The Kinks in Germany

The 60s

by Helge Buttkereit

Forword: there were three countries in which the Kinks were especially successful: England, the USA, and West Germany. (Although one can make claims also for the Netherlands and a few other countries). In the 60s, the Kinks were more popular in West Germany than in the United States, and in the 80s, more popular in West Germany than in the United Kingdom - nevertheless, no attempt has been undertaken to write a history of the Kinks in Germany. As part of the series celebrating the Kinks' 40th anniversary, I would like at least to begin a chronological history of the Kinks through the 60s. There is still no discography, however, as it would be extensive -- although perhaps one may be undertaken at the end of the series. In addition to the first part covering the 60s, there will follow chapters on the 70s, and then 80s (with a view into the 90s) -- the last part was planned but never finished! I would also like to write something about Ray Davies' short 'Storyteller' tour in the spring of 1998, which was a great success with a lot of newspaper articles but that was only a short period of time. For the Dave Davies' tour of Germany (and Austria) see the feature on about the tour (mostly German)!

For the chapter on the 70s, I am still searching for first hand accounts of concerts, and I would like to compare and contrast reports of these shows. Photos, advertisements, scans of concert posters, etc., are all gladly welcome!
At the end of the first part of the series 'Kinks in Germany' there is a chart overview (the list covers the whole career of the Kinks, because there were not much success afther the 60s), the list of the concerts to the 60s, and the television appearances.

Dandy: The only German number one singleThe Kinks' career in Germany faltered at the beginning. Not only were the first two singles not released, but "You Really Got Me" appeared late in both the shops and on the charts. In October 1964, after it was released onto the market on "Deutsche Vogue", the single entered the charts in December, but only reached number 39. Disappointing also was "All Day and All of the Night", its release quickly pushed, but it never rose higher than number 22. At this time, barely promoted in Germany, the Kinks remained in England. They received little mention in the German music press, so this relative failure is understandable. Also, one must bear in mind, that the German music charts in the 60s were dominated by German popsongs and rather lightweight English music. In the year "You Really Got Me" was released, Cliff Richard, Drafi Deutscher, and Peter Lauch were the highlights on the hit parade. But The Beatles had their first number one hit (in Germany) also in 1964: "I want to Hold Your Hand" stood at number one from 29 February to 18 April 1964.

The German love of fluffy popsongs did not bode well for the Kinks at the beginning of 1965. Again lightweight songs dominated the top of the charts: amongst them, "Pretty Woman" (Roy Orbison), "That is the Question of all Questions" (Cliff Richard) or "Heute mal ich dein Bild, Cindy Lou" (Drafi Deutscher). The first really hard rock title at this time was probably "Satisfaction" in May/June 1965, the second Stones' title to reach number one in Germany. For the Kinks, number one was still elusive, as their third single, 'Tired of Waiting' reached only number 27, and the following four singles all failed miserably (A-sides: "I Took My Baby Home", "I'm A Lover Not A Fighter", "Everybody's Gonna Happy", "Cadillac"). "Set Me Free" (July) and "See My Friends" (September) were not released in Germany. In all ways, the Kinks failed to be a presence in Germany, although their first two German concerts did take place that year in the late summer.

The band's LPs were more successful in the charts, even if albums then did not carry the same weight as today. This is also probably the reason why, in the summer of 1965, a few songs from the first album were coupled as singles. The first album ("Kinks") entered the hit parade in February 1965 and held ground there for 40 whole weeks. "Kinda Kinks" followed in May and stayed on the charts for 24 weeks, where it nearly topped the position of the first album (reaching number 12, as the other reached number 7).

ticket 'Die Show des Jahres', pircture: Kinky MirrorThe Kinks' career in Germany officially began, then, at the Berlin Waldbuhne. Shortly after their first famous US tour, which ended with a ban on appearances in the United States until 1969, the Kinks played two concerts at the open air arena before 20,000 spectators on 14 August 1965. The concert was billed 'The Show of the Year,' and with the Kinks performed the Fortunes, and Screaming Lord Sutch and his Seven Savages. The press predicted riots the day before: "Long-haired Englishmen strut their stuff on the Waldbühne tomorrow in the 'Show of the Year'. The quartet of rabids will please their fans not only with sheer volume, but also in frilly shirts. They are 18 and 21 years old, love Bach (so they say), and drink whole sterilised milk. The musical spectacle from hell that is the Kinks takes place at 4 pm and 8 pm if the Waldbuhne is still standing."

It wasn't the Kinks, actually, but Lord Sutch who inspired the riot, after the venue was secured with the appearance by mounted police bearing truncheons -- although they did not have to intervene. Since no one at the gates was searched for potential projectiles, and people were permitted to bring bottles into the venue, the consequences were obvious. As the Lord Sutch show took off during the evening performance, someone lobbed a life-sized straw doll onto the stage and set it on fire right on the wooden boards, and the fire brigade had to put it out -- in the meantime one of the saxophonists was accidently injured. The crowd was beside itself, fans throwing bottles onto the stage, and many were injured. The Kinks also suffered, as they were chased by fifty fans on their way to the stage. Nevertheless, they were able to play and kicked off with "You Really Got Me", clad in their red jackets with their ruffly yellow shirts. Seven or eight other songs followed, and the crowd reacted enthusiastically to them. According to eyewitness accounts, Peter Quaife was the calmest on stage, whilst Dave Davies shook his hair in time to the music. After the tumult, they went out, ravenous, in search of an evening meal, and found at last a street café in Berlin. One day after that, the Kinks played the Bremen town hall, and then they returned to England. The East-Berlin (GDR) press spoke in bias against the fans, who ran wild on the return trip after the concert on the GDR-operated suburban railway in Berlin.

The two concerts in August 1965 were not their only appearance in Germany; they finished another tour in October. They went together with 'The Lords', 'Tony Sheridan & His All Stars' and 'The Black Stars' on their first 'Package Tour' in West Germany. The whole tour was sponsored by the magazine "Musik Parade". The Kinks played 25 gigs in 17 days (they concluded with 3 shows in Switzerland and one in French Alsace.) The concerts meant the final break-through, and the following year was probably the most successful for the band in the West Germany.

Dave Davies in Recklinghausen, 12th October 1965, picture from 'Beatgeschichte(n) im Revier'  Ray Davies in Recklinghausen, 12th October 1965, picture from 'Beatgeschichte(n) im Revier'

After three days in Munich (where the first concert was met with problems with the equipment - it had remained behind at London - now Gatwick - Airport, and arrived only shortly before showtime!), they went on to Gelsenkirchen. The show, titled 'Beat 65' took place on Thursday, 5 October 1965 in the Hans-Sachs-Haus, and the Kinks kicked off the first show at 7.30 pm with "You Really Got Me" playing mainly to 13-16 year olds, clad this time in light blue jackets over ruffly shirts. The band were relatively calm on stage, and followed "You Really Got Me" with "Tired of Waiting For You", "It's All Right", "Come On Now", "All Day and All of the Night", "See My Friends", and "Set Me Free". To ensure that the show on the stage remained calm, 200 police were on duty. The bands were required to leave the stage at once should a riot start. A journalist from the Gelsenkircher Ruhr-News ("Ruhr Nachrichten"), with much prejudice against the show, saw this, and also reported the worst of it (e.g. he complained about the long hair of the young people and the noise.) Nevertheless he reported the Kinks as the highlight of the evening.

After Gelsenkirchen, the musicians continued their journey to Iserlohn, Lüdenscheid and Koblenz to Ludwigshafen, then travelled to Switzerland and France. After that they went across to Neunkirchen and Kaiserslautern, coming back again to the old coal region in th west. There, on 12 October, they played two concerts again, the first in Bochum in the late afternoon, and the second at 8.15pm in Recklinghausen, as mentioned in a book about the beat music (mostly) in Reckinghausen ("Beatgeschichte(n) im Revier"). From the first gig of the day, the bands were already completely knackered, but wanted to play nevertheless. The city youth welfare officer, Kurt Oster, had ensured that most of the teeny-boppers bravely remained in their seats, which didn't please the Kinks! They encouraged the crowd, and some people were moved to action, and broke a few chairs. Kurt Oster took the stage and ordered the youth to calm down, but the Kinks' tour manager, Sam Curtis, as well as Ray Davies, jockeyed Oster off the stage. The crowd split into two factions: one group threw stuff onto the stage, jeered, and jumped through the venue (according to an eyewitness), and the other half remained calm. The next day, in the "Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung", Kurt Oster was quoted with the following words: "The kids are good, but the manager and organisers encourage the outbreaks and excessive behaviour. They think it's a success only if things go all topsy-turvy."

Add for 'Beat 65' in the 'Schleswiger Nachrichte' (7the October 1965), picture: archives Frank MootzThere were also other, different opinions. The "Westfälische Rundschau" commented on the Kinks' musicianship: "The four from England enchanted, particularly with their precise control over their instruments. The drummer especially impressed the aficianados. Here was valid proof that it is possible to maintain a steady beat with the most economical means." The unrest here wasn't particularly bad, either, as the "Mittag" quoted the Recklinghäuser police: "A rock concert in Recklinghausen gone so smoothly not very often." The riots showed the slowly growing rebellion against the parents' generation, you can see the out-dated youth welfare officer as a father-figure as a good example in Reckinghausen. There was also unrest two days later in the Kieler Ostseehalle, when Sam Curtis was injured. According to the report in the "Schleswiger Nachrichten", the concert had to be ended early. Fights broke out which resulted in a wooden balustrade torn down behind the band. The first few rows of seats were ripped out, and Curtis had to be taken to hospital, as he had been hit with a wooden chair. So, for him, the tour ended one day earlier (two more gigs followed in Delmenhorst and Oldenburg), and the press again confirmed the story: The long-maned beat-musicians provided fuel for the riots.

Dave Davies has scarcely any memories of this time, even though he can well attest to it overall. In his book Kink, he writes that he was on drugs the entire time, as overall, in Germany, one could score excellent stuff. The first night he was there he met a dark haired girl who couldn't speak a word of English. Turns out it wasn't really necessary, as they said what they had to throughout the entire tour with their hormones. He took her back to his hotel room, they lit up some hash, and did the deed. At this time, too, this period marks the beginning of Dave Davies' friendship with Tony Sheridan, who told a lot about his time with the early Beatles in Hamburg.

The most successful year for the Kinks in the German charts was 1966. "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" reached number 11, "Sunny Afternoon" at number 7 was the first top ten German hit for the band (reaching number 5 in the "Bravo Musikbox", the most popular German youth magazine), and then came "Dandy". The single (B-side: "Party Line") entered the hit parade on 5 November and stayed there for 20 weeks. Whilst the song was never available in England as a single, it appeared in Germany on its own, and became their only German number-one hit. The single first reached number one on 24 December and remained there until 14 January. (Roy Black's "Good Night My Love" finally bumped it from number one). The band's albums were also successful. The Kinks Kontreversy appeared in Germany somewhat later than in England, but nevertheless reached number 8. The next release to come along was "The Kinks in Germany", which was thrown onto the market while the band was touring the country in October 1965, and it stayed on the charts for 6 weeks. "In Germany" of course referred to the tour although the record contained only the well-known hits of the band. The photos on the front and back covers were nevertheless shots from Germany, from a photo session in August 1965 (the cover shot for "Dandy" came from the same photo shoot.) Their success in Germany was backed by television appearances maybe for the first time in October 1965 which is not sure. The first major gig was certainly the show from the Offenbach City Hall ("Stadthalle") in November 1965, which was transmitted in January 1966. On the episode of "Beat Beat Beat", one sees not only a dazzling band, but one also sees the audience dancing without any riots (which seemed to be an attempt by the producers of the show agains the prejudice against 'beat music').

The Kinks In Germany: the pictures were shot in GermanyWhilst there ought to be in 1966 only one concert in Germany (21 September at the "Sportpalast" in West Berlin), there followed at the beginning of the next year, as "Dandy" stood at the top of the charts, a new "package tour" featuring the motto "Beat at the Karneval". Unfortunately, I have been unable to dig up any eyewitness accounts nor newspaper accounts of this tour. In his new book, Doug Hinman quotes Ray Davies on this tour: "It was great in Germany. Normally I have no real love of traveling. But I like to perform, and in Germany, the audiences were great. Probably because they were a bit older [than in England.]" According to some reports, the Kinks played "Music Music Music" by Theresa Brewer, also known as "Put Another Nickel in (in the Nickelodeon)". Peter Quaife recalled later that they also played "David Watts" live to German audiences, so it is possible that this song made its live premier in Germany.

After the tour in January the success of the band remains and now it was backed up by television appearances. On 20 May, the Kinks performed for the first time "Mr Pleasant" on Beat Club, and one month later performed "Waterloo Sunset". Both appearances were pre-recorded and the Kinks were shown in playback. For "Mr Pleasant" manager Grenville Collins adopted the role of pianist, and then co-moderator Dave Lee Travis "played" trombone and ran about amongst the band members. Both songs were successful in Germany, hitting the charts at number 12 and 7 respectively. And before all of this was "Dead End Street" -- which reached number 5.

Yet one other single would enter the top ten charts in the 60s -- Dave Davies' "Death of a Clown" reached number 3, and was the third most successful Kinks single in the German charts. "Autumn Almanac" followed onto the German charts at the end of 1967, and in 1968, three other singles, although not reaching number 30, appeared ("Susannah's Still Alive", "Wonderboy" and "Days"). A bit later this first shout of success came to an end, although that changed with the Beat Club show in 1969 with 'Plastic Man.' It's possible a tour was planned in 1968, and maybe a few concerts for the beginning of September. There are no confirmed dates, but Peter Quaife remembered years later that the band played a few songs in Germany from the Village Green period, "Phenomenal Cat" and "Days", amongst others. So that must have been towards the end of 1968 in Belgium (7 and 8 September). According to Doug Hinman, a year later, the last gig of the 60s took place at the Hamburg Star Club, but Thorsten Schmidt, one of the best authorities on the Star Club's history doubts this. If the concert took place, it wasn't very long: The Kinks maybe played there on 26 August 1969, after John Dalton's recollection, on borrowed equipment and no sound check. The bass amp didn't work and the show ended half way through a song. Afterwards, there was a fight between Ray Davies and a member of the opening act.

So, the history of the Kinks in Germany compares successfully to events in England in the 60s, though their apex years was limited from 1965 to 1967. Later singles such as "Starstruck", "Hold My Hand" (Dave Davies), and "Drivin'" were not as successful, despite appearances on the ZDF [Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, Germany's Second Television Station], and also, no LP after Something Else tracked as well in the charts. Only in August 1970 did "Lola" enter high in the charts, but that is the beginning of the second chapter of "The Kinks in Germany"

Bravo Musixbox 37/66, 5th September 1966


The Kinks in the German charts 1964-1993

source: Dave Emlen's Kinks Website

Single Entry Date highest position Weeks in the charts
You Really Got Me 5-Dec-1964 39 4
All Day And All Of The Night 16-Jan-1965 22 8
Tired Of Waiting For You 20-Mar-1965 27 6
Dedicated Follower Of Fashion 14-May-1966 11 9
Sunny Afternoon 6-Aug-1966 7 16
Dandy 5-Nov-1966 1 20
Dead End Street 4-Feb-1967 5 11
Mr. Pleasant 10-Jun-1967 12 8
Waterloo Sunset 8-Jul-1967 7 12
Death Of A Clown (Dave Davies) 9-Sep-1967 3 14
Autumn Almanac 2-Dec-1967 13 6
Susannah's Still Alive (Dave Davies) 13-Jan-1968 27 6
Wonder Boy 15-Jun-1968 29 6
Days 28-Aug-1968 28 9
Lola 15-Aug-1970 2 20
Apeman 4-Jan-1971 9 14

Album Entry Date highest position weeks in the charts
The Kinks 15-Feb-1965 7 40
Kinda Kinks 15-May-1965 12 24
Kinks In Germany 15-Dec-1965 22 6
The Kink Kontroversy 15-Apr-1966 8 16
Face To Face 15-Dec-1966 12 24
Something Else By The Kinks 15-Dec-1967 31 8
IHRE 20 GRÖßTEN HITS 5-Mar-1979 4 7
One For The Road 28-Jul-1980 49 6
State Of Confusion 11-Jul-1983 55 7
Phobia 26-Apr-1993 92 3


Concerts in Germany 1965-1967

Source: Doug Hinman: All Day And All Of The Night
No.DateTimeVenueCitytitle, support etc.
1 & 214-Aug-196516:00 & 20:00WaldbühneBerlin"Die Show des Jahres" with: The Fortunes, Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages
41-Aug-1965PN Hit HouseMünchen"Beat '65" with: The Lords, Tony Sheridan & His All Stars, The Black Stars, The Renegades
52-Oct-1965PN Hit HouseMünchen"Beat '65" with: see No. 4
63-Oct-1965PN Hit HouseMünchen"Beat '65" with: see No. 4
7 & 85-Oct-196516:00 & 20:00Hans Sachs HausGelsenkirchen"Beat '65" with: see No. 4 (außer The Renegades)
96-Oct-196517:30ParkhalleIserlohn"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
106-Oct-196520:30Neue SchützenhalleLüdenscheid"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
11 & 127-Oct-196516:30 & 20:15StadthalleKoblenz"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
138-Oct-196520:00Friedrich-Ebert-HalleLudwigshafen"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
1411-Oct-196516:30TuS-SporthalleNeunkirchen"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
1511-Oct-196520:30FruchthalleKaiserslautern"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
1612-Oct-196517:30Union TheaterBochum"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
1712-Oct-196520:15WestlandhalleRecklinghausen"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
1813-Oct-196516:30StadthalleDarmstadt"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
1913-Oct-196520:30Kurfürstliches SchlossMainz"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
20 & 2114-Oct-196517:30 & 20:15NiedersachsenhalleHannover"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
2215-Oct-196520:00MüsterlandhalleMünster"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
2316-Oct-196516:00NordmarkthalleRendsburg"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
2416-Oct-196520:00OstseehalleKiel"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
2517-Oct-196516:00DelmenhalleDelmenhorst"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
2617-Oct-196520:00Weser-Ems-HalleOldenburg"Beat '65" with: see No. 7
2723-Nov-1965StadthalleOffenbachTV taping Beat, Beat, Beat
2821-Sep-196620:00SportpalastBerlinStars Hit Popmusik, with: Chris Andrews, Graham Bonney, Elisa Gabbal, Marion, The Maglos, The Rainbows
2916-Jan-196717:00StadthalleOffenbachBeat Im Karneval, with: David Garrick, The Creation, The Impact
3016-Jan-196720:00KongresshalleFrankfurt a.M.Beat Im Karneval, with: David Garrick, The Creation, The Impact, The Mods u.a.
3117-Jan196717:30NiederrheinhalleKrefeldBeat Im Karneval, with: David Garrick, The Creation, The Impact, The Monks, The Phantoms, The Generals
3217-Jan-196720:15RheinhalleDüsseldorfBeat im Karneval, with: David Garrick, The Creation, The Impact, The Monks, The Icens, The Dressman Guys
3318-Jan-196717:30ESV-HalleIngolstadtBeat Im Karneval, with: David Garrick, The Creation, The Impact, The Red Rooster Group, The Mods, The Strolling Rags, The Players Group
3418-Jan-196720:30SporthalleAugsburgBeat Im Karneval, with: David Garrick, The Creation, The Impact, The Beat-Garde
3519-Jan-196719:30mglw. LiederhalleStuttgartBeat Im Karneval, with: David Garrick, The Creation, The Impact
3619-Jan-196722:30Universum KinoPforzheimBeat Im Karneval, with: David Garrick, The Creation, The Impact
3721-Jan-196717:00BürgervereinBonnBeat Im Karneval, with: David Garrick, The Creation, The Impact
3821-Jan-196720:00SporthalleKölnBeat Im Karneval, with: David Garrick, The Creation, The Impact
3922-Jan-196711:00Cirkus Krone BauMünchenBeat In der Manege, with: David Garrick, The Creation, The Impact, The Beatstones, The Others
4022-Jan-196717:00MessehalleNürnbergBeat Im Karneval, with: David Garrick, The Creation, The Impact, The Knights, The Souls United, The New Alliance


Appearances in German TV 1965-1969

Source: Doug Hinman: All Day And All Of the Night
Nr.TapingBroadcastTypeSong(s)NameStationLocation of Taping
14-Oct-19654-Oct-1965Auftritt unklar?DrehscheibeZDFMainz
223-Nov-19657-Jan-1966liveA Well Respected Man, I'm A Lover Not A Fighter, Milk Cow Blues, You Really Gotr Me, Till The End Of The Day (Cadillac aufgenommen, aber nicht gesendet)Beat Beat BeatARDOffenbach
319-Sep-196619-Sep-1966playbackSunny AfternoonZwischen Beat und BachARD & ZDFFrankfurt
4May 196720-May-1967playbackMr PleasantBeat ClubARDBremen
5Mai 196724-Jun-1967playbackWaterloo SunsetBeat ClubARDBremen
6July 196727-Jul-1967playbackDeath Of A Clown (nur Dave Davies)Beat ClubARDBremen
7October 196716-Oct-1967playbackDeath Of A Clown (Dave Davies only)Beat Beat BeatARDOffenbach
812-Jan-196813-Jan-1968playbackSusannah Still AliveBeat ClubARDBremen
88-Apr-196924-Apr-1969playbackPlastic ManBeat ClubARDBremen
94-Sep-196920-Sep-1969playbackDrivin'4-3-2-1 Hot'n'SweetZDFStuttgart



Björn Schumacher: The Kinks Live in Gelsenkirchen im Jahre 1965, in: Kinky Mirror 2, 1982
Jürgen Wache: ... long time ago. Berlin-Waldbühne 1965, in: Kinky Mirror 6, 1983
Horst-D. Mannel, Rainer Obeling: Beatgeschichte(n) im Revier, 1993 (Information about the book here)
Doug Hinman: All Day And All Of The Night, 2004
Doug Hinman: You Really Got Me, 1994/1997
Dave Davies: Kink, 1996
various newspaper articles
No. 1 Hits 1960-1969 (Germany)
Beat Club Guide

Thanks for some material to Thomas Bartoldus, Hans-Werner Bartsch and Frank Mootz!

(c) 2004 Helge Buttkereit for
text by Helge Buttkereit, editing by Thomas Bartoldus and translation (text) by Carey Fleiner