Ray Davies Biography

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Birth Name: Raymond Douglas Davies
Born: 1944/06/21
Birth Place: Fortis Green, London England
Years Active: 1963-present
Genres: Rock, Hard Rock, Pop

Raymond Douglas “Ray” Davies, CBE (born 21 June 1944, Fortis Green, London) is an English rock musician, best known as lead singer and songwriter for The Kinks, which he led with his younger brother, Dave. He has also acted, directed and produced shows for theatre and television. Since the dissolution of The Kinks in 1996, Ray Davies has embarked on a solo career as a singer-songwriter.

Davies was an art student at Hornsey College of Art in London in 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 early composition “You Really Got Me,” which was released as the band's third single in August of that year.

Davies led the Kinks through a period of musical experimentation between 1966 and 1976, with notable artistic achievements and commercial success. Notable hits for the band included “All Day and All of the Night,” “Tired of Waiting for You,” “Lola,” and “Apeman.” Between 1977 and their break-up 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 “Lola,” “Apeman,” “Destroyer,” “Come Dancing“ and “Do it Again.” The Kinks disbanded in 1996, and Ray Davies has performed solo since then.

1985 saw the release of “Return to Waterloo” his first solo album, which accompanied a television film he wrote and directed. Several of the tracks on the album release were also available in near-identical form on The Kinks 1984 release “Word of Mouth.”

Davies published his “unauthorized autobiography,” “X-Ray,” in 1994. He toured in support of the book’s release, while including background information and stories about the songs he was performing. The successful tour lead to the 1998 release “The Storyteller,” which featured Davies playing classic Kinks songs interspersed with tales about the histories of the hits. Several new songs, including the title track, were also recorded.

In March 2004, Davies received the CBE from Queen Elizabeth II for “Services to Music.” He released “Other People's Lives” in early 2006 which was his first Top 40 album in the U.K. since the 1960s, when he worked with the Kinks. The album also reached #122 on the U.S. Billboard 200 Albums chart.

“Working Man's Café” was released in October 2007. 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 British newspaper “Sunday Times” on October 21, 2007.

A choral album, “The Kinks Choral Collection,” on which Davies had been collaborating with the Crouch End Festival Chorus since 2007, was released in the U.K. in June 2009 and in the U.S. in November 2009. The album features new studio recordings of Ray Davies' compositions, all but one of which were originally recorded by his band The Kinks. The album peaked at #28 on the UK Albums chart.

“See My Friends” featuring studio collaborations of Davies' compositions, which originally were recorded by The Kinks, was released in 2010 in the U.K. and 2011 in the U.S. Among the guests to collaborate on the album include, Billy Corgan, Black Francis, Spoon, Amy Macdonald, Jackson Browne, Metallica, Lucinda Williams, Mumford & Sons, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. Big Star’s Alex Chilton also appeared marking his final studio recording prior to his untimely death. The album peaked at #14 on the U.K. Albums chart.