Ray Davies, legendary frontman of The Kinks, is one of the all-time greatest rock and roll musicians — and also one of its most troubled.
In the summer of 1964, aged twenty, Ray launched The Kinks into the whirlwind of drink, drugs and sex that was fame in the Swinging Sixties with his radical number one hit "You Really Got Me". Two weeks later they were playing with The Beatles and being supported by The Who, swamped by fans and fast becoming renowned for the rioting at their gigs. Over the next thirty years, Davies wrote a string of enduring classics —- "All Day and All of the Night," "Sunny Afternoon," "Waterloo Sunset" — and concept albums, such as The Village Green Preservation Society, whose influence can be heard directly in the music of Blur, Oasis, Pulp and Elastica in the 1990s.
But Ray's journey from East End poverty to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame was tumultuous in the extreme, featuring psychiatric breakdowns, bitter lawsuits and spectacular punch-ups. He has been knocked unconscious mid-performance, arrested for fraudulently impersonating himself and shot through the leg in New Orleans. His relationship with his brother Dave, The Kinks' lead guitarist, is surely the most ferocious and abusive in music history. And yet this master of social observation and prolific writer of songs, albums, TV films and stage musicals is widely acknowledged as one of the handful of people to have redefined pop culture over the last fifty years.
Based on hundreds of interviews conducted over several decades, this richly detailed, intimate and revelatory account promises to be the definitive account of this most fascinating and complicated life.