The Kinks’ Ray Davies never wanted to be a frontman

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The Kinks became rock ‘n’ roll superstars with Ray Davies as lead vocalist, but he says that was never really his ambition when he started playing music.

In an interview with The Sun, Ray says he wanted to be just like some of his musical heroes, like Chet Atkins and jazz guitarist Tal Farlow, “and just sit at the side playing guitar and let other people do the hard work.” Ray notes, “I thought there was too much responsibility in being a frontman so I tried to give the job to (brother) Dave (Davies) but he didn’t accept it.”

Ray also says their label “thought I had good diction in the days when manners prevailed,” recalling that they told him, “My dear boy, you should be the singer.”

Ray is promoting The Kinks’ recently released compilation album The Journey – Part 1, which features songs handpicked by him, Dave and Mick Avory. He also talked to the paper about some of their biggest hits, including 1964’s “You Really Got Me,” which he says almost didn’t get released. 

“The record company didn’t want us to put it out because they thought it was too aggressive,” he says. “I don’t know what they’d do with it in today’s world.”

The Journey – Part 1 is part of the band’s 60th anniversary celebration. The Journey – Part 2 is expected to come out later this year, along with other events and activities celebrating the anniversary happening throughout 2023 and 2024.

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