As a boy in post-War England, legendary Kinks’ singer/songwriter Ray Davies was fascinated by America—ts movies and music, its culture of freedom, fed his imagination. Then, as part of the British Invasion, he toured the US with the Kinks during one of the most tumultuous eras in recent history—until the Kinks were banned from performing there from 1965-69. Many tours and trips later, he experienced a transformative event in New Orleans when he was shot during a botched robbery. From his quintessentially English perspective as songwriter for the Kinks, Davies explores in Americana his feelings—love, confusion, and fascination—toward the country that both inspires and frustrates him. With candor, humor, and wit, he takes us on a very personal road trip through his life and storied career as a rock writer-performer, and reveals what music, fame, and America really mean to him. Some of the most fascinating characters in recent pop culture make appearances, from the famous to the perhaps even-more-interesting behind-the-scenes players. The book also includes a photographic insert with many images from Davies’s own collection.
“The Kinks frontman published X-Ray, his ‘unauthorized autobiography,’ in 1994, long before his peers started telling their own tales of decadence and recovery. Americana is alternately a sequel and parallel companion piece to X-Ray, chronicling his later years and his lifelong relationship with the country and culture that inspired him. . . . Davies is candid and honest about his personal and creative struggles. . . . [He writes] ‘the immovable “You” is always there, whether you like it or not.’” —The New York Times About the Author
Iconic rock singer-songwriter Ray Davies inspired generations of musicians—from the Who, the Clash, and the Ramones to Black Sabbath—as lead singer and songwriter of the Kinks. The band’s string of international hits include “You Really Got Me,” “All Day and All of the Night,” “Till the End of the Day,” “Come Dancing,” and of course, “Lola.” In 1990, the Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Davies has also acted, directed, and produced shows for theater and television. Since the Kinks disbanded he has embarked on a solo career and continues to tour and record. Davies was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2004, and in 2012, his performance of the Kinks song “Waterloo Sunset” was a highlight of the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. On his most recent album, See My Friends (2011), he collaborated with such artists as Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, and Jon Bon Jovi. Davies was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June 2014, and his Kinks-themed stage musical, Sunny Afternoon, is now playing on the West End in London and crowned best new musical at the Olivier Awards in April 2015. It also won Oliviers for best actor and best supporting actor in the musical category, and Ray Davies received a special outstanding achievement award for the Sunny Afternoon score.