No story on Raymond Douglas Davies would be complete without a
history of The Kinks, the major vehicle for Ray Davies' songwriting
talent. Ray got involved with music while he was still attending art
school in England.
The Ray Davies Quartet was born in London in 1962 with Ray Davies
(vocals and guitar), Dave Davies (lead guitar), Pete Quaife (bass)
and John Start (drums). In 1963 the name was changed to the Ravens
and Mick Avory was hired to replace Start. They first appeared as
the Kinks on December 31, 1963. They signed with Pye Records the
The band released a couple of singles that went nowhere before
recording "You Really Got Me" in 1964. The song was a number 1 hit
in England and climbed all the way to number 7 in the United States.
The next year "All Day and All of the Night" and "Tired of Waiting
for You" hit the Top Ten in the U.S.
In 1966 the Kinks released two singles which signaled a new
direction for Ray Davies. "A Well Respected Man" and "Dedicated
Follower of Fashion," fit well into the anti establishment mood of
the time. Their next album, The Kinks Kontroversy, contained another
hit 45, "Till the End of the Day". Songwriter Ray was becoming more
introspective with songs like "Im on an Island." "Sunny Afternoon"
(1966) was their last hit of the early sixties.
An appearance on the TV show Hullabaloo caused a problem with the
American Federation of Musicians that was only resolved in 1969 and
stopped the group from touring the U.S. During their U.S. exile, Ray
Davies became more reflective and wrote two concept albums: The
Kinks Are and
The Village Green Preservation Society (1969), a nostalgic look
at English customs.
"Arthur, or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire was The
Kinks next LP. It was an early rock opera, written for a TV show
that never saw the light. The Kinks next concept album, Lola Versus
Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One (1970), was the story of the
highs and lows of the music business. "Lola," groundbreaking subject
matter for the time was the hit from that album. The group continued
to work on concept albums, but without hits. It got a reputation as
a good time drinking band. Kinks shows were known for sloppy
musicianship and onstage arguments between brothers Ray and Dave.
This was chronicled on Everybodys in Show-Biz, a double album of
road songs and a live set.
Concept albums became soundtracks for theatrical works by the
Kinks in the next few years. Preservation Acts 1 and 2, Soap Opera,
and Schoolboys in Disgrace were all written for theatre performance,
complete with horn players and singers. For all of their effort and
elaborate shows, the Kinks werent selling.
The Kinks left concept albums behind in 1976. They had a hit in
1978 with "A Rock n Roll Fantasy" (1978). Low Budget (1979), with
hit "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman" (1979), was the Kinks first
gold record since their Reprise greatest-hits album of their early
The group hired former Argent bassist Jim Rodford in 1978 and
scored a success with One for the Road (1980), a double live album
that came with a video. It went gold, as did Give the People What
They Want (1981). The Kinks State of Confusion (1983), gave the
group its first top ten hit since "Lola": "Come Dancing". A ballad,
"Dont Forget to Dance," cracked the top thirty later that same
None of the bands next albums sold well, but the Kinks continued
touring. In 1990 The Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame, and in 1993 the group toured the U.S. promote Phobia. The
albums first single, "Hatred (A Duet)," poked fun at the
longstanding antagonism between Ray and Dave Davies that led both
brothers to quit the band more than once. In 1995 The Kinks
released To the Bone in England, a live studio recording of many of
RAY DAVIES (born June 21, 1944)
Many of Ray Davies songs become hits for bands like The Jam, Van
Halen, The Pretenders and The Stranglers. Ray Davies has also
produced two albums by Claire Hamill and wrote the music for the
films The Virgin Soldiers and Percy. Ray also had a daughter,
Natalie, with Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders in 1983.
He got the lead part in the television play The Long Distance
Piano Player and was resident composer for the BBC television series
'The 11th Hour' and Where Was Spring'. In 1981 Davies worked
together with Barrie Keefe on the musical Chorus Girls, and in
1988 wrote 80 days with Snoo Wilson, produced and directed by Des
McAnuff at the La Jolla Playhouse. Ray Davies wrote, composed and
directed the award winning television movie 'Return To Waterloo'. He
composed and performed the song 'Quiet Life' for the film Absolute
Beginners which was directed by Julien Temple.
In 1995 Davies published his unauthorized autobiography, X-Ray
and toured with his one-man show 'The Storyteller'. His first solo
album, 'The Storyteller' contains music and prose from that show.
The idea for the Storyteller show came while Davies was doing
signings to promote X-Ray'. Someone suggested that, since his songs
were closely linked to his life, it would be a good idea to record
some of these songs with the readings.
The New Millenium
Ray did four shows in Dublin in May 2000 and has been working on
the script for the "Come Dancing" musical at The National Theatre in
London to be staged in late 2000 or early 2001.
Ray has a demo ready for his new label, Capitol/EMI and hopes to
be in the US in July and August. He was scheduled to play The Blues
and Jazz festival in Reykjavik, Iceland on June 10th.
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