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Famous Like Me > Composer > D > Ray Davies

Profile of Ray Davies on Famous Like Me

Name: Ray Davies  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 21st June 1944
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Raymond Douglas Davies (born June 21, 1944 in Muswell Hill, London) is a British rock musician, best known as lead singer and main songwriter for The Kinks, which he led with his younger brother, Dave. He has also acted, directed and produced shows for theater and television.


Ray Davies' compositions over his forty year career have been an astonishing study in contrasts, from the influencial proto-heavy metal powerchord rock and roll of the early Kinks hits in 1964-1966 (most prominently "You Really Got Me") followed only a few years later by more sensitive, compassionate songs ("Waterloo Sunset", "Shangri-La", "Big Sky"), and still later by anthems ("Lola"), true musical theater (the Preservation albums), and commercial rock which combines elements of all of these ("Come Dancing").

Ray Davies

Davies' songwriting has often been acclaimed as more mature, sophisticated, and subtle than that of many of his peers among American and British rock musicians. While his lyrics were often deceptively simple, focused on time-honored rock themes such as love, sexual attraction and partying, they often contained elements of satire, examples including "A Well-Respected Man" (which ridiculed conservative suburban values), and "Dandy" (which mocked the superficiality of the Mod lifestyle.) In addition, his later work showed signs of social conscience, examples being "God's Children" and songs on the album Muswell Hillbillies, which denounced commercialism in favor of living simply, and "Dead End Street", which portrayed the stagnant British economy of the late 1960's. Davies' songs on the 1968 Kinks album The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society embraced nostalgia and preservation as themes long before they became fashionable. Many of his best songs focus on the small-scale, poigniant dramas of everyday people ("Waterloo Sunset", "Two Sisters", "Till Death Do Us Part"), commonly told as wistful mini-stories. His work has an idiosyncratic quality that has appealed greatly to the Kinks' large cult following over the years. Throughout his career, he has also been considered the most singularly "British" of all major songwriters of his generation.

Aside from the lengthy Kinks discography, Davies has released two solo albums, the 1985 release Return to Waterloo (which accompanied a television film he wrote and directed), and the 1998 release The Storyteller. Since the Kinks ceased performing and recording in 1996, Davies has toured independently (such as the Storyteller tours), and more recently with a backing band. In 2005, Davies released a four-song EP called The Tourist, and is scheduled to release a full album called Other People's Lives in early 2006.

Davies wrote a semi-fictional memoir called X-Ray and a book of short stories entitled Waterloo Sunset, and has made two films, Return to Waterloo in 1985 and Weird Nightmare in 1991, a documentary about Charles Mingus.


Davies is the sixth of seven children; he had five older sisters. He has been married three times, and has four daughters.

Davies is described as "openly manic-depressive". He has had a tempestous, love-hate relationship with younger brother and Kinks guitarist Dave Davies. His talent is universally hailed wihin the music industry, but he has maintained a career-long reputation for being fiercly independent and personally difficult, which has resulted in a decades-long pattern of conflict and alienation within the industry.

In 1983, Davies had a daughter, Natalie Ray, with then-girlfriend Chrissie Hynde (of The Pretenders).

On January 4, 2004 Davies was wounded when he was shot in the leg while chasing thieves who had snatched the purse of his companion as they walked in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana.

He was quoted in 1967: "If I had to my life to do over, I would change every single thing I have done."


On March 17, 2004, he collected a CBE from Queen Elizabeth II for "services to music."

On June 22, 2004, Davies won the Mojo Songwriter Award, which recognises "an artist whose career has been defined by their abillity to pen classic material on a consistent basis."

The Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, at which Davies was called "almost indisputably rock's most literate, witty and insightful songwriter."

Ray Davies Dave Davies
The Kinks
Mick Avory The early band

Bandmembers: Ray Davies – Dave Davies – Bob Henrit – Jim Rodford – Ian Gibbons – Mick Avory

Important records: The Kinks (1964) - Kinda Kinks (1965) - The Kinks Kontroversy (1965) - Face to Face (1966) - Something Else By The Kinks (1967) - The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968) - Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) (1969) - Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One (1970) - Muswell Hillbillies (1971) - Everybody's in Show-Biz (1972) - Sleepwalker (1977) - Misfits (1978) - Low Budget (1979) - Give the People What They Want (1981) - State of Confusion (1983)

Related: British Invasion – Discography – Classic rock

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ray Davies