The Ray and Dave Davies were born and raised in Muswell Hill, London and began playing skiffle as teenagers with their friends Peter Quaife (bass), and Mickey Willet (drums). Ray (vocals/guitar/piano) and Dave (guitar/vocals) completed the line-up. The year was 1963 and the band was known as the Ravens but when a Pye Records producer heard the Ravens demo disc he helped them get a contract with the label. Pye insisted Mick Avory would replace the original drummer and the group were renamed the Kinks. Their first single was a cover of Long Tall Sally (Little Richard) but failed to impact, as did their second single, "You Still Want Me."
The group took a new direction appeared on stage in red fox hunting jackets and jodhpurs with riding boots. Now every bit “kinky” their third single featured a savage, up tempo rocker along with a fuzz-toned, two-chord riff and a frenzied solo from Dave Davies. "You Really Got Me," reached number one.
The same formula was repeated with the follow up hit All day and all of the night.
For the next two years Ray Davies emerged as a songwriter of startling originality with the Kinks rarely out of the singles and album charts. Early in 1965, the group returned to number 1 with 'Tired Of Waiting For Ypu', the Kinks had a punishing tour schedule which caused much angst.
At the end of the American tour in 1965, the group ran into difficulties and were prohibited from returning to the country for four years. No reason was ever given. In 1966 the Kink’s music took on a more English feel as the sage Ray, the band’s song writer, took inspiration from music hall, country, and English folk. 'Dedicated Follower Of Fashion' brilliantly satirized Carnaby Street narcissism while 'Sunny Afternoon' (another UK number 1) dealt with capitalism and class and 'Dead End Street' at the end of 1966 highlighted the plight of the working class poor.
Despite their musical growth the Kinks record sales were in decline. "Autumn Almanac," reinstated them as a respectable pop group with another chart entry but their commercial success as a pop outfit declined at the end of the sixties and John Galton replaced Peter Quaife when he left the band in 1968.
Ray was experimenting more and more with conceptional themes as the Kinks transcended from pop to progressive. The album The Village Green Preservation Society was well-received by US critics.
The band could now return to the US because the American ban was lifted and decided tour turning their attentions to the music interests of adult American audiences. John Gosling joined the band as keyboard player and the group released Lola. The Kinks had chart success in the UK and the US as they began to establish themselves as classy live performers on the American circuit.
Label changes meant competing releases all featuring retro Kinks but the band meantime became involved in composing and performing a rock opera. The Who’s Tommy was enjoying vogue at the time and Ray was convinced there was a market for conceptual music. During the seventies onwards many lineup changes took place. Come dancing was their last chart entry in 1983.
Sibling rivalry meant Dave and Ray were never comfortable working together and when Dave Davis left the Kinks to pursue a solo career he scored considerable success. Ray continues to perform and record. Ray Davis was Knighted in the New Years Honours List 2017.
Worth a listen :
You really got me (1964)
All Day and All of the Night (1964)
Tired of waiting for you (1965 )
Dedicated Follower of fashion (1966)
Sunny afternoon (1966)
Dead end street (1966)
Autumn almanac (1967)
Come dancing (1983)