Ray Davies and the Kinks
Category: Musician or composer
Sir Raymond Douglas Davies, CBE (born 21 June 1944) is an English singer, songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the Kinks, which he led with his younger brother, Dave. He has also acted, directed and produced shows for theatre and television. After the dissolution of the Kinks in 1996, Davies embarked on a solo career.
The Kinks were active for over 3 decades between 1964 and 1996, releasing 28 regular albums in the UK (24 studio, four live), and 30 in the USA (24 studio, four live, two compilation). There have been almost innumerable compilations produced. Their hit singles included three UK number-one singles, starting in 1964 with "You Really Got Me"; plus 18 Top 40 singles in the 1960s alone and further Top 40 hits in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 2005, The Kinks were inducted into the UK Hall of Fame and on 12 June 2014, Davies was inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame. On 17 March 2004, Davies received the CBE from Queen Elizabeth II for "Services to Music." On 3 October 2016, Davies was awarded with a BASCA Gold Badge award for his unique contribution to music. Davies was knighted in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to the arts.
Below: Davies, 59, stands with his daughter, Eva, age 7, after he received a CBE for services to music in the New Year Honours List
And Ray Davies is manic depressive.
And I don't want to live my life like everybody else
And I won't say that I feel fine like everybody else
'Cause I'm not like everybody else
I'm not like everybody else
The ups and downs of mania
Manic depressives are often very very emotional and committed when they love someone deeply and any form of break-up or rift can plunge them into depression of deep severity. But they are appallingly demanding, jealous, almost hysterically jealous whilst themselves being at times entirely amoral.
Glad as I can be
But I think all the time
Is she true to me?…………
I know, she's been with other fellas
Why she keep on lyin'?
It hurts me so when she says nothin'
I really feel like dyin'
I ache inside until I think
I know, it's just my pride
'Cause there's nothin' in this world
To stop me worryin' 'bout that girl
Reportedly, Ray Davies also had a tempestuous relationship with his younger brother Dave, the Kinks' lead guitarist.
Right: Davies with his wife Rasa and baby daughter Louise Claire Rasa June 1965
Ray Davies has been married three times and has four daughters. In 1973, Davies attempted suicide by a drugs overdose following the breakup of his first marriage in 1964 to Rasa Dicpetris by whom he had Louisa and Victoria Davies. Only later was he diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Below with his daughters when he was knighted by Prince Charles
Davies' second marriage was in 1974 to Yvonne Gunner. The couple had no children.
Davies also had a relationship with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders during the 1980s, and their daughter is named Natalie Rae Hynde, now a spicy little lass with a very strong ethical fervour and campaigning bent.
His third marriage was to Irish ballet dancer Patricia Crosbie. Their marriage - which saw a daughter, Eva, born on December 20, 1996 - was to last 13 years.
From Dedicated follower of ballet... dance legend Patricia Crosbie Barry Egan November 7 2016
Patricia Crosbie ….. talks passionately about all things l'amour for over an hour when we meet. She says without hesitation that the love of her life was Ray Davies. She wasn't the only woman to fall for his undisputed and incalculable charms... Davies's marriage to Patricia was his third. He married Rasa Dicpetris in 1964 and they had two daughters, Louisa and Yvonne.
In November, 1974, he married Yvonne Gunner. The couple broke up when Ray embarked on an affair in 1981 with The Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde [right], who gave him a third daughter, Natalie Rae [below protesting about fracking]. In any event, destiny brought Ray and Patricia together in London in 1984.
"I met him in London in a gym. He was just there and we got chatting and that was it. I loved The Kinks but I didn't recognise him. Like I said, we were a very musical family. Christmas parties it was all guitars and singing. It was all Beatles and Kinks."
"He asked me to marry him when they were on a visit to Ireland in 1985." Their marriage - which saw a daughter, Eva, born on December 20, 1996 - was to last 13 years. Their shared interests were "music, theatre, cinema, and, actually, the quiet life. Ray loves a quiet life, as do I. When I say a quiet life you have your own structure, then you go out and do your job and you come home and you have your privacy. He loved living in the country. So did I".
They lived near Guildford in Surrey. "I have to say it was very different to the life I'd been living but also really, really interesting," says Patricia, "because Ray opened up so much to me that I knew nothing about. "At the time he was directing films, documentaries. He made a documentary about Charlie Mingus. I remember helping him edit that and a lot of The Kinks videos. He asked me to choreograph a piece for the live shows in 1978 touring America. I danced onstage.
"We were a couple like any other," Patricia says, "good times and bad. We fell out of love and we have a beautiful daughter. "As I explained I danced in and choreographed for The Kinks shows, travelling with them worldwide. It was exciting and creative and I learned so much and met so many wonderful people ... saw places I never thought I would see."
I ask her to take me back to the break-up. "Breaking up with Ray was, of course, sad and I still feel that sadness sometimes ... not because we are not together but because my marriage failed and when I married I believed in it. I am very happy in my life now. I'm not in a relationship."
Why does she think Ray and her broke up? "As I said, we fell out of love," Patricia says. "It happens. All the other 'stuff' that goes with a marriage break-up is, in my opinion, between two people, for better or for worse!"
Did it just reach the end? "It did, really. There wasn't any major drama." She moved back to Ireland.
Well not for her anyway.
Anyone who thinks that the doctors have got it all sorted and medication solves everything, needs to think again. In 2010, Davies moved out of his house in North London — and sought the help of his neighbour Marjorie Wallace, who is the founder of mental health charity SANE. Davies, then 66, moved in after he was forced to cancel a tour in America due to what he described to the press as a ‘medical condition’. Marjorie is well-known through her work with Sane as someone who is able to support people through times of mental stress. Davies was with Marjorie for much of Xmas. He told Alan Yentob in a documentary: ‘Compared to the way I feel now, having a nervous breakdown was a jaunt.’
Life and career
Davies was born in Fortis Green, North London, England. He is the seventh of eight children born to working-class parents, including six older sisters and his younger brother Dave Davies. Ray's father, Frederick Davies (b. 1905) was of Welsh descent. Ray's mother was of Irish descent. Ray attended William Grimshaw Secondary Modern School (now called Fortismere School).
Davies was an art student at Hornsey College of Art in London in 1962–63. In late 1962 he became increasingly interested in music; and at a Hornsey College Christmas dance he sought advice from Alexis Korner. Korner introduced him to Giorgio Gomelsky, a promoter and the future manager of the Yardbirds and Gomelsky arranged for Davies to play at his Club. From then on Ray played with a succession of groups - the Ray Davies Quartet, the Dave Hunt Band, the Hamilton King Band until June 1963; when the Kinks (then known as the Ramrods) were formed.
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 early composition "You Really Got Me". Davies led the Kinks through a period of musical experimentation between 1966 and 1975, with ‘notable artistic achievements and commercial success’.
Few people realise how innovative and unusual the Kinks sound was at the time. Although the Blues had its influence, the immense power chords of songs like ‘You Really Got Me’ and "All Day and All of the Night” were completely novel. "You Really Got Me" was built around power chords (perfect fifths and octaves) and heavily influenced later rock musicians. It was built around a guitar riff played by Dave Davies. But this was still music, the tunes were tunes. By 1965, this hard-driving early style had been replaced by a softer and more introspective sound.
The eerie, droning "See My Friends"—inspired by the untimely death of the Davies brothers' older sister Rene in June 1957—saw the band try a rare foray into early psychedelic rock, "See My Friends" is credited by Jonathan Bellman as the first Western pop song to integrate Indian raga sounds—released six months before the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)".
My mother did not know what to make of them. I remember her ‘tut-tutting’ the raunchy and suggestive lyrics whilst at the same time admitting that you could indeed understand every word. Or as she put it, ‘it might have been better if you couldn’t’ [chortle].
And the songs were coming out at a rate of knots, Ray must have been entirely manic during the early 60s.
And then he was diagnosed and the manic output of glorious melodic and innovative songs ended and depression set in. It is rather summed up by the song title "Where Have All the Good Times Gone".
Now on his medication which was presumably lithium, medication that removes the mania but leaves you subject to bouts of severe depression, Davies suddenly became very self conscious and ‘righteous’, and I quote here
“He began to explore the aspirations and frustrations of common working-class people, with particular emphasis on the psychological effects of the British class system.”
Good God, no wonder sales plummeted. And
“His topical songs took aim at the complacency and indolence of wealthy playboys and the upper class as well as the heedless ostentation of a self-indulgent spendthrift nouveau riche and even the mercenary nature of the music business itself”. Like the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and Beatles presumably.
If you want to deliver a social message, you don’t hit people in the face with it. There is more, “Other songs like "Situation Vacant" (1967) and "Shangri-La" (1969) hinted at the helpless sense of insecurity and emptiness underlying the materialistic values adopted by the English working class”. In fact, Davies was far more effective when he simply described the bleakness of life at the lower end of the social spectrum: singles like, "Dead End Street" and "Big Black Smoke" probably had far more effect than the pseudo-socialism he plunged into.
The two songs "Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues" and "Alcohol" (both 1971) somewhat sum up where the medications had plunged him. And this new found social conscious, which actually smelt of hypocrisy, came from his depressed self.
When not medicated, Ray Davies had a very nostalgic side, was a great fan of vaudeville, music hall and traditional jazz, was an incurable romantic and had [again a quote]
Davies is often at his most affecting when he sings of giving up worldly ambition for the simple rewards of love and domesticity ("This is Where I Belong", 1966; "Two Sisters", 1967; "The Way Love Used to Be", 1971; "You Make It All Worthwhile", 1974), or when he extols the consolations of friendship and memory ("Days", 1968; "Do You Remember Walter?", 1968; "Picture Book", 1968; "Young and Innocent Days", 1969. On his 1967 masterpiece "Waterloo Sunset", the singer finds a fleeting sense of contentment in the midst of urban drabness and solitude. "Better Things" (1981), "Come Dancing" (1982), "Don't Forget to Dance" (1983) and "Good Day" (1984) were sentimental songs of hope and nostalgia.
Davies’ life after the 60s does not sound a very happy one. The album and song titles are the clues - Sleepwalker (1977), Misfits (1978), "Life on the Road", and "Life Goes On" and on and on. By the early 80s, the Kinks revived their commercial fortunes considerably by adopting a much more mainstream ‘arena rock style’; but again the titles are sorrowful—Low Budget (1979), Give the People What They Want (1981), and State of Confusion (1983). Lowest Common Denominator stuff.
So money had taken over and they had to get caught up in the sterile world of the ‘80s and ‘90s, in order simply to earn a living, as the book says “the Davies brothers cranked out strident, heavy-riffing hard rock that conveyed an attitude of bitter cynicism and world weary disillusionment”.
Then something happened after the millennium that changed Ray Davies. Apart from his marriage to Patricia Crosbie, he went solo and seems to have followed his heart and not the money. Pete Quaife, the original Kinks bassist, passed away on 24 June 2010 and this appears to have had a serious effect on Ray. But even before this he released Other People's Lives in early 2006, Working Man's Café in October 2007, and The Kinks Choral Collection in June 2009, which features a choir; he has worked with the London Philharmonic and the Crouch End Festival Chorus. Other People's Lives was his first top 40 album in the UK since the 1960s. 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. Ray's brother Dave Davies, suffered a stroke on 30 June 2004.
He has been trying to warn people about what is happening for years, the erosion of the British culture, the tragic decline into materialism, violence, isolation, arrogance, aggression and loneliness. He has seen the American nightmare and his fear is that the decline of the US is dragging the UK and many other countries into the abyss. This is not some indulgent short sighted nostalgia trip, he is deadly serious, the UK is going to hell in a hand cart
Ray Davies must at last have seen the Light and it has changed him. 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. The shooting came less than a week after Davies was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. A brush with death, shock. In 2005, Davies released The Tourist, a four-song EP, in the UK; and Thanksgiving Day, a five-song EP, in the US.
You can make this cockney move away from London
Learn a new dance, sing a different song
Make him do-si-do with a different partner
But you can't make him forget where he comes from...................
Cause' I'm a Muswell hillbilly boy
Davies published his "unauthorised autobiography", X-Ray, in 1994.
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- Ray Davies - 1986 A Quiet Life
- Ray Davies - 2009 "NY Choral Concert" (Live Audio)
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1964 All Day And All Of The Night
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1964 I Go to Sleep
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1964 You Really Got me Now
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1964 You still want me
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1965 I'm on an island
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1965 Nothin' In the World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1965 Ring the Bells
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1965 See My friends
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1965 Set Me Free
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1965 Till the End of the Day
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1965 Tired of Waiting
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1966 Fancy
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1966 I’m Not Like Everybody Else
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1966 Rosie Won't You Please Come Home
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1966 Sunny afternoon
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1967 No Return
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1967 Waterloo Sunset
- Ray Davies and the Kinks - 1968 and 2009 Days