Led by the brilliant songwriter Ray Davies, The Kinks would prove to be one of the most influential bands to emerge from the British Invasion of the early 60s and beyond. Starting off as a R&B-influenced beat group, The Kinks quickly evolved into an inventive and contrary pop rock act. Although they enjoyed major hit singles, the group was never really taken to the public's hearts in the same way as The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Davies' plaintive songwriting style drew a cast list of characters rivaled only by Lennon and McCartney, with the likes of Waterloo Sunset and Sunny Afternoon standing up as some of the greatest pop writing of the modern era. While the rest of the world was espousing love and peace, Davies was writing thematic albums about village greens and the British Empire. The group's commercial fortunes would suffer as a result, but in the 70s Davies led The Kinks on a successful assault on the American charts with some ambitious but flawed concept albums. Changing tack to hard rock (Sleepwalker) and nostalgic pop (Come Dancing) kept the group alive into the 80s, before Davies finally tired of the treadmill and pulled the plug in the mid-90s.