The Kinks' Mick Avory

When Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones first got together in a

London club in 1962 to form the seeds of the Rolling Stones, Mick Avory

was their drummer.

Jagger and company's first gig as the Rolling Stones, at the Marquee

Club, marked the beginning of Avory's tenure with the soon-to-be-giant

band. It was not a long one, however, as the Stones didn't feel Avory

was up to the task. Around the same time, art school student Ray Davies

joined his brother Dave's band, the Ravens. Switching his career

interest to music, Ray took over the band, which he renamed the Kinks.

The Davies brothers completed their lineup with bassist Pete Quaife --

and Mick Avory on drums.

Avory was born 55 years ago today in London. The Kinks released one of

the signature songs of the British Invasion, "You Really Got Me," which

topped the U.K. charts and hit #7 in the U.S. in 1964. Its pounding

drums and slashing guitar chords were to have a profound influence on

the development of '70s hard rock and heavy metal.

That cut and others notwithstanding, Ray Davies composed ballads about

British middle class life; those works, "Well Respected Man" among them,

also formed part of the band's identity.

The Kinks made the U.S. top 10 again with "All Day and All of The Night"

and "Tired of Waiting" in 1965, before settling into a decade of modest

success in that country. But the band's output of this period -- during

which Quaife quit the band -- was noteworthy for its detailed depiction

of those English customs against which the Stones and other groups

railed. The Kinks began issuing concept LPs, such as 1969's The Village

Green Preservation Society, and made one of the first rock operas,

Arthur, or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire.

Avory remained with the Davies brothers through these quiet years. The

Kinks broke out of their commercial slump in the U.S. in 1978 with "A

Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy" from 1978's Misfits. The next year's

Low Budget became the band's first gold record in a long time

with the minor hit "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman."

The Kinks began a period of filling arenas in America as such new bands

as Van Halen and the Pretenders covered their old hits. Around this

time, the Kinks had hits with a live version of one of their older

songs, "Lola," as well as such new records as "Better Things" and "Come

Dancing." They also enjoyed success on Album-Oriented Rock radio

stations (now categorized as Classic Rock stations) with tracks such as

"Destroyer."

Avory parted ways with the Kinks in the mid-'80s. He went behind the

scenes with the band when he stopped performing, and works in a business

role to this day at the Kinks' Konk Studios. He also plays in a jazz

band.

The four original Kinks reportedly are entering the studio soon to

record new tracks for possible release.

"I'm surprised Mick stayed alive until 1984!," Quaife said (in an

article for the Kinks' website) about Avory's time in the Kinks. "I

truly thought he would quit before I did. But I still talk to Mick and

he seems really happy today."

Last year, Velvel Records re-released a slew of Kinks albums, including

Schoolboys In Disgrace (1975), Sleepwalker (1977), and

many of their '60s LPs including seminal tracks such as

href="http://media.addict.com/atn-bin/get-

music/Kinks,_The/Nothing_In_This_World_Can_Stop_Me_Worrying_About_That_G

irl.ram">"Nothing In This World Can Stop Me Worrying About That

Girl" (RealAudio excerpt).

The Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Other birthdays: John Helliwell (Supertramp), 54; David Brown (Santana),

52; Melissa Manchester, 48; Ali Campbell (UB40), 40; and Mikey Craig

(Culture Club), 39.