THE Kinks, fronted by Ray Davies, were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame before disbanding in 1996.
Ray has performed solo since then. His songs have been covered by The Stranglers, The Jam and Herman’s Hermits among others.
He has a CBE and received a Knighthood in the New Year Honours List. We chatted before it was announced.
Are you very self driven?
Yes, but I do listen to everyone else’s ideas before making my mind up. I respect the opinions of others.
Name a singer you like that would surprise me?
I loved Andy Williams. He had great style and an ability to handle any song and make it his own. I never wanted to be a singer. My brother is better at it than I am.
Do you cringe when you hear others do your songs?
No. I can’t think of any bad cover versions. I always think the artists are doing their best. No one’s done a send up.
What’s the most unusual cover you’ve heard?
I remember a lesbian band in Canada who covered Lola. That was good. And there’s a fabulous all girl band called The Minks who do a Kinks tribute act. Wonderful! Their motto is “The Kinks, but much less ladylike” (laughs).
With your CBE who did you take to the Palace?
I took my daughter who was around eight, and my two older sisters. I found out I had been awarded it when I was in a Louisiana hospital. My neighbour rang to congratulate me.
Did you think twice about accepting an honour?
My family lived through the Blitz, and my grandfather was in the army, so I decided they would think it was the right thing to do. There’s an element of me that’s quite the traditionalist. I’d rather have a cup of tea than champagne.
Are you comfortable as a public person?
It’s a shock whenever my private life is in the newspapers. My relationship with Chrissie Hynde for instance. But that turned out OK in the end. After we parted we still recorded together, shook hands in the studio, and she left.
What do you see as the purpose of music?
I think it’s to broaden people’s minds. To make them think that life has opportunities. I’d like to believe, right to the very end, that life has possibilities for us all.
Describe the world of Ray Davies.
It’s a world of dreams. I’ve always gone through life thinking “Let’s just see where the dream takes me.”
You have 24 hours to live. How do you spend the time?
I’d just try to make the people around me as happy as possible as that would be their last memory of me. I’d also play some fun, happy, positive music. Nothing depressing. No Mahler.