I can still remember my first glimpse of Ray and The Kinks, in black and white, on the box, way back in 1964. And, to be honest, I was scared. As they thrashed out You Really Got Me I almost felt physically threatened.
Up to that moment I had been used to the gentler sound of another band ( The Beatles ). These guys looked like The Fab Four's delinquent brothers.
But I was a sensitive schoolboy back then, and as I matured and changed Ray's music changed with me, shifting from harder-edged rock and roll into an very English sound, epitomised by 1967's Waterloo Sunset, a beautifully wistful piece which conjures up London as seen through the eyes of a true Londoner. Only great songwriters can capture the essence of something and express it with such apparent ease the way Ray does with this song.
It comes as no surprise to me to discover that Ray has been awarded the unofficial title of "Poet Laureate of London", since he has chronicled its seediness and glamour, pleasures, follies and homely suburbs better than anyone before or since.
Most of Ray's best work came in the late 1960's, but his attempt to widen his scope by branching into Rock Opera in the 1970's was generally met with a very poor public reception. On the other hand, his relationship with Chrissie Hynde resulted two of two Ray's songs - Stop Your Sobbing and I Go To Sleep getting excellent treatment by The Pretenders.

Ray's achievement is to have succesfully implanted Englishness into rock & roll and then, by adding an intangible something extra ( perhaps we could call it genius ? ), moulding those unlikely partners into a completely unique sound. To my mind Ray is undoubtedly one of England's greatest ever songwriters.