pete quaife, 1942-2010

the kinks, circa 1967. clockwise from top: ray davies, mick avory, dave davies, pete quaife.

the kinks in younger days, circa 1967. clockwise from top: ray davies, mick avory, dave davies and pete quaife.

Pete Quaife’s turn in the pop spotlight lasted a mere five years. But what a riotous time that was. He was the founding bassist of The Kinks, far and the away the most underappreciated of the ‘60s British Invasion front line pop brigades.

Quaife died on Wednesday at the age 66.

During his Kinks tenure, which ended in 1969, Quaife helped retool American R&B into ensemble rock and pop. The American inclinations were obvious in the guitar dominate hits You Really Got Me and All Day and All of the Night. But the combination of singer/frontman Ray Davies’ quintessentially British storylines with the versatile guitar immediacy of sibling guitarist Dave Davies soon forged a more distinctive path for the band, resulting in keenly produced singles like Sunny Afternoon, Tired of Waiting for You, Dedicated Follower of Fashion and the milestones Days and Waterloo Sunset.

Quaife left The Kinks roughly a year before the band’s career was commercially rekindled with Lola. But he remained long enough to record the finest of its ‘60s albums, 1968’s The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society.

In rock and pop history, his name is perhaps a footnote. But slip on Village Green or the record’s two masterful predecessors, 1966’s Face to Face and 1967’s Something Else, and Quaife is revealed as a vital co-architect in one of British pop’s most essential sounds.

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