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Jeff Ward: C'mon, Geneva! Who Are The Kinks!!??

Geneva parents are clearly faltering in their children's all-important musical education!

What the heck are they teaching our kids at Geneva middle and high schools, anyway?

Sure! They cover all that useless math, language arts, science, and history stuff, but what about the more important things, like Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?

Oh, C’mon! Please don’t tell me you didn’t know Sir Paul was in two groups before becoming a solo artist?

See! This is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about. How can any well-adjusted adult function in today’s society without the necessary knowledge that David Lee Roth was not Van Halen’s only lead singer.

What prompted this musical trivia tirade you ask? I’ll be happy to tell you!

My neighbor Frederick just got a brand new dog for his middle school daughter Victoria. Unlike my neurotic Australian Cattle Dog who, despite surviving every thunderstorm, thinks the next one’s gonna kill her, Dakota is a calm and friendly beast.

As I was introducing myself to her new pet, I remarked that Victoria was a great name immortalized in song, by one of my favorite groups, The Kinks. Victoria looked at me rather quizzically and asked, “Who are The Kinks?”

I tried to explain they were a major part of the first British Invasion, they were as popular as the Beatles in the late '60s, and their biggest hit was Lola. But despite being a remarkable scholar and athlete, Victoria was not aware of The Kinks' existence.

When her older GHS senior brother Chris, who happens to be my son’s soccer trainer, arrived for a session, I said, “Chris! I can’t believe your sister hasn’t heard Victoria by the Kinks!” And Chris answered, “Who are The Kinks?”

I tried to explain they were a part of the British Invasion, they were as popular as the Beatles, and they had hits like Come Dancing, Sunny Afternoon and You Really Got Me—which was covered by Van Halen.

Despite having just earned his Eagle Scout badge (congratulations, Chris!), he was not aware of The Kinks.

So when I saw Frederick standing outside, I accused him of being derelict in his fatherly duties. “How will your children ever make it through life without knowing about The Kinks?” I pleaded with him.

And Frederick replied, “Who are The Kinks?”

I tried to explain they were part of the '60s British Invasion, that some say Kinks’ guitarist Dave Davies created Heavy Metal when he cut his amplifier’s speakers to get that You Really Got Me distortion, and then I started singing,

I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne
It tastes just like Coca Cola, C-O-L-A cola

but all that did was send every neighborhood cat and dog into the kind of immediate howling frenzy that makes some folks believe an earthquake is imminent.

Though my not-so-dulcet tones didn’t help him remember The Kinds, Frederick made me swear on my sainted mother’s grave that I would never sing anything to him again.

Knowing when I’m beat, I silently wept as I slowly walked home to order a copy of Kinks: The Ultimate Collection for Victoria and Chris. Meanwhile, I’m considering reporting Frederick to DCFS.

Oh, Geez! I just remembered! Now I’m going to have to explain what a CD is.

Thankfully, when I mentioned The Kinks to my equally as sainted Geneva Patch editor, Rick Nagel, he responded, “The Kinks! That was the first concert I ever went to.” Apparently, all is not lost.

But because it appears that the sons and daughters of Geneva will have to rely on Rick and me for a real education, I’m going to pass out a 10-question rock ‘n' roll pop quiz to get the educational ball rolling.

To make the outcome more interesting, we'll throw in some sort of prize, or no-prize in the words of Stan Lee. All you have to do to win is reply with the correct answers in the comments.

Before you get ahead of yourselves, since I know y’all are gonna cheat by looking up the answers, I will put the successful entry screen names in a hat and Frederick will have unique the honor of picking ONE lucky winner.

The winner must provide his or her real name (privately) along with a code word which I will pass on to Graham’s.

So without further ado, let’s begin:

  1. Derek and Dominoes' biggest hit was Layla. Who is the real life “Layla?”
  2. In chronological order, name the FOUR separate (no duplication) Van Halen lead singers.
  3. Where did Nirvana get the song title, Smells Like Teen Spirit?
  4. Where did lead singer Jim Morrison get the name for The Doors?
  5. What famous British rocker had to change his last name because of the immense popularity of ?
  6. Paul McCartney, in that band before Wings, wrote a song called Hey Jude. Who’s Jude?
  7. What name did blues artist B.B. King bestow upon his signature Gibson guitar?
  8. Who sings backup on Dire Staits’ Money for Nothing?
  9. What is the ironic name of the only ZZ Top member who doesn’t sport long facial hair?
  10. Aside from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who and The Kinks, name three other original British Invasion bands. I’ll be glad all over if you can come up with one of my favorites.

 

Other than the Van Halen frontman who was there for the blink of an eye, you should be able to answer the rest of ‘em with no problem whatsoever. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Geneva parents! You have to set aside some time to inform your children of just how important The Kinks were. They set the stage for that harder edged '70s rock ‘n' roll. What are your kids really going to remember when they’re 40? Quadratic equations or Waterloo Sunset?

As for me, despite my promise to Frederick, I’ll be singing these lyrics all week,

And the rich were so mean
Stately homes for the Lords
Croquet lawns, village greens
Victoria was my queen
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, 'toria

It doesn't get any better than that!

Otis April 04, 2012 at 12:08 PM
But in fairness, Jeff - expecting a high school kid to know anything about the Kinks is like asking a boomer like yourself to name all the Andrews Sisters or Tommy Dorsey's song catalog
Jeff Ward April 04, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Otis, Most of them know about The Beatles and The Kinks were right up there with them. Again, my theory is, forget about the math, teach your children the really important things like who The Kinks were! Jeff
genevaman April 04, 2012 at 12:21 PM
"they were as popular as the Beatles in the late '60s" popular..no doubt.. influential..no question "AS POPULAR" as the Beatles....try again. I am all for learning musical history, but my two cents is that you try to force fed "dinosaur music" to your kids, they will actively try to hate it more. Otis - perfect analogy.
Jeff Ward April 04, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Dear Geneva, Um...The column is just a wee bit of humorous satire. Though they were as popular as the Beatles in the mid 60s. Ad The Beatles' music turned more serious, they did surpass The Kinks. I actually do think quadratic equations are more important. Jeff
Brian Rooks April 04, 2012 at 12:28 PM
1: George Harrison's wife, Patty 2. David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, David Lee Roth and Gary Cherone - and then Sammy and then David and now they are touring with David again. 3. wasn't "Smells Like Teen Spirit" a song not an album name? 4. Aldous Huxley book 5. David Bowie 6. John Lennon's son Julian 7. Lucille 8. Sting 9. Frank Beard 10. Dave Clark 5, Turtles, Herman's Hermits - there are so many choices for number ten.
Jeff Ward April 04, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Brian, Not bad! But you did miss the tricky 4th Van Halen Singer! And you're right! Smells Like Teen Spirit is the song not the album, but the question still stands. In any even, this entry is good enough - you're in! Jeff
Dennis C. Ryan April 04, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Jeff, the answer to this problem is simple: we're getting too damn old !
Fozzie Dabear April 04, 2012 at 01:08 PM
You are so right Jeff! I, too . . . I remember when rock was young.
Madge N. April 04, 2012 at 01:16 PM
I lo-lo-lo-love the Kinks! And the Turtles, the Beatles, the Doors, the Police, Eric Claption, the Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Cheap Trick, the Who and Yes! I'm not a big Van Halen Fan. I probably know way too much about Patty Boyd. Lots of us love old music! I only scored four on your quiz this time. I'll do better next time! Madge Geneva Middle School (South)
Martha Hanna April 04, 2012 at 01:32 PM
The Kinks are one of my all time favorites...Jeff bring your CD to a local bar and let's have a Kinks sing-a-long. Don't you know you are a well respect man about town doing the best things so conservatively
Brian Rooks April 04, 2012 at 01:35 PM
I remember now on the 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' - and no I didn't look it up. It is I believe after the deodorant. Still have no idea on the Van Halen question though...
Jeff Ward April 04, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Brian Ding, ding, ding! Yes! Teen Spirit was a deodorant and one of Kurt Cobain's compatriots once remarked, "You smell like Teen Spirit." Of course, with the exception of the final Van Halen singer, all folks have to do is copy your answers to get in the drawing! Jeff
Jeff Ward April 04, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Matha, You got it! Please allow me to practice, dirty old river, must you keep rolling Flowing into the night, people so busy, make me feel dizzy, taxi light shines so bright. Jeff
Jeff Ward April 04, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Madge, Not bad! Jeff
Jeff Ward April 04, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Although I'm sure some readers would suggest I am an apeman! Jeff
Paul Bryant April 04, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I'll be honest, I had to Google the Van Halen thing to find out about Mitch Malloy. But, since it appears he never performed or made any songs with them, does he really count as being one of the lead singers?
Doug Fox April 04, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Jeff, Loved your article. While I did know most of the answers offhand, there were a couple I would have had to look up -- had Brian not answered them for me. However, I can answer the somewhat tricky Van Halen question. The four chronological VH singers are: David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, Gary Cherone and Eddie Van Halen. (Eddie having sung lead on "How Many Say I" on "Van Halen III." I'm assuming you are not referring to Michael Anthony, who sung lead on "Somebody Get Me a Doctor" during the "III" and "2003-04 Reunion" tours. Those being only during the live show, and not on anything recorded in the studio.)
Jeff Ward April 04, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Doug, Thanks! The Van Halen answer is Mitch Malloy! He was brought on as the lead singer after Sammy Hagar's first departure. So, unless we have any late entries, it looks like the drawing will be between Brian, Paul and Doug. Jeff
Jeff Ward April 04, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Paul, Yes! He was brought in as a replacement, did interviews - the whole shot. It's just that they made up with Sammy very quickly. Did you know the rest of the questions? Jeff
Elizabeth Clark April 04, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I will Come Dancing & sing along to The Kinks sing along at a bar.
Paul Bryant April 05, 2012 at 03:02 PM
About half. Didn't really care too much for the Beattles, The Doors, The Kinks or Bowie - although I've been known to sing along with Suffragette City on occassion. I listened to Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, BOC, Sammy Hagar (pre and post Van Halen), Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, the Ramones, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Huey Lewis - yeah, I was all over the map, but usually listened to stuff that had a bit of an edge to it.
Jeff Ward April 06, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Dear Readers, I believe, in all fairness, Brian Rooks should be granted the grand prize. If there are no objections, then that's what we'll do! Jeff
Brian Rooks April 07, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Another topic along this line - is the demise of album cover art and liner notes. CD aren't big enough for the detail and downloading the songs you don't, well, really get anything along these lines. Think of all the old Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, or Queen albums (insert any other album here) that you use to own.

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