Halen was a bar band.
With a recording contract in hand, the guys had to choose their first single...and they quickly decided that it would be "You Really Got Me," since they had been playing it for years.
Ted Templeman, the band's producer, was also anxious to have Van Halen record the song...as he was worried that a rival band, "Angel," would try to release their version of the potential hit BEFORE Van Halen!
"You Really Got Me" cracked the top-40, landing at #36 on the charts in early 1978.
This would be a good place in the article to tell you (and/or) remind you that "You Really Got Me" was a #7 hit for the "Kinks" in 1964!
The Kinks got the "grungy guitar" sound on their original hit by slashing a speaker with a razor blade!
Van Halen didn't take a blade to anything in the studio...except maybe to the recording budget!
They took a very organic approach to the recording session: playing in the studio, as if they were..."LIVE"...with very little overdubbing or other production tricks.
Thus, both the single and the album were cheap to produce!
After releasing the album, Van Halen toured as the opening band for Journey. Then, they toured with Black Sabbath! Ozzy Osbourne would say that he thought Van Halen "blew away" Sabbath!
Lets put that in context: Eddie Van Halen was 21 when "You Really Got Me" was climbing the charts!
The album containing "You Really Got Me" has sold over 5 million copies over the years...most sales coming early, thanks to the band's constant touring, and increasing radio airplay.
Kinks founder Ray Davies is quoted as saying that he thought Van Halen's version of the song was better than his own...saying that the Kinks "You Really Got Me" was a "prop plane." While Van Halen's "You Really Got Me " was "like a jet fighter."
Eddie Van Halen says that he is flattered...but that the Kinks version is "better."
And, Van Halen's update is just that: "modern....(and) that prop stuff is the real" stuff. (except that Eddie didn't say "stuff").
One more fun fact: As previously mentioned, "You Really Got Me" was the first hit record for Van Halen.
It was also the first hit record for the Kinks.
What up and coming band should ride the song to success for a third time...a real charm?
I'd be interested in your suggestions!