Origin: Fortis Green, London, UK
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Sir Raymond Douglas Davies, CBE (pronounced day-viz) is an English musician born in 1944. He was the rhythm guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for The Kinks, which he led from 1963 to 1996 with his younger brother, Dave.
In 1973, Davies attempted suicide by overdose following the breakup of his first marriage. He was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. When the Kinks broke up in 1996, Davies embarked on a solo career as a singer-songwriter.
Ray got a head start with his observations in song in 1985 when he released Return to Waterloo accompanied by a television film he wrote and directed and the 1998 release of The Storyteller. Ray survived Y2K and issued Other People’s Lives in early 2006 and a year later, Working Man’s Cafe. His new album, “Americana,” is available late this April.
Real life continued to make Ray’s life interesting in January, 2004, when 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.
Ray’s writing goes beyond music. Davies published his “unauthorised 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 three films, Return to Waterloo in 1985, Weird Nightmare (a documentary about Charles Mingus) in 1991, and Americana (subtitled “A Work In Progress”) which was included on DVD with the Working Man’s Cafe disc release in 2008.
In 1990, Davies and the Kinks were the third British band (along with the Who) to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, at which Davies was called “almost indisputably rock’s most literate, witty and insightful songwriter.”
British royalty bestowed knighthood on Ray Davies in the 2017 New Year Honours for “services to the arts.”
Return to Waterloo (1985)
The Storyteller (1998)
Other People’s Lives (2006)
Working Man’s Café (2007)
Americana (2017) (Drops: April 21st)