Paul McCartney, Stanley Clarke and Jack Bruce aside, bass players rarely get respect. So it's no surprise that Pete Quaife, who died June 24 from kidney failure, was never consider a front line player in the Kinks, the band he helped anchor from 1963-1969. Quaife didn't sing lead and he didn't write songs, but regardless, he was a participant in the creation of some of the greatest music to ever emerge from the British Isles, from early signature songs such as "You Really Got Me," "All of the Day and All of the Night," "Well Respected Man" and "Waterloo Sunset" (where his pliable bass lines provide the song's infectious introduction) to the landmark albums The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society and Something Else.
When Quaife left the band and moved to Denmark, his home for most of the rest of his life, the Kinks continued to make great music, but that unique provincial sound that defined them early on began to disappear with his departure. Clearly, he was a grounding force in a band that had few equals, and while his contributions tend to be overshadowed by the oversized talents and personalities of the Davies brothers, Ray and Dave, and to a lesser extent, powerhouse drummer Mick Avory, Quaife was the stoic anchor - much like the role John Entwistle played in the Who. In fact, Entwistle himself was quoted as remarking, "I'd say one of my favorite bass players was Pete Quaife, because he literally drove the Kinks along."
Following his stint with the Kinks, Quaife's musical ventures were all but non-existent. He played with a half-Brit/half Canadian outfit called Mapleoak from 1969 - 1970, moving to Canada to further the band. He left that group prior to the release of its sole LP in 1971, and returned to Denmark where he opted to retire from music entirely. After being diagnosed with renal failure in 1998, he turned to writing and cartooning, publishing a book of illustrations that detailed his illness, and later, an insider's look at life in a band clearly modeled after the Kinks. In 2008, Ray Davies disclosed that he and Quaife had discussed making music again together, sparking rumors that the original Kinks would mount a reunion tour. That speculation was later dismissed, and aside from playing an encore with the band during an appearance in Toronto and then again at their induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, he never performed with the group again.
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Quaife was 66 when he passed away.