The Kinks – A Well Respected Man

As Ray Davies recently opined…

Ray Davies says he is delighted to be in the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame as he tells the Hay Festival of his tempestuous times with The Kinks and how they were banned in America – and Wales

Ray Davies will be inducted in the American Songwriters’ Hall of Fame on June 12 and the celebrated singer-songwriter told the Hay Festival audience that it was “a big deal because it means that America has finally accepted the Kinks”.

For tortured contractual reasons and following a sequence of bust-ups, the Kinks were banned from performing in the United States for nearly five years before being allowed back into the country in 1969. “We were dangerous and America felt threatened,” Davies said. “America felt safe until all the Brit bands like us and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones came along in the Sixties. But we helped change America, too. When we returned after the end of our ban the culture had been liberalised. Bands such as the Doors, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention had grabbed back their culture.”

It took a lot of hard work by Ray Davies and his brother Dave to gain popularity, in arduous tours that Davies said were planned like a “military exercise”. The motivation was “vengeance” he said, with a half-smile. {…}

The American ban turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise, Davies, who will be 70 next month, now believes, because it allowed him to focus on creating his own English songs of identity. In this golden period, classics such as Village Green Preservation Society, Waterloo Sunset, Days, Dead End Street, Dedicated Follower of Fashion and Sunny Afternoon were written.

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