The songwriters: No.3 Ray Davies of The Kinks

By normal pop standards, Ray Davies works incredibly slowly. He’s a worrier, a compulsive changer and, even though most hits are churned out in a few hours, he might spend months on a single song.

Having had the original idea, he’ll reject and return to it and reject it again until the whole thing has been made completely unrecognizable and then, just when he’s showing signs of being satisfied, he’ll decide to start all over again.

Usually his songs only get turned into records because a new single has become long overdue and everyone around him is hysterical.

The reason for all this agonizing is that he refuses to freewheel. Where other writers will take one tiny phrase and make it stretch into a whole song, Ray works exactly the other way round. He makes every line important, cutting out all irrelevances and cramming as much as possible into every song.

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