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Ian Anderson’s opinion on Ray Davies and The Kinks

Ian Anderson


Ian Anderson’s opinion on Ray Davies and The Kinks

The Scottish singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ian Anderson is for almost six decades the driving force behind Jethro Tull. The band was formed in 1967 in England and became one of the most influential Progressive Rock groups in the history of music.


Although the band was always focused on that sub-genre, Anderson has a really broad musical taste and already said he likes bands like Motörhead and Ramones, for example. Over the years he gave his opinion on many other artists, including Ray Davies and The Kinks.

What is Ian Anderson’s opinion on Ray Davies and The Kinks

By the time Jethro Tull released their debut album in 1968, The Kinks were already one of the most famous bands in England, frequently being put in the same category as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, for example. Although they didn’t sell the same amount of albums as those two groups, they remain as one of the most important groups from that era. Much of their success is credited especially for Ray Davies’ songwriting.

Anderson revealed in an interview with Classic Album Review transcribed by (Rock and Roll Garage) that he is a fan of the group and Davies. The musician praised him and talked about the uniqueness of his songwriting and singing.

“I think Ray Davies is very much steeped in not just the Britishness. But the Britishness of a particular era and a particular geographical part. Because he is a singer who combines observation with some degree of personal feeling that comes across. He sounds like he is very credible. (He) has the authority to give you these vivid descriptions of London in the 60s and the 70s.”

“I don’t necessarily do much of that sort of stuff. I mean, I’ve touched upon some elements of Britishness in terms of geography and setting a scene somewhere and being descriptive about it. Like the song ‘Mother Goose’, on the Aqualung album. Or ‘Baker Street Muse’ on whatever album that was, I can’t remember off the top of my head. Again, hats off to Ray Davies for managing that genre in a way that directly communicates.”

He continued:

“Because in the context of a pop song it wouldn’t amuse or satisfy me to be doing that in my repertoire at all. I would find it just too pretty and too poppy but then I’m a little bit snobbish about music. I like something that got a bit more musical grits to it.”

“But lyrically and in terms of setting the mood melodically, he’s been a brilliant contributor to the annals of British pop music history. He is right up there with the very best of anybody, including The Beatles,” Ian Anderson said.

Led by the brothers Ray Davies (Guitar and vocals) and Dave Davies (Guitar and sometimes vocals), The Kinks were active on and off from 1963 to 1996. Prolific songwriters, the band released 24 studio albums, the final one being “Phobia” in 1993. Since then the brothers focused on their solo careers, releasing a few solo records. They sold an estimated amount of more than 50 million records worldwide.

Ian Anderson said in the 60s that The Kinks were “real people musically”

Anderson already admired The Kinks back in the 60s, since he praised them in an interview with Melody Maker magazine back in 1969. The magazine used to promote a “blind date with music”. They would play records to musicians without telling them which band was and then asking their opinion. During that conversation with Anderson, they performed The Kinks’ album “Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)” released in 1969.

Ian Anderson’s response was: “It’s something with life in it. It’s like breathing again, I really like this one. It’s not the Kinks is it? Great! Let me listen to a bit more.”

“The first thing that hits me about it is it’s alive. They’re real people musically. It’s music at last and they’re in control of what they are doing,” The Jethro Tull frontman said.

A celebrated Kinks album, Arthur had many famous tracks like “Victoria”, “Drivin”, “Australia” and “Shangri-la”. Besides the Davies brothers, the band at that time was also formed by Mick Avory (Drums) and John Dalton (Bass). Their original bassist Pete Quaife was also featured in a few tracks from that album.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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