Ray Davies

As frontman of The Kinks - one of Britain's finest ever bands - Ray Davies has rightfully attained the status of musical legend. Having penned Kinks songs such as 'You Really Got Me'; 'Lola' and 'Waterloo Sunset', his place in musical history is assured. Born in North London's Muswell Hill area in 1944, Davies set-up The Kinks in 1963 along with brother Dave and school friends Pete Quaife and John Start. Drummer Mick Avory would later replace Start as The Kinks embarked on a career that would stretch for nearly 35 years and be marked by a succession of hits from 'Sunny Afternoon' to 'Autumn Almanac' to 'Days'. The group eventually split in 1996 amid falling sales and rising tensions between the group's two brothers, with Ray setting his sights on a solo career. In 1994 he released his autobiography 'X-Ray', which detailed the swinging Sixties; his time with The Kinks; and his relationship with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. An accompanying album, 'The Storyteller', followed in 1998 as Davies began a cabaret- style tour that would see him read from his biography whilst playing songs from his back catalogue. It would take nearly eight years for Davies to return to the studio, though the release of 2006s 'Other People's Lives' was more than worth the wait and gave Davies his first Top 40 album in almost 40 years. The album came after a period in hospital for the singer after he was shot in the leg while chasing thieves in New Orleans on 4 January 2004. The incident came less than a week after Davies had received a CBE in the Queen's honours list. It prompted Davies to look closer at his own life, spawning a number of New Orleans-inspired songs that fell over into last year's excellent 'Working Man's Café'. A la Prince, Davies chose to go with a newspaper as a means of releasing the album, with the record initially given away free with 1.5m copies of The Sunday Times last October. Critically praised, it serves to furthermore confirm Davies' standing as an exceptional songwriter. 2008, meanwhile, looks set to be another fascinating year in the singer's life with rumours that he is planning to reunite The Kinks.


Performances by Ray Davies