"You Really Got Me" an honorary degree?

Kinks frontman Ray Davies has been awarded an honorary degree.

Date: 30 July 2014

Kinks frontman Ray Davies has been awarded an honorary degree from London Metropolitan University in recognition of his 50 years in the business.

The musician became an honorary doctor of letters alongside hundreds of other graduating students from the University at London’s Barbican Centre.

North London born and bred

Davies is north London born and bred, and this is a key part of why he was chosen as one of this year’s honorary graduates. He said: “At first I was rather confused but this is special for me because I’m a Londoner. It’s near where I grew up in Islington, down near Finchley.”

Graham Taylor-Russell, Dean of Students at the University, concluded his introductory speech all about Davies and The Kinks with "you name it, he's done it," which prompted the 70-year-old to put his fingers to his lips and give a cheeky smile.

And he really has done a lot. Davies penned some of the biggest hits of the 60s and 70s as front-man and driving force behind rockband The Kinks. Songs like You Really Got Me, Lola and All Day and All of the Night helped to establish the group as one of the best British bands of all time.

The Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Davies was also inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year. Davies was awarded a CBE in 2004 for Services to Music. 

Transforming lives through education

An integral part of the London Met’s mission is to transform lives through education – and that was the big reason behind Davies’ acceptance of the offer.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony – the biggest crowd he’s played to since millions tuned in to see him perform Waterloo Sunset at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics – he said: “When I was young, university was for the posh and privileged. Even today there are those who, because of financial circumstances, are unable to fill their promise. So I am accepting this on behalf of those not as lucky as me.”

Davies applauded the University for helping to widen access to university, the diversity of the year’s graduating class and the wide range of courses on offer which encourage creativity. He said: “You’ve got to have creative desire. Creativity is a human right – not just for the privileged few but for everyone.”

And if Davies could give any advice to this year’s graduating students? “Listen to all the advice you're given,”  he said. “And then make your own decision.”