13 Amazing Bands Similar To The Kinks

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

The 1960s saw the rise of one of the most influential rock bands of this era, The Kinks. Their unique sound and songwriting have inspired countless bands across various genres.

In over three decades of career, The Kinks sold 50 million records worldwide. Their discography is extensive, including 24 studio and four live albums. Some of their popular and successful songs include “Come Dancing,” “Lola,” and “Dead End Street.” They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Though they may not have achieved the same fame as some contemporaries, The Kinks’ impact still resonates with musicians today. Let’s explore 13 amazing bands similar to The Kinks that carry on their legacy and invigorate our love for classic rock music. Have fun reading!

1. The Who

One of the popular and influential rock bands that emerged during the 1960s is The Who. They were formed in London and were instrumental in many developments, such as the use of synthesizers.

In almost six decades of career, the band had sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Their influence was far-reaching, as bands of different genres looked to them for inspiration.

Like The Kinks, The Who are pioneers of rock subgenres. The Kinks were believed to be one of the pioneers of punk rock and garage rock. The Who, on the other hand, were seen as pioneers of rock opera.

Another point of similarity between the bands is the presence of prolific songwriters. Pete Townshend of The Who admitted that he took inspiration from The Kinks’ Ray Davies’ pop writing. Both were able to craft songs giving insight into issues that prevailed during their time.

2. The Rolling Stones

The English rock band The Rolling Stones played an essential role in the British Invasion of the 1960s. Formed in London, the band quickly rose to fame thanks to their innovative blend of classic R&B covers and hard-hitting original songs.

One significant aspect of the band’s musical style was its incorporation of blues influences into popular music. Case in point, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ original song, “Tell Me.” It was a mix between traditional blues elements and contemporary rock sounds that made them stand out from other bands.

In some ways, The Kinks’ Davies brothers are similar to Jagger and Richards. Jagger was notable for his charismatic stage presence, and Richards for his unparalleled guitar skills.

Their talents and contributions to rock music made them household names. This was far beyond their beginning as just another group trying to make it big on England’s thriving music scene.

3. The Beatles

Our list will not be complete without The Beatles. They’re one of the most significant bands to emerge from the British Invasion of the 1960s.

The Beatles’ influence on music and popular culture cannot be overstated. Often compared to The Kinks, they shared a love for R&B and skiffle music that shaped their sound.

The Beatles were known for their tight harmonies and innovative songwriting techniques that pushed musical boundaries at every turn. Their R&B inspirations provided a strong foundation for such classics as “Twist and Shout.” Tracks like “Please Please Me” showcased their ability to synthesize multiple influences into fresh masterpieces.

Throughout their illustrious career, The Beatles continually experimented with different sounds and styles. This curiosity was instrumental in shaping not only their own band but other similar groups that tried unconventional approaches to composition.

4. Cream

Another British rock band of the 1960s that is comparable to The Kinks is Cream. They are considered the first supergroup, consisting of musicians who have come from successful bands. They were formed in 1966 with Eric Clapton on guitar, Jack Bruce on bass and vocals, and Ginger Baker on drums.

Throughout their career, Cream released four albums. Their songs exemplified various subgenres of rock music, such as blues rock, hard rock, and psychedelic rock. Some of their most popular songs include “SWLABR,” “Strange Brew,” and “Tales of Brave Ulysses.”

Like The Kinks’ Ray Davies, Jack Bruce was known for penning some great tunes for Cream. He co-wrote some of the band’s songs, including “White Room,” “I Feel Free,” and “Sunshine of Your Love.”

Cream only lasted a few years due to conflicts among the members. They reunited in 1993 for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

5. The Yardbirds

Up next, we have The Yardbirds, a rock band that came together in London in 1963. They had a core lineup and built their reputation on the club circuit. They used material from Chicago blues artists like Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and Elmore James to create their unique sound.

The Yardbirds are considered one of the greatest rock bands. They were admired for being master guitar legends who helped shape classic rock all over the world. Some guitarists that became part of the band include Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.

Similarly, The Kinks’ Dave Davies was credited for his innovative guitar work. He used different techniques, such as distortion and feedback.

Throughout The Yardbirds’ career, they released six albums. Some of their popular and successful songs include “For Your Love,” “Shapes of Things,” and “Heart Full of Soul.”

6. The Animals

Also coming from England and formed in the 1960s is the rock band The Animals. They were a part of the British Invasion of the US and contributed to rock music as a whole.

The Kinks and The Animals are similar in that both were known for their bluesy sound. Both bands showcased rhythm and blues roots, blending blues, soul, and R&B elements into their music.

In addition, both bands have lead vocalists with a distinctive voice. The Kinks’ Ray Davies and The Animals’ Eric Burdon have a raspy and deep voice that helped define the sound of their respective bands.

Despite lineup changes over the years, The Animals remained relevant thanks to hits like “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “We Gotta Get Out of This Place.” And, of course, there’s “The House of the Rising Sun,” which propelled the band to fame and became their signature song.

7. The Byrds

The American rock band The Byrds were formed in 1964 in Los Angeles, California. They showcased a unique blend of folk rock and psychedelic music that drew inspiration from The Beatles and other British Invasion bands.

One of their most popular songs is “Turn! Turn! Turn!” It was released in 1965 and became a chart-topping hit. This particular track also showcases The Byrds’ distinctive sound by incorporating elements of traditional folk music into their songwriting.

Speaking of songwriting, both The Kinks and The Byrds have talented songwriters in their lineups. The Kinks have Ray Davies, while The Byrds have Roger McGuinn. Most of the songs they wrote explored social issues and observations.

8. The Hollies

Next on our list is the British rock and pop band The Hollies, that were formed in 1962. They quickly became one of the leading British groups of the 1960s and mid-1970s. Their sound is often described as a polite, family-friendly version of rock ‘n’ roll that was popular during this time.

What set them apart from their contemporaries was their focus on vocal harmonization. They were truly masters of harmony. With hits like “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” and “Carrie Anne,” it’s easy to see why fans fell in love with their sound.

Both The Kinks and The Hollies blended elements of British music hall, folk, and rock into their songs. Ray Davies of The Kinks, in particular, wrote songs in an observational way and tackled topics such as English culture and lifestyle.

9. The Small Faces

One of the top mod bands that later became influential in the rock industry is The Small Faces. This British mod and psychedelic band rose to fame in the 1960s.

Some of their hit songs include “Itchycoo Park,” “All or Nothing,” and “Tin Soldier.” Their self-titled second album witnessed the band transitioning from mod to psychedelic.

The Small Faces enjoyed a rather short career, but they, like The Kinks, were credited as some of the progenitors of the Britpop movement. In particular, the bands’ music, a blend of rock and R&B, helped shape Britpop, which drew inspiration from the 1960s British rock sound.

The Small Faces were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 and remained one of Britain’s most influential bands to this day.

10. The Zombies

Another part of the British Invasion of the US is The Zombies. The band emerged in 1961 with hits like “Tell Her No” and “She’s Not There.” Known for their psychedelic pop revival sound, they were considered legends in classic rock.

The band was composed of two talented songwriters, Rod Argent and Chris White. Like The Kinks’ Ray Davies, these songwriters crafted memorable compositions featuring storytelling elements.

The bands also showcased melodic pop-rock, as seen in The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night” and The Zombies’ “She’s Not There” and “Time of the Season.”

With a career spanning over five decades, The Zombies have remained relevant in today’s music scene.

11. The Spencer Davis Group

Another British rock band that deserves to be on our list is The Spencer Davis Group. The band came together in Birmingham in 1963. The group included Spencer Davis (guitar), brothers Steve (vocals and keyboards) and Muff Winwood (bass guitar), and Pete York (drums).

They were an influential force in the ’60s music scene, popularizing R&B-infused rock. Their musical influence extended beyond their own band’s success, with bands such as The Animals citing them as influences. Steve Winwood’s early career also began with The Spencer Davis Group.

Like The Kinks, The Spencer Davis Group was known for their energetic live performances. Their frontmen possessed a charisma that captivated their audiences.

With hits such as “Gimme Some Lovin'” and “Keep on Running,” The Spencer Davis Group left a lasting impact on rock music.

12. The Pretty Things

The rock band The Pretty Things were formed in the early ‘sixties’60s. They initially played rhythm and blues but later evolved into psychedelic rock. Their evolution is similar to The Kinks, who also underwent reinventions throughout their long music career.

The band’s discography encompasses garage rock and British rhythm along with psychedelic rock. It reflected the influence that blues legends had on them, including Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Albert King, Buddy Guy, and Elmore James.

The Pretty Things recorded many interesting tracks over five decades of musical activity. Some of their most successful songs include “Rosalyn,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” and “Honey I Need.”

13. The Troggs

Last but not least is the garage rock band The Troggs from Hampshire. They were formed in 1964 and gained worldwide recognition for their classic hit “Wild Thing.” This song is pivotal in popularizing garage rock and is considered one of the most iconic tunes of the era.

Reg Presley, Ronnie Bond, Chris Britton, and Pete Staples originally made up this group. They were signed by The Kinks’ own manager, Larry Page.

In addition to “Wild Thing,” The Troggs also had other famous songs such as “Love Is All Around” and “With a Girl Like You.” These tunes further propelled them into pop culture icon status through the ages.

Notably, both The Kinks and The Troggs had an influence on garage rock and punk. Their raw sound, along with their rebellious attitude, inspired other bands to follow in their footsteps. The Kinks, in particular, were considered the original punks. And The Troggs were also seen as influential in the development of punk rock.

The Troggs found success over 50 years ago but their name, their songs, and their contributions live on.

Summing Up Our List Of Bands Like The Kinks

And that’s our list of bands possessing similarities with the legendary British rock band The Kinks. As you can see, their impact on the genre cannot be denied.

From The Yardbirds, whose guitarists’ playing skills shaped rock and roll, to The Troggs’ raw sound and rebellious attitude, there’s something for every fan of The Kinks.

Did we miss a band that you believe is similar to The Kinks? Let us know so we can add it to the list.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.