Ray Davies: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Ray Davies

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ray Davies

Ray Davies in Toronto, 1977
Background information
Birth name Raymond Douglas Davies
Born 21 June 1944 (1944-06-21) (age 65)
Origin Fortis Green, London England
Genres Rock, hard rock, pop
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards, piano
Years active 1963–present
Associated acts The Kinks
Website RayDavies.net

Ray Davies CBE (born Raymond Douglas Davies, 21 June 1944, Fortis Green, London) is an English rock musician, best known as lead singer and songwriter for The Kinks - one of the most prolific and long-lived British Invasion bands - which he led with his younger brother, Dave. He has also acted, directed and produced shows for theatre and television.

Since the demise of the Kinks in the mid-90s Ray Davies has embarked on a solo career as a singer-songwriter.


Early life

6 Denmark Terrace, birthplace of the Davies brothers

Ray Davies (pronounced day-viz by Ray [1]) was born at 6 Denmark Terrace, Fortis Green, North London, in the area called Muswell Hill. He is the seventh of eight children, including six older sisters and younger brother Dave Davies. He has been married three times and has four daughters - Louisa, Victoria, Natalie and Eva.

Davies was an art student at Hornsey College of Art in London in 1962–1963, when the Kinks developed into a professional performing band. After the Kinks obtained a recording contract in early 1964, Davies emerged as the chief songwriter and de facto leader of the band, especially after the band's breakthrough success with his composition "You Really Got Me."


Davies led the Kinks through a period of musical experimentation between 1966 and 1976, with notable artistic achievements and commercial success. Between 1977 and their breakup in 1996, Davies and the group reverted to their earlier mainstream rock format and enjoyed a second peak of success, with other hit songs, like "Destroyer", "Come Dancing", and "Do it Again".

In 1990, Davies was inducted, with the Kinks, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, in 2005, into the UK Music Hall of Fame. Davies has performed solo since the mid 1990s.

Davies has had a tempestuous relationship with younger brother Dave (the band's lead guitarist) that dominated the Kinks' career as a band.

On 4 January 2004, Davies 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.[2] The shooting came less than a week after Davies was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

Davies was also a judge for the 3rd annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.[3]

Relationship with Chrissie Hynde

Davies' relationship with Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde came at the expense of his marriage to his second wife, Yvonne, who named Hynde as the other woman in the divorce papers (the topic of the Pretenders song "The Adultress"). Davies and Hynde were involved in a number of breakups, the most infamous being when they were due to wed but the registrar refused to marry them. In January 1983, Hynde gave birth to Natalie Rae Hynde, her first child and Davies' third. Within a year, Chrissie had taken the baby with her on a world tour. The relationship ended in 1984. Hynde sings on Davies' 2009 Christmas single Postcard From London.



The Kinks: 1964-1996

Ray Davies, Toronto, 1977

Davies' compositions over his lengthy career have been an astonishing study in contrasts, from the influential protopunk, powerchord rock and roll of the early Kinks hits in 1964–1966 (most prominently "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All of the Night"); followed a few years later by more sensitive, introspective songs ("Too Much on My Mind", "Waterloo Sunset"); and still later by anthems championing individualistic lifestyles and personalities ("Lola", "Apeman", "Celluloid Heroes"); celebrations of traditional English culture and living ("Autumn Almanac", "Victoria"); true Music Hall-style vaudeville (songs like "Dandy", "End of the Season", "Little Miss Queen of Darkness", "All of My Friends Were There", and the Preservation albums); and commercial rock which combined elements of all of these ("Come Dancing", "Do It Again").

Davies' songwriting has often been called more mature, sophisticated, and subtle than that of many of his peers among American and British rock musicians. His lyrics often contained elements of satire and social commentary about the aspirations and frustrations of British middle-class life — examples including songs like "A Well Respected Man" and "Shangri-La", which observed the class-bred insecurity and desperation underlying the materialistic values and conservative protocols of middle-class respectability; "Dedicated Follower of Fashion", which mocked the superficiality and self-indulgence of the mod subculture; and "David Watts", which humorously expressed the wounded feelings of a plain schoolboy who envies the grace and social privileges enjoyed by a charismatic upperclass student.

His songs also showed signs of social conscience — examples being "God's Children" and songs on the albums, The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society and Muswell Hillbillies, which denounced industrialization and commercialism in favour of simple pastoral living. Mid-period songs like "Dead End Street" and "Big Black Smoke" offered grim, neo-Dickensian portraits of the desperate poverty that existed amidst the thriving metropolitan British economy of the 1960s.

In particular, Davies' songs on the 1968 Kinks album The Village Green Preservation Society embraced "Merry England" nostalgia and preservation as themes long before they became fashionable in pop music. Many of his best songs focus on the small-scale, poignant dramas of everyday people (e.g., "Waterloo Sunset", "Two Sisters", "Did You See His Name?"), commonly told as wistful mini-stories.

Solo work: 1985-present

Aside from the lengthy Kinks discography, Davies has released five solo albums; the 1985 release Return to Waterloo (which accompanied a television film he wrote and directed), the 1998 release The Storyteller, Other People's Lives in early 2006, Working Man's Café in October 2007 and The Kinks Choral Collection in June 2009. Other People's Lives was his first top 40 album in the UK since the 1960s, when he worked with the Kinks.

The release of Working Man's Café was followed on 28 October 2007 with a performance at the BBC's Electric Proms series, at The Roundhouse, Camden, accompanied by the Crouch End Festival Chorus. The concert was broadcast the same evening on BBC Two. An edited version of Working Man's Café, excluding two bonus tracks and liner notes, was given away with 1.5 million copies of the Sunday Times on 21 October.

Since the Kinks ceased performing in 1996, Davies has toured independently. Initially, he toured with the mainly acoustic 20th Century Man, An Evening With Ray Davies and Storyteller shows, accompanied by guitarist Pete Mathison. More recently, he has toured with a full band consisting of, among others, Toby Baron - drums, Geoff Dugmore - drums, Dick Nolan - bass, Gunnar Frick - keyboards, Ian Gibbons - keyboards, Scott Donaldson - guitar, Mark Johns - guitar, Michael "Milton" McDonald - guitar, Bill Shanley - guitar and Damon Wilson - drums.

In 2005, Davies released a four-song EP in the UK -The Tourist' - and a five-song EP in the U.S. - Thanksgiving Day.

Davies at Bluesfest 2008 in Ottawa
Ray Davies with the Crouch End Festival Chorus at Kenwood House, London, in June 2009

Davies published his "unauthorized autobiography", X-Ray, in 1994. In 1997, he published a book of short stories entitled Waterloo Sunset, described as 'a concept album set on paper'. He has made two films, Return to Waterloo in 1985 and Weird Nightmare in 1991, a documentary about Charles Mingus.

A choral album, The Kinks Choral Collection, on which Davies has been collaborating with the Crouch End Festival Chorus since 2007, was released in the UK in June 2009 and in the US in November 2009.

The choral album was re-released as a special extended edition including Davies' charity Christmas single Postcard From London featuring Chrissie Hynde. The video for the single was directed by Julien Temple and features London landmarks including Waterloo Bridge, Carnaby Street, The Statue of Eros steps and the Charlie Chaplin statue in Leicester Square. The duet was originally recorded with Kate Nash. [4] His first choice had been Dame Vera Lynn. [5]

On February 24, 2010 Rolling Stone magazine revealed that Davies was working on a collaborations album of Kinks songs with Bruce Springsteen (Better Things), Jon Bon Jovi (Celluloid Heroes), The Killers, and Lucinda Williams (A Long Way From Home).[6] In a March 2010 interview, Ray confirmed that Mumford & Sons will also be appearing on his collaborations album. [7]


In 1981 Davies collaborated with Barrie Keefe to write his first stage musical, Chorus Girls, which opened at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, London,[8] starring Marc Sinden and also had a supporting cast of Michael Elphick, Anita Dobson, Kate Williams and Charlotte Cornwell. Directed by Adrian Shergold, the choreography was by Charles Augins and Jim Rodford played bass with the theatres 'house band'.[9]

Davies wrote songs for a musical version of Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days; the show, 80 Days, had a book by playwright Snoo Wilson. It was directed by Des McAnuff and ran at the Mandell Weiss Theatre in San Diego from August 23 to October 9, 1988. The musical received mixed responses from the critics. Davies' multi-faceted music, McAnuff's directing, and the acting, however, were well received, with the show winning the "Best Musical" award from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle.[10]

Davies' musical Come Dancing, based partly on his 1983 hit single with twenty new songs, ran at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, London in September - November 2008.


Davies "Other People's Lives" tour Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC 2006 Photo: Matt Gibbons
  • On 22 June 2004, Davies won the Mojo Songwriter Award, which recognises "an artist whose career has been defined by his ability to pen classic material on a consistent basis."
  • Davies was also a judge for the third annual Independent Music Awards. His contributions helped assist upcoming independent artists' careers.[11]
  • Davies and the Kinks were the third British band (along with The Who) to be 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." They were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • On 3 October 2006, Davies was awarded the BMI Icon Award.
  • On 15 February 2009, The Mobius Best Off-West End Production in the UK for the musical Come Dancing.

Solo discography

For Kinks discography see The Kinks discography
  1. Return to Waterloo (1985)
  2. The Storyteller (1998)
  3. Other People's Lives (2006) (UK#36)
  4. Working Man's Café (2007)
  5. The Kinks Choral Collection (2009) (UK#28)
  6. Ray Davies - Collected (2009) (released 19 October 2009) (Compilation)

Chart singles written by Davies

The following is a list of Davies compositions that were chart hits for artists other than The Kinks. (See The Kinks discography for hits by The Kinks.)

Year Title Artist Chart Positions
UK Singles Chart[12] Canada U.S. Hot 100
1965 "This Strange Effect" Dave Berry #37
"Something Better Beginning" The Honeycombs #39
1966 "A House in the Country" The Pretty Things #50
"Dandy" Herman's Hermits #1 #5
1978 "You Really Got Me" Van Halen #49 #36
"David Watts" The Jam #25
1979 "Stop Your Sobbing" The Pretenders #34 #65
1981 "I Go To Sleep" The Pretenders #7
1988 "All Day and All of the Night" The Stranglers #7
"Victoria" The Fall #35
1989 "Days" Kirsty MacColl #12
1997 "Waterloo Sunset" Cathy Dennis #11

See also

Songs written by Ray Davies



  • Polito, Robert, Bits of Me Scattered Everywhere: Ray Davies and the Kinks, p. 119–144 in Eric Weisbard, ed., This is Pop, Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-674-01321-2 (cloth), ISBN 0-674-01344-1 (paper).
  • Kitts, Thomas, Ray Davies, Not Like Everybody Else, 302 p., Routledge Pub., 2008. ISBN 0-415-97769-X (paper).

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address