Although he took a largely subordinate role to his brother Ray in the Kinks, Dave's fierce guitar work and hoarse but effective background (and occasional lead) vocals were key elements of the band's appeal. Dave also occasionally wrote songs for the Kinks that showed him to be a writer of considerable skill and wit, if not up to the same level as Ray. In the late '60s, Dave made some solo singles that met with critical success in Britain, although they were unknown in the U.S. "Death of a Clown" (also included on the Kinks' Something Else LP) made number three on the British charts in 1967, and the follow-up, "Susannah's Still Alive," also did fairly well.
Dave began to consider making a solo album, but after a couple other solo singles flopped, he seemed to lose heart and abandoned his plans (some unreleased solo tracks from this period turned up on the obscure Kinks bootleg Good Luck Charm). In the 1980s, Dave finally began a solo career in earnest, releasing a series of mainstream rock albums and various collections of demos and outtakes that found little critical or commercial acclaim, before his work was neatly summarized on Unfinished Business: Dave Davies Kronikles 1963-1998. The hard-rocking Bug from 2002 was his first album of new material in nearly 20 years. Davies suffered a major stroke in 2004 and used composing and painting as therapy during the lengthy recovery period that followed. The new song "God in My Brain" was inspired by the stroke and appeared on the 2006 compilation Kinked. In 2007 Davies released his first full-length post-stroke studio album, Fractured Mindz, on the Koch label.
In 2011, BBC Four aired the revealing documentary Dave Davies: Kinkdom Come, in which he was interviewed at length about his time with the Kinks, his relationship with Ray, and the spirituality that helped him through the aforementioned period of serious ill health. June 2013 brought I Will Be Me, an album that balanced hard-edged rockers with more sedate, contemplative material, all of which displayed a rich vein of nostalgia. In February 2014, Davies played his first U.K. concert since 2001, and he returned that autumn with Rippin' Up Time, a record produced by occasional Wondermints member David Nolte. ~ Richie Unterberger