Tuesday, July 16, 2013

40 Year Itch: "My name is Ray Davies...and I am dying"

On July 15 1973 Ray Davies told fans at London's White City Stadium he was quitting the Kinks. To quote Davies:

"I'm fucking sick of the whole thing. I'm sick up to here with it."

Looking "haggard and ill" according to Sounds Magazine, Davies was a pill popping freak who describes the theatrical, rock operatic years between 1973 and 1975 as a time "in my life, in my career, when I should not have been allowed to put any records out." In the Summer of '73 his wife Rosa had moved out and taken the kids with her. Davies took more pills, slipped into a depression and had already wound up in a hospital one time after a rumored suicide attempt.

Then came the White City show which Davies recalls in his "unauthorized autobiography" X Ray.

Every song seemed to resonate inside Raymond Douglas. He sang songs like "Holiday", "Celluloid Heroes", "You Really Got Me", "All Day and All of the Night". Each song had a meaning about his own life. There was obviously a lot of self-pity involved, but he could not escape these emotions, there was no escape, this was the real world come tumbling down on Raymond Douglas' fantasyland. At the end of the concert he announced that this was the final concert by the Kinks, but the PA company accidentally turned off the sound system, and so nobody heard the resignation speech. It would have ended with 'The Kinks are dead, I am dead." Well-meaning people helped R.D. away from the stage, but he wished that he had just died.

Davies was still wearing stage make up when he checked into the hospital telling the attending nurse:

"Hello my name is Ray Davies. I am the lead singer of The Kinks. And I am dying"

There was talk of having Dave Davies take over the band but Ray returned for what would be an unproductive period commercially. The albums Preservation Act 1(1973), Preservation Act 2 (1974) Soap Opera (1975) and Schoolboys in Disgrace (1975) each have a song or two to recommend.

From the first album, the US single "Sweet Lady Genevieve" --a true nugget--was released in August of 1973.

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