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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 December, 2003, 08:09 GMT
Kinks singer's song craft honoured
Ray Davies
Davies led The Kinks to international fame in the 1960s
Ray Davies, one of the UK's most successful and influential singer-songwriters, is awarded a CBE.

Davies, 59, was lead singer and co-founder of The Kinks, one of the most popular rock bands of the 1960s and to many the epitome of swinging London.

Formed with his brother Dave, The Kinks emerged early in the decade to stake their claim among the premier league of British beat bands, second only among some music fans to The Beatles and Rolling Stones.

Davies' wistful tales of love and longing, set to raucous rock riffs and melodic pop tunes, won the band a legion of young fans and established Davies as one of the most important songwriters of his generation.

The Kinks, 1964
The Kinks (with Davies, right) epitomised swinging London
He came bursting on to the scene in 1964, resplendent in red velvet suit and white frilly cuffs, belting out early hits You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night.

The poetic vision of later songs such as Waterloo Sunset, Days and Autumn Almanac offered a snapshot of contemporary life - and a specifically English worldview.

Meanwhile, the band's foppish style and upbeat energy had endeared them to the newly-emerged mod movement alongside contemporaries like The Who and Small Faces.

The Kinks were at the forefront of the "British invasion" of the US (although a row with the US musicians' union saw them barred from the country), and Davies was on his way to becoming a songwriting legend.

He was cited as a major influence on later generations of artists such as Paul Weller at the birth of The Jam; The Pretenders (he was briefly married to singer Chrissie Hynde); and the Blur and Pulp of 1990s Britpop vintage.

Ray Davies, on stage 1995
Davies is seen as quintessentially English
Meanwhile, his songs were covered by acts as diverse as Van Halen, The Stranglers and Kirsty MacColl.

At the height of their fame The Kinks were characterised by a certain volatility and on-stage tension, especially between Davies and his brother.

Davies has documented his episodes of clinical depression, a condition that has blighted so many prolifically creative artists.

Born Raymond Douglas Davies in Muswell Hill, north London, on 21 June, 1944, he remains a versatile artist who has acted, directed and produced shows for the theatre and television.

He played the lead in TV play The Long Distance Piano Player, and was resident composer for the BBC TV series The 11th Hour and Where Was The Spring.

Critical acclaim

In 1983 he directed a film for Channel 4, Return To Waterloo, and later directed and produced a portrait of jazz artist Charles Mingus for the network.

In 1995 he released a semi-fictional memoir called X-Ray to critical acclaim, and has toured internationally with his one-man act The Storyteller, interspersing anecdotes with classic Kinks songs.

In 1990 The Kinks were inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, at the time only the fourth UK group to take the honour behind The Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Who.

Later that year they received the Ivor Novello award for outstanding services to British music.

In 2002 Davies won hordes of new admirers by performing some of his best-loved songs in front of The Queen at her Golden Jubilee party.




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