David Russell Gordon Davies (born 3 February 1947) is an English guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was the lead guitarist and backing vocalist for the English Rock music band the Kinks, which also featured his elder brother Ray Davies. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 as a member of the Kinks.
Davies is prolific with his innovative nature on the electric guitar, specifically in being one of the first to utilize electric guitar distortion and exposing the effect to the mainstream. His signature distorted power chord riffs on songs would heavily influence future heavy metal and punk rock acts. In 2003, Davies was ranked 91st in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
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.
Ray and Dave Davies remained the only two steady members of the band. They were accompanied by an oft-changing roster of bassists and keyboardists. Dave played a largely subordinate role to his brother, often staying behind the scenes. Dave would make occasional contributions on Kinks records as lead vocalist and songwriter, with classics such as "Party Line" (the lyrics were written by Ray and the song has been attributed to Ray on many editions of "Face to Face"), "Death of a Clown" and "Strangers".
"You Really Got Me" was the band's third released single, the two previous recordings having 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.Storyteller, Koch Records 2006 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 Extended play 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 in Cardiff 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.The Kinks: All Day and All of the Night, Day-By-Day Concerts, Recordings, etc., by Doug Hinman 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 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.
"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 the next single, but it 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 Russell Smith & 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. Many of these tracks had been assembled previously for The Album That Never Was, released in 1987.
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.
The Kinks left RCA Records in 1977, switching to Arista Records. 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."This Man He Laughs Tonight", interview with Dave Davies by Dave Schulps, Trouser Press, August 1980
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. It 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" at the Islington Assembly Hall in London on 18 December 2015. Rolling Stone magazine called their performance "rousing".
Davies released his first true solo studio album in twenty years, Bug, in 2002. Fractured Mindz followed in January 2007. 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. 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. 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. He embarked on a solo tour to promote the album in the US in October and November. On 18 December, at his concert at the Islington Assembly Hall in London, he was joined onstage by Ray 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.
Dave has continued to tour to acclaimed reviews in the US as of 2018.
Davies commented on his Flying V:
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 published an autobiography, entitled Kink in 1996, in which he discussed his bisexuality and brief relationships with Long John Baldry and music producer Michael Aldred in the late 1960s. 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 near Euston Square tube station. Davies was released from the hospital on 27 August. 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.
A second autobiography, Living on a Thin Line (), was released in July 2022. The book's title is shared by a The Kinks track released in 1984. Davies details in the book how in 1982, while on tour in the US, he started hearing voices. He claims that those voices were alien in origin and the aliens, who he named "the intelligences", controlled both his body and mind. Davies also discusses his habit of leaving wives and children when better offers become available.
|1967||"Death of a Clown"||3||37||5||3||2||10||—||7|
|January 1968||"Susannah's Still Alive"||20||—||—||27||10||—||18||3|
|July 1968||"Lincoln County"UK releases: "Lincoln County" and "Hold My Hand" were UK/European releases and were not released as singles in the U.S.||—||—||—||—||15||—||—||—|
|January 1969||"Hold My Hand"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory|
|2012||"My Generation"||Who Are You: An All Star Tribute to The Who||with Knox and Rat Scabies|