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X-Ray (Anglais) Broché – 12 septembre 1994

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  • Broché: 432 pages
  • Editeur : Viking (12 septembre 1994)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0670829269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670829262
  • Dimensions du produit: 15,8 x 4 x 24,4 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par E. Zwygart le 11 novembre 2006
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Une rock star (Ray Davies) au crépuscule de sa vie répond aux questions d'un interviewer mandaté par "The Corporation", multinationale écrasant qui dicte la conduite de ses collaborateurs. R.D. qui n'en fait qu'à sa tête, répond aux aux questions au gré de sa fantaisie, de son humeur et de ses souvenirs. Cette autobiographie du génial Ray est très originale de part son traitement. Autocritique envers lui-même et la société, l'auteur reste assez vague sur les relations conflictuelles des membres du groupe, l'interdiction de se produire aux States, les déprimes, la mauvaise gestion du groupe au niveau des affaires, ... Témoignage très intéressant du Swinging London version Davies, on peut regretter que la période couverte s'arrête à Lola, comme si les Kinks avaient cessé d'exister ensuite. On peut toujours espérer un tome 2
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17 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Not your usual biography 11 janvier 2007
Par Jersey Kid - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
X-Ray: The Unauthorized Autobiography by Ray Davies is exactly what you would expect from the leader of the 60s band The Kinks. One only has to listen to a few of the songs he has authored - "Dandy," "Dedicated Follower of Fashion," "Muswell Hillbillies" to name three - to know that Ray Davies wears his heart on his sleeve. Whether expressing jealousy at those more attractive than he (the first two listed songs - probably about brother David) or fear and scorn at those "nameless men in gray" (the third song about government-managed social experimentation), Davies has already been ready to address issues that are not often addressed in rock `n' roll, and to do so in the most convoluted manner possible.

In writing his autobiography through roughly the end of the 70s, Davies could have simply told the story. But, you have to know that this is way too easy and conventional. Instead, X-Ray is a story within a story. An unnamed minor clerk in a more-or-less unnamed department of the British government that maintains records about entertainment and entertainers is charged with "updating the file" on a certain Raymond Douglas Davies. In his effort to fulfill this objective, he meets with a reclusive, eccentric, almost Faginesque character who weaves a rambling story about himself, the band and the English music scene in general. Amidst the mass of narrative, the story of The Kinks unfolds with some remarkable clarity and candor about the band and its interaction with its management and record companies.

It is in these stretches of story-telling that the book nears conventionality. We learn of the early management team, Robert, Grenville and Larry, who got the band the contracts that made them successes but also virtually robbed them of the ownership of intellectual property; David was 16 when he signed. We learn of Ray's first wife: the result of "doing the right thing" upon learning of her pregnancy.

This conventional approach to autobiography is, however, pushed into the background by Davies' desire for political rhetoric. This is not the first time this has appeared in his work. One only has to think of the "Lola versus Powerman and the Money-go-round" for evidence of his distaste for the business side of things and his loathing thereof.

Like many Brits, Ray Davies has an internalized conflict between the desire for a quasi-socialist solution to major socio-economic issues and the distaste for the inevitable bureaucracy that must accompany it. This is the stage and background on which our hero - not Davies - is sent on a voyage of discovery through his relationship with Ray Davies. The end of the book is certainly not supposed to be the end of the story, although the last few pages see the apparent death of Davies and a notional redemption of the hero.

If you are interested in Ray Davies - not because of the Kinks, per se - because of a deep love and respect for who he is and his remarkable ability to be the most human of any major rock `n' roller and you have not read this book: DO IT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! You won't be disappointed.

There has been talk for years that Ray Davies would return to this genre and bring it up to date. While possible, it becomes less likely as time passes. In fact, it would be my contention that the CDs "The Storyteller" and "Other Peoples' Lives" are the logical extensions of X-Ray: The Unauthorized Autobiography
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
This Book Makes The Music Even Better! 12 juillet 2010
Par MC Karate Chop - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
"X-Ray: The Unauthorized Autobiography" is the 1996 memoir from Ray Davies, legendary frontman of The Kinks. The book is based around a fictional storyline where a 19-year-old, insomniac, orphan reporter working for a corporate-run government (known as "The Corporation") is trying to track down and interview the reclusive singer/songwriter. This is woven around the bulk of the book, which is a standard first-person recounting by Davies spanning from his childhood, through his part in the Swinging 60's music scene, and up to around the time The Kinks pioneered the rock opera movement in the early 1970's. It takes a mostly chronological approach, all the while doing a great job of showing Davies' transition from a pop songbird to the quintessential English singer/songwriter. Included are mind-blowing stories about his interactions with fellow British Invaders The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and The Dave Clark Five. If you're a fan of The Kinks or are looking to get into them, then this book is a great companion.


I only started listening to The Kinks within the past two years. With that being said, if you are or were a Kinks fan, then this book is definitely worth reading. The best part about it is the way it enhances the music. If you listen to the songs while you're reading and after you've finished the book, then you'll be in for a really enjoyable experience.

While we're used to having movies with accompanying soundtracks, this is almost like having a book with a soundtrack. In that respect, the book is similar to the rock opera format that Ray Davies explored throughout the 1970's. All of the themes that are commonly found in Davies' songwriting are present in the text. For example: the corporate machine, the decline of mom & pop, the appreciation for the little things that remind us how special the world really is (think "Autumn Almanac"), as well as figurative, emotional, and physical displacement.

In some instances (like when it comes to the early Brit-pop stuff The Kinks did) Davies will mention a song and by going back and listening to it (you can find some of the rare stuff on YouTube) it really helps set the scene - especially if you weren't around during that time and/or place.

The book really shines when it comes to enhancing Davies' late 60's to mid-70's work, such as "Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire", which is partially based around his family life and "Face to Face" which is a great piece in which he tries to reconcile changes in class structure.

Upon finishing the book, I listened to all of "Lola Versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One" and I couldn't believe how much better this already great album had become. It perfectly compliments both the fictional and autobiographical storylines, strongly mirroring Davies' meek beginnings ("The Contenders"), his time playing in the trenches ("Denmark Street" and "Get Back in Line"), The Kinks' eventual breakthrough ("Top of the Pops"), their bad dealings with publishers, agents, and record executives ("The Moneygoround" and "Rats"), Davies' nervous breakdown ("Apeman"), and culminating with what this journey has left him wanting ("Got To Be Free"). These might not sound like particularly fascinating subjects, but Davies' wit and candor keeps things interesting and he's always sure to break things up with a great road story or an anecdote about Kinks drummer Mick Avory.


The subtitle of this book, "An Unauthorized Autobiography" is not just some clever, meaningless title. As mentioned above, there is an overarching, fictional storyline woven throughout the various tales. If that worries you, then you need to remember the cinematic nature of Ray Davies' songwriting (he knows what he is doing). You also need to realize that approaching his memoirs in this way only serves to inject them with an extra level of Davies' signature quirky and sometimes cynical personality. Finally, if neither of those things appeal to you, then just know that the fictional portion of the book takes up very little space and 90% of the text is Davies' recounting tales in the same fashion that any other celebrity autobiography does. Maybe the fake storyline will work for you (I got caught up in it) and maybe it won't. Either way, it won't tarnish your experience.

The book is written in a conversational European English vernacular, so if you're from America like I am, you might not understand some of the slang, but it never gets too dense to navigate. Other than that, there are an unusual amount of typos throughout the book - even on the back cover. There are also these strange little stars at the bottom of some pages and I have no idea what they mean.

The only way I can rationalize these things is by saying that The Kinks' recordings aren't perfect either. I think it's because in both the recordings and this book you are getting Ray Davies - his unique and sometimes enigmatic choices, his various quirky voices, and his imperfections. Personally, I wouldn't want it any other way. In the case of the book, it makes you feel like he is right there with you.

CONCLUSION (or How to Listen to The Kinks)

The Kinks have a long and varied musical history. At first I was disappointed with them because I was expecting every song to have the same energy as "You Really Got Me" or "All Day and All of the Night". When that wasn't the case, I chose to keep listening anyway and their work grew on me tremendously. I really got caught up in their unique singing and compositional choices.

You'll find that albums like "The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society" feature strange musical arrangements (listen to "Phenomenal Cat"). I know they sound odd at times, but if you stick it out, you'll come to learn a different way to enjoy music - you'll start to appreciate that what you are hearing (no matter how odd sounding) are deliberate choices. These albums are crafted for the listener in order to communicate the atmosphere of the time - the sights, the smells, the attitudes, the fun, the hardship. They aren't just there to make you dance or to make you smile (though they'll do that as well).

If you want a better understanding of where music (and art in general) comes from or if you are curious about how an artist evolves, The Kinks, with their 40+ year career, are the band to listen to. If you're someone who just wants things to stay the same, then The Kinks aren't the band for you and, subsequently, this book won't be either.

If you love music and kind of like The Kinks, then do yourself a favor and check out their discography and grab an album or two from each decade. You'll probably find a new way to enjoy music. With time you'll learn to love them and this book will only make that love stronger.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A must-read for Kinks and Davies fans, and an excellent autobiography 8 avril 2009
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Here is a book that turned out to be every bit as good as I hoped it would be. This is the story of one fascinating and complex man, Raymond Douglas Davies: rebel, oddball, head case, and perhaps a pop music genius as well. He begins by introducing a technique that is simultaneously distancing and revealing - the story is not being told by Davies, but by a young writer hired by "The Corporation" to do a biography of him. Davies gets to play with the idea of himself viewing himself, of Ray Davies the pop star, who is, in fact, a memory, a creation. He then tells his story thru a series of mock interviews, in which he by turns intimidates, toys with, and bares his heart to the imaginary biographer.

The focus here is on the 1960s and The Kinks's rise to stardom. The story flows pretty much chronologically. Davies grew up in a large, working class family in Muswell Hill, North London. One of the many interesting ironies about R.D. is the fact that he, one of the more cosmopolitan and cynical songwriters of his time, was very closely tied to his old neighborhood and his clan for much of his life. As a kid, he was both a competitive athlete and a creative type. At first The Kinks were mostly unknown, but things began to change for them when Davies began to discover his songwriting talent.

The book is full of marvelous anecdotes of life on the road and encounters with other pop musicians, but it did take a toll on the author. He frankly describes having some sort of depressive breakdown in the middle of their most popular and musically successful period. R.D. is a remarkably complex guy. He married young and fathered a child, but the marriage did not last. He probably was/is bisexual, yet he dances around the issue. He seems to view himself as a morose, solitary artistic type. Surprisingly, he says very little about his playing and singing and writing. Whatever you can say about him, I think he was, and still is, a wonderful writer of songs, and now, of autobiographical prose. He succeeds in portraying himself sincerely as a dramatic character, primarily the star of some cynical comedy, but with touches of tragedy and insight into the human condition. Bravo!
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Ray Davies can write! 19 août 2012
Par K. Keller - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Rock star auto-biographies generally share a similar pattern. The early life, influences, the rise, the fall (sex, booze and drugs) and then the rise again or whatever it may be. Of all that I have read; "X-Ray: The Unauthorized Biography" by Ray Davies is the one I cherish. As he both obliquely and directly alludes to in the New Introduction; Davies uses an unusual method; a story-teller's device to tell the tale. He invents a working class person (who could have easily been a character in a Kinks song) who is assigned to interview Raymond Douglas Davies. In the book Davies alternates personas between aging, bitter star to gentle and wise friend. The narrative has an evocative, dreamy quality mixed with some rather bizarre, harsh adventures. I have seen Ray use this book when he plays live (Dave had a stroke and is not totally recovered as far as I know) so Ray and his bands are solo these days.

It is not news to Kinks fans that the Davies brothers, Ray and Dave are song-writers the equal to and at times better than Lennon/McCartney and Jagger/Richards. The Kinks have given us around 30 albums of great songs containing everything from raucous rock to heart rending ballads. We are very lucky to have this talented man active and with us for he has a great deal to say in terms of vignettes about odd characters, poltical satire and social commentary as do many others. For anyone who has ever been in the music biz there are many lessons here about the fascinating and frustrating minds of musicians (not to mention the varied types of people associated with the business). Ask Beethoven.

I saw Ray Davies live recently. He was great and jumped around for about two & 1/2 hours. He did not really need backing vocalists because the audience knew all the songs and this pleased him greatly. He was glancing at, "X-Ray" now and then for stage patter material I suppose. He is a gentleman as far as I can tell from afar....he did respond to a letter I wrote once. I recommend this well written book (in spite of parts that must be fantasy), really enjoyed it, did purchase it from Amazon and GOD SAVE THE KINKS! *****
7 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Now I know why it's an 'Unauthorized Autobiography' 13 janvier 2005
Par GePop - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This autobiography isn't bad, as far as these things go. Ray covers many of the big events from the birth of the Kinks to the early 70's, but he overlooks many others. He also writes about his life and career in a strangely detatched manner; the Ray Davies of legend is worthy of a rousing telling of his tale, but he paints himself as a rather dull chap here. And what energy and creativity he does muster is mostly for the parallel fantasy story, told from the perspective of a reporter, of octagenarian Ray still shaking his fist at the corporate suits. It's an interesting experiment overall, but considering this life story has all the elements to be fascinating, it's a disappointment that in the end, X-Ray doesn't grab the reader by the throat.
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