Ray Davies was born in London on June 21, 1944. He played his first show along with his brother, Dave Davies, at 16, and at 18 they formed the group that will become The Kinks. In spite of feuds involving the brothers, the group triumphed for 30 years.
He got his first guitar from his earliest sister, Renee, at age 13 and his brother in law gave him guitar lessons. At 16, he performed his first show with his younger brother Dave, as well as the subsequent year, they recruited two classmates to form their very first group, The Ray Davies Quartet.
Fellow classmate Rod Stewart joined the group briefly, and over the the next couple of years, they switched their name to the Ramrods, subsequently Bollweevils and The Ravens, before signing with Pye Records in 1964 and settling on The Kinks.
The subsequent year, they embarked on a tour of Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. The group stopped over in India, and Davies’s experience there led him to compose the tune “See My Friends,” which included Indian designs and was hailed as “extremely powerful” by his musical peers.
Battle was built-in to The Kinks. Davies and his brother had a contentious relationship from youth, as well as their tension could both fuel and interrupt their musical pursuits.
After this, they became known for rowdy onstage antics, as well as in July the American Federation of Musicians refused licenses for members of The Kinks to appear in concert in America. After that year, Davies suffered a nervous breakdown, throwing the group’s future into question. He recuperated in time to release The Kink Kontroversy, the group’s third record.
After being refused entrance to America for four years, Davies flew to La to negociate the group’s reentry into America, and soon after, he wrote and released “Lola,” a tune he is currently known for. He afterwards had to alter the tune’s lyrics from “Coca Cola” to “cherry cola” so that you can get airplay on the BBC.
A couple of years after, the group set up their recording studio, Konk, and Ray Davies shifted gears creatively. He began composing theatrical-style music, such as the rock opera Preservation, and afterwards composed Starmaker, a musical for Granada Television, which transformed to the record, The Kinks Present a Soap Opera. This continued until group changed labels from RCA to Arista in 1976, when Davies left his theatrical style and The Kinks morphed into a “stadium rock” group.
Their 1977 release, Sleepwalker, kicked off another age of clear-cut rock music that earned them a stuffed U.S. tour program, and in 1981 they sold out Madison Square Garden. The group continued to record and tour for 15 years, and was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. The Kinks played their last concert in the Norwegian Wood Festival in Oslo, in June of 1996.
Throughout his career, Davies has additionally acted and composed musicals and choral pieces. Moreover, he released his autobiography, X Ray, in 1994.
Davies wed Rasa Didzeptris in 1964, and they had two daughters. When she left him in 1973, he tried suicide by overdosin on pills. He remarried three years after, but divorced and had a long term engagement with Chryssie Hynde, lead singer of the Pretenders, with whom he had a daughter in 1983.
Davies was given a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004, for “services to music.”