Promotional photo of Davies in 1971
|Birth name||David Russell Gordon Davies|
|Born||3 February 1947|
Fortis Green, London, England
|Associated acts||The Kinks|
David Russell Gordon Davies (born 3 February 1947) is an English singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is the lead guitarist and backing singer (occasionally singing lead) for English rock band the Kinks, which also features his elder brother Sir Ray Davies.
The Kinks are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s. The band emerged during the height of British rhythm and blues and Merseybeat, and were briefly part of the British Invasion of the United States until their touring ban in 1965. Their third single, the Ray Davies-penned "You Really Got Me", became an international hit, topping the charts in the United Kingdom and reaching the Top 10 in the United States. Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres, including rhythm and blues, British music hall, folk and country. They gained a reputation for reflecting English culture and lifestyle, fuelled by Ray Davies' wittily observational writing style, and are considered one of the most influential groups of the period.
Sir Raymond Douglas Davies, is an English singer, songwriter and musician. He is the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the Kinks, which he leads with his younger brother, Dave. He has also acted, directed and produced shows for theatre and television. He is often referred to as "the godfather of Britpop". After the dissolution of the Kinks in 1996, Davies embarked on a solo career.
In 2003, Davies was ranked 91st in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California, in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first known for its musical coverage of rock music and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine broadened and shifted its focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. It has returned to its traditional mix of content, including music, entertainment, and politics.
David Russell Gordon Davies was born at 6 Denmark Terrace, Muswell Hill, North London.He was born the last of eight children, including six elder sisters and an elder brother, later bandmate Ray. As children, the Davies brothers were immersed in a world of different musical styles, from the music hall of their parents' generation, to the jazz and early rock n' roll that their older sisters listened to. The siblings developed a rivalry early on, with both brothers competing for their parents' and sisters' attention.
Muswell Hill is a suburban district of north London. It is mainly in the London Borough of Haringey with a small part in the London Borough of Barnet. It is between Highgate, Hampstead Garden Suburb, East Finchley and Crouch End. It has many streets with Edwardian architecture.
North London is an informally and inexactly defined part of London, England which covers some of the area of the capital lying north of the River Thames. North London extends from Clerkenwell and Finsbury on the edge of the City of London financial district, to Greater London's boundary with Hertfordshire. North London is an imprecise description and the area it covers is defined differently for a range of purposes. Common to these definitions is that it includes districts north of the River Thames and is used in comparison with South London. However, it is also often used in comparisons with Central London, East London and West London. There is also a northern postal area but this includes some areas not normally described as part of North London, while excluding many others that are.
Music hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment that was popular from the early Victorian era, beginning around 1850. It ended, arguably, after the First World War, when the halls rebranded their entertainment as variety. Perceptions of a distinction in Britain between bold and scandalous Victorian Music Hall and subsequent, more respectable Variety differ. Music hall involved a mixture of popular songs, comedy, speciality acts, and variety entertainment. The term is derived from a type of theatre or venue in which such entertainment took place. In North America vaudeville was in some ways analogous to British music hall, featuring rousing songs and comic acts.
Davies grew up playing skiffle, but soon bought an electric guitar and started experimenting with rock.The Davies brothers and friend Pete Quaife jammed together in the front room of their house. Activities in the Davies household centred around this front room, culminating in large parties, where the parents would sing and play piano together. The front room and these parties were musically nurturing to the Davies brothers, later influencing the Kinks' interpretations of the traditional British music hall style. Dave and his brother worked out the famous two-chord riff of their 1964 hit "You Really Got Me" on the piano in the front room.
Skiffle is a music genre with jazz, blues and American folk influences, usually using a combination of manufactured and homemade or improvised instruments. Originating as a term in the United States in the first half of the 20th century, it became extremely popular again in the UK in the 1950s, where it was associated with artists such as Lonnie Donegan, The Vipers Skiffle Group, Ken Colyer and Chas McDevitt. Skiffle played a major part in beginning the careers of later eminent jazz, pop, blues, folk and rock musicians such as The Beatles and Rory Gallagher. It has been seen as a critical stepping stone to the second British folk revival, blues boom and British Invasion of the US popular music scene.
Peter Alexander Greenlaw Quaife was an English musician, artist and author. He was a founding member and the original bass guitarist for The Kinks, from 1963 until 1969. He also sang backing vocals on some of their records.
"You Really Got Me" is a song written by Ray Davies for English rock band the Kinks. The song, originally performed in a more blues-oriented style, was inspired by artists such as Lead Belly and Big Bill Broonzy. Two versions of the song were recorded, with the second performance being used for the final single. Although it was rumoured that future Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page had performed the song's guitar solo, the myth has since been proven false.
Davies founded the Kinks with Pete Quaife in 1963. His brother Ray, who became the best-known member and de facto leader of the band, joined soon after.The quartet was formed when drummer Mick Avory joined. Dave Davies had a turbulent relationship with Avory, one of the reasons behind the latter's departure from the band in the mid-1980s, although the two had been housemates together in the mid-1960s.
Michael Charles Avory is an English musician, best known as the longtime drummer and percussionist for the English rock band the Kinks. He joined them shortly after their formation in 1964 and remained with them until 1984, when he left amid creative friction with guitarist Dave Davies. He is the longest-serving member of the band, apart from the Davies brothers.
Ray and Dave Davies remained the only two steady members of the band(with the exception of Avory until his departure) throughout their run together. They were accompanied by an oft-changing roster of bassists and keyboardists. Davies played a largely subordinate role to his brother, often staying behind the scenes. Davies would make occasional contributions on Kinks records as lead vocalist and songwriter, with classics such as "Party Line" (the lyrics were written by Ray Davies and the song has been attributed to Ray on many editions of "Face to Face"), "Death of a Clown" and "Strangers".
"Death of a Clown" is a song by Dave Davies, member of British rock group The Kinks, released as his debut solo single in 1967. The song was co-written with his brother Ray Davies, who contributed the 5-bar "La la la" hook; Ray's first wife, Rasa, sings this phrase as well as descant in the second verse, while Ray himself sings harmony in the refrain. Nicky Hopkins played the distinctive introduction, using fingerpicks on the strings of a piano. The single was credited to Dave Davies but the song also appeared on the Kinks' album Something Else by The Kinks, released later in 1967.
Davies was solely responsible for the signature distorted power chord sound on the Kinks' first hit, "You Really Got Me".He achieved the sound by using a razor blade to slit the speaker cone on his Elpico amplifier, which he then ran through a larger Vox as a "pre-amp". This sound was one of the first mainstream appearances of guitar distortion, which was to have a major influence on many later musicians, especially in heavy metal and punk rock.
"You Really Got Me" was the band's third released single, after two previous recordings that failed to chart. They had a three-single contract with Pye Records, and needed a hit to get another. Pye didn't like the song and refused to pay for studio time.The band arranged other financial support to cut the single, which became a hit, topping the charts in the UK and reaching number 7 in the US.
The Kinks released three albums and several EPs in the next two years. They also performed and toured relentlessly, headlining package tours with the likes of The Yardbirds and The Mickey Finn, which caused tension within the band.Some legendary on-stage fights erupted during this time as well. The most notorious incident was at the Capitol Theatre, Cardiff, Wales, in May 1965, involving drummer Mick Avory and Dave Davies. The fight broke out during the second number of the set, "Beautiful Delilah". It culminated with Davies insulting Avory and kicking over his drum set after finishing the first song, "You Really Got Me". Avory responded by knocking down Davies with his hi-hat stand, rendering him unconscious. He then fled from the scene, and Davies was taken to Cardiff Royal Infirmary, where he received 16 stitches to the head. Avory later claimed that it was part of a new act in which the band members would hurl their instruments at each other.
During the late 1960s the group steadily evolved, as Ray's songwriting skills developed and he began to lead the group in a whole new direction.The group abandoned the traditional R&B/blues sound and adopted a more nostalgic, reflective style of music, as showcased on songs like "Autumn Almanac" and "Waterloo Sunset", as well as their albums, such as Something Else by the Kinks and The Village Green Preservation Society .
In July 1967, Davies released his first solo single, credited entirely under his name, (although co-written by his brother) entitled ‘’Death of a Clown’’. In the past, as a member of the Kinks, Dave Davies had only released his own compositions on B-sides and as part of albums. The Kinks' record label sensed potential sales in a solo release from the overlooked Davies and issued "Death of a Clown" as his debut. Although credited to Davies, it was technically a Kinks recording, as his backing band was the Kinks.
"Death of a Clown" rose to number three on the UK Singles Chart. Wanting to profit from the new buzz suddenly surrounding Davies, a solo LP was slated for release sometime in 1968 or 1969.The follow-up single, "Susannah's Still Alive", was released in November 1967; however, it only reached number 20 on the Melody Maker chart. The release of the solo album was held back, and it was decided to wait and see how another single would fare. As anticipation grew for the release of the new LP, it was nicknamed A Hole in the Sock Of. "Lincoln County" was chosen as Davies's next single, but failed to chart. By the time a fourth single "Hold My Hand" met with the same result, a combination of his own lack of interest in continuing and Pye's decision to stop killed off any hopes of an album.
Eventually, the tracks intended for his first solo album were assembled for a 2011 compilation by Andrew Sandoval entitled Hidden Treasures. It combined the singles, B-sides that were released for various Kinks singles and a handful of album tracks that Davies had recorded for Kinks albums. Three tracks included on Hidden Treasures had never been released before until this compilation "Do You Wish To Be a Man", "Crying" and "Are You Ready". Many of these tracks had been assembled previously for The Album That Never Was, released in 1987, but this album primarily consisted of the released singles and B-sides that Davies recorded and released from 1967 to 1969.
The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur were released in 1968 and 1969, respectively.Although they received unanimous acclaim, Village Green failed to chart internationally, and Arthur was met with a mediocre commercial reception. These records, although praised by critics and the rock press, were commercial failures.
After Arthur, the Kinks made a comeback with their hit single "Lola" and the accompanying concept album Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One in 1970. Dave recorded two songs of his own for this LP, the acoustic "Strangers" and the hard-rocking "Rats". The rootsy Muswell Hillbillies , themed on country-rock and Americana, was released in late 1971 and was well-received with critics, but failed to sell strongly. The band's next five albums, Everybody's in Show-Biz , Preservation: Act 1 , Preservation: Act 2 , The Kinks Present A Soap Opera and Schoolboys in Disgrace , which added a large theatrical ensemble, were critical and commercial failures.
The Kinks left RCA Records in 1977, switching to Arista.The group shed all of the extra backing vocalists and brass instrumentalists that had accompanied them throughout their theatrical years, and reverted to a five-piece rock group again. Their debut LP for Arista was entitled Sleepwalker , and was a commercial and critical comeback for the group. It was the first album in what critics usually call the "arena rock" phase of the group, in which more commercial and mainstream production techniques would be employed. Dave later commented that he was glad to be back to more guitar-oriented songs, and he has listed Sleepwalker as one of his favourites. His composition and earnest, almost desperate lead vocals, not to mention his particularly ripping lead guitar sound, led to airplay — especially on college stations — for his idealistic "Trust Your Heart" on the 1978 Misfits album.
Davies saw the band through both success and failure, as they reached their commercial peak in the early 1980s. The group began adjusting their commercial methods, embracing the MTV culture that was selling records at the time. The music video for their 1982/83 single "Come Dancing" helped hoist the record to number 12 on the UK chart, and number 6 in the US — their biggest hit since "Tired of Waiting for You" in 1965.
The Kinks' popularity faltered in 1985, and soon their records ceased to chart altogether. Mick Avory left the band after the Kinks' last album for Arista, Word of Mouth , mainly due to the growing animosity between him and Dave Davies.Bob Henrit was brought in to take Avory's place. At the invitation of Ray Davies, Avory agreed to manage Konk Studios, where he also served as a producer and occasional contributor on later Kinks albums.
The group switched to MCA (US) and London (UK) records in late 1985, and began work on their next album, Think Visual . The record was released in 1986, but only reached number 81 on the Billboard charts. Critics were lukewarm towards it, and it did not receive significant radio play. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic.com later commented that the album "represented an artistic dead end for the Kinks, as Ray Davies continued to crank out a series of competent, but undistinguished hard rockers." Dave Davies contributed two songs to Think Visual, "Rock 'n' Roll Cities" and "When You were a Child".
The group recorded several more records for MCA, their last studio effort for them being 1989's UK Jive . UK Jive was received slightly better than Think Visual, but it failed to enter into the Top 100. Dave Davies contributed the song "Dear Margaret" to the vinyl record — the cassette and CD of the album also contained two further Dave Davies songs, "Bright Lights" and "Perfect Strangers".
The group left MCA and struggled to find a record label that would accept them. All four original members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, but this failed to revive their career. Eventually the Kinks signed to Columbia records, who released their final studio album together, Phobia , on 13 April 1993. Despite publicity and press attention, the record was unsuccessful, peaking at number 166. Singles released failed to chart as well. To Phobia Davies contributed the songs "It's Alright (Don't Think About It)" and "Close to the Wire".
Columbia dropped the group in 1994, forcing them to retreat back to their old Konk Records. The group released To The Bone on the small independent Grapevine Records in 1994.
The Kinks took a break from recording and touring in 1996. Ray and Dave reunited onstage to perform "You Really Got Me" onstage at the Islington Assembly Hall in London on 18 December 2015. Rolling Stone magazine called their performance "rousing".
After the aborted solo effort, Davies's solo career was not revived until 1980, with the release of Dave Davies (AFL1-3603), which featured Davies performing all the instruments by himself. The album, named after its own serial number, peaked at number 42 on the Billboard 200. He went on to release Glamour (1981), which charted at number 152. Davies brought in a back-up band to play with him on this record. Chosen People was released in 1983, but failed to crack the Billboard 200.
Davies released his first true solo studio album in twenty years, Bug , in 2002. Fractured Mindz followed in January 2007, his first album of all new material in nearly five years. It was also his first new studio effort since his stroke in the summer of 2004 besides the track "God in my Brain" (which was recorded and released on the compilation album Kinked in January 2006).
Two Worlds was recorded throughout 2010 by The Aschere Project, the production team of Dave Davies and his son Russ Davies.Both members wrote, produced, and recorded all the tracks. About the album's genre, Dave stated "it’s a mixture of rock, kinda classical and electronic music." In February 2010, Davies released an autobiographical DVD filmed by his other son, titled Mystical Journey. His planned US tour in support of the release was postponed per doctor's advice. It was announced in February 2013 that on 4 June 2013, Davies would be releasing his sixth studio album entitled I Will Be Me worldwide. Davies undertook a short tour of the US to promote the album. Dave Davies performed his first UK show in thirteen years in February 2014. In October 2014, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Kinks, a new album by Davies, with many tracks looking back to the start of the band, titled Rippin' Up Time was released. Davies appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to promote the album in 2014. This episode was the highest rated Tonight Show episode in 2014.
In 2015, the Dave Davies solo album Rippin Up New York City was released on Red River Entertainment. Dave Davies embarked on a solo tour to promote the album in the USA in October and November. On 18 December, at his concert at the Islington Assembly Hall in London, he was joined onstage by brother Ray Davies to perform the Kinks' hit "You Really Got Me" together. This marked the first time in nearly 20 years that the brothers had appeared and performed together.Other band members included Jonathan Lea on second guitar, Tom Currier on bass, Dennis Diken of the Smithereens on drums, and Debi Doss and Rebecca Wilson on backing vocals.
Dave has continued to tour to acclaimed reviews in the USA as of 2018.
Davies has played a number of guitars over time, the most recognizable of which is his Gibson Flying V. Davies bought it in 1965,and soon began appearing live and on TV performances with it. Davies was one of the few guitarists who played Flying Vs at the time. It was, in that period, out of issue due to lack of interest upon its 1958 test release, and models were numbered. Guitarists like Lonnie Mack, Jimi Hendrix, Albert King and Davies himself helped stir interest in the instrument, and it would eventually become one of the signature guitars of the heavy metal era.
Davies commented on his Flying V:
I used to play a Guild custom built guitar and the airline lost it on our first American tour in '64 or '65. ... I had to get a replacement quick. I went into a store and they didn't have anything I liked. I saw this dusty old guitar case and I said "What have you got in there?" he said "Oh, that's just some silly old guitar." He got it out and I bought it for about $60.
Davies has played many other guitars throughout his career. He has played several models of Gibson Les Pauls over time, including a "Goldtop" model with P90 pickups and a black '78 model. On his website he lists the following:
Davies was expelled from school at the age of fifteen after being caught having sexual intercourse with his girlfriend, Sue Sheehan,on Hampstead Heath. Shortly thereafter, they were forced to separate by their respective families after Sheehan found out she was pregnant. Their relationship had a profound impact on Davies, who wrote a number of songs about their separation including "Funny Face", "Suzannah's Still Alive", and "Mindless Child of Motherhood". In 1967, Davies married Lisbet (a cousin of Pete Quaife's first wife, Annette) and they divorced in 1990. From that marriage, Davies has four sons: Martin, Simon, Christian, and Russell. His three children Daniel, Lana, and Eddie are from a relationship with Nancy Evans. Dave briefly reunited with Sue Sheehan in the late 90s.
Davies published an autobiography, entitled Kink, in 1996, in which he discussed a brief period of bisexuality in the late 1960s, which included brief relationships with Long John Baldry and music producer Michael Aldred. He also wrote of the tense professional relationship with his brother over the Kinks' career.
On 30 June 2004, Davies suffered a stroke while exiting a lift at Broadcasting House, where he had been promoting his album, Bug . He was taken to University College Hospital in Euston. Davies was released from the hospital on 27 August. Davies said in a 2006 interview
Suddenly the right hand side of my body seized up and I couldn't move my arm or leg. Although I didn't lose consciousness, I couldn't speak. Luckily my son Christian and my publicist were there, so they carried me outside and called an ambulance.
By 2006, Davies had recovered enough to be able to walk, talk and play the guitar.
In September 2013 Rolling Stone magazine wrote about Davies and his girlfriend Rebecca G. Wilson.She contributed backing vocals to the songs "Front Room" and "King of Karaoke". Since 2014, Wilson has gone on tour as Dave's backup singer.
|Release date||Title||Chart positions|
|UK Singles Chart||US Billboard Hot 100||Australia||Belgium||Canada||Germany||Netherlands||New Zealand||Sweden||Norway|
|1967||"Death of a Clown"||3||31||5||3||2||10||7|
|January 1968||"Susannah's Still Alive"||20||18||27||10||18||3|
|July 1968||"Lincoln County"||15|
|January 1969||"Hold My Hand"|
Face to Face is the fourth studio album by the English rock band the Kinks, released in October 1966. The album marked the band's shift from the hard-driving style of beat music that had catapulted them to international acclaim in 1964. Being their first album consisting entirely of Ray Davies compositions, it has also been regarded by critics as rock's first concept album. The album was included in Robert Christgau's "Basic Record Library" of 1950s and 1960s recordings, published in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981).
Arthur is the seventh studio album by English rock band the Kinks, released in October 1969. Kinks frontman Ray Davies constructed the concept album as the soundtrack to a Granada Television play and developed the storyline with novelist Julian Mitchell; however, the television programme was cancelled and never produced. The rough plot revolved around Arthur Morgan, a carpet-layer, who was based on Ray and guitarist Dave Davies' brother-in-law Arthur Anning. A mono version was released in the UK, but not in the US. It is now available on the 2011 deluxe-edition re-issue.
"Lola" is a song written by Ray Davies and performed by English rock band the Kinks on their album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One. The song details a romantic encounter between a young man and a possible transvestite, whom he meets in a club in Soho, London. In the song, the narrator describes his confusion towards Lola, who "walked like a woman but talked like a man". Although Ray Davies claims that the incident was inspired by a true encounter experienced by the band's manager, alternative explanations for the song have been given by drummer Mick Avory.
Kinda Kinks is the second album by English rock band The Kinks, released in 1965. Recorded and released within two weeks after returning from a tour in Asia, Ray Davies and the band were not satisfied with the production. The single "Tired of Waiting for You" was a #1 hit on the UK Singles Charts.
The Kink Kontroversy is the third studio album by English rock band The Kinks, released on 26 November 1965 in the United Kingdom and in March 1966 in the United States. It is a transitional work, with elements of both the earlier Kinks' styles and early indications of the future direction of Ray Davies' songwriting styles. The liner notes were written by Michael Aldred.
"Apeman" is a 1970 song by the English rock band The Kinks. It was written by Ray Davies and appears on the album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One.
Misfits is the sixteenth studio album by the English rock band The Kinks. The album was released in 1978. Following the minor success of Sleepwalker in the United States, Misfits featured a more rock-oriented style than many other Kinks records of the 1970s. Despite internal conflicts within the band, leading to both bassist Andy Pyle and pianist John Gosling quitting the band, the album made the Top 40 in America. The album also contained the minor hit single "A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy", as well as less successful releases "Live Life" and "Black Messiah".
State of Confusion is the nineteenth studio album by the English rock group, The Kinks, released in 1983. The record featured the single "Come Dancing", which hit #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was one of the band's biggest hit singles in the United States, equaling the 1965 peak of "Tired of Waiting for You". The album itself was a major success, peaking at #12 on the Billboard album charts.
"Susannah's Still Alive" is a song by the British rock group The Kinks, composed and sung by their guitarist Dave Davies. It was one of the few Kinks songs that was written by Dave, the brother of lead singer and songwriter Ray Davies. The single was credited solely to Dave Davies and featured all of The Kinks as his backing band. It was a hit but it did not live up to the expectations of Davies' last single "Death of a Clown", which was a Top 5 hit. It failed to chart in the US, but was a significant success in Europe, reaching #10 in the Netherlands, #27 in Germany, #18 in Belgium and #18 in Sweden. Although it was never featured on an LP, its B-side "Funny Face" was included on The Kinks' 1967 album Something Else by The Kinks.
"Come Dancing" is a 1982 song written by Ray Davies and performed by British rock group the Kinks on their 1983 album State of Confusion. The song was inspired by Davies' memories of his older sister, Rene, who died of a heart attack while dancing at a dance hall. The lyrics, sung from the perspective of an "East End barrow boy," are about the boy's sister going on dates at a local Palais dance hall.
"Picture Book" is the third track from The Kinks' album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. Written by Ray Davies, the song looks back at pictures in a picture book. The song also saw a single release as the B-side to "Starstruck" in multiple countries.
"20th Century Man" is a song recorded by British rock band The Kinks. It was released as a single in December 1971 from the band's 1971 LP Muswell Hillbillies, an album with blues and country roots. It centered on such themes as poverty, housing development, alienation, the welfare state, and other troubles of the modern world.
Live at Kelvin Hall is a 1967/68 live album by British rock group The Kinks. It was recorded at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, Scotland, in early 1967. The album was released in August 1967 in the US, and January 1968 in the UK. Live at Kelvin Hall received mixed reviews upon release, and sold poorly.
Do It Again is a song by British rock band the Kinks. Written by lead singer Ray Davies, the song was released as the first track on The Kinks's album, Word of Mouth. It was released as a single after the album's release.
"A Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy" is the lead single and fourth track from The Kinks' 1978 album Misfits. Written by Ray Davies, the song was inspired by the band's then-tumultuous state at the time, with two members leaving the band during the recording of Misfits. Released as the first single from the album, the track was the band's most successful single in years, reaching number 30.
"Rock 'n' Roll Cities" is a song by the British rock group, the Kinks. The song appeared on the band's 1986 album, Think Visual, and, unlike most other Kinks songs, it was written by Dave Davies rather than his brother, Ray.