Arts and Entertainment
 

It’s the nightmare haunting every talent scout since Decca rejected the Beatles in 1962 because “guitar groups are on the way out” – letting a global mega-hit slip through your fingers.

Nick Hasted: It may only be rock'n'roll, but we still carry on liking it

Rock's death has been predicted almost from the moment it was born in the 1950s. In the early 1980s, for instance, it was widely assumed that frowning synth-pop duos would soon throw guitars on history's scrap heap. REM were among the young bands who gave vigorous and mysterious new strengths to guitar-led music back then, and it has always leapt up from its sickbed.

My Secret Life: Ray Davies, Musician, 66

My parents were ... working class, but very supportive of our family of eight children. They moved from the city to the suburbs after the Second World War to give us a fresh start. They were both from Islington, and the street they lived in had been bombed during the war.

Album: Ray Davies, See My Friends (Universal)

For Davies, it's a chance to squeeze back into the songs that made his name – as any man of 66 might wish to revisit an old pair of jeans.

Dave Davies' new film takes fans on a mystical journey

As a founder of The Kinks, with brother Ray, Dave Davies was a pioneer of the British music explosion that ignited the Sixties. Yet, while he devised the trademark jagged guitar sound that inspired many other beat groups, the younger of the two warring brothers was also on a more ethereal quest.

Crouch End goes to the Albert Hall

When the BBC Proms kick off tonight, a starring role will be taken by an amateur choir from north London

Those lazy, hazy, crazy sounds of summer

Sun, sea, sand and sweaty festivals wouldn't be the same without the right soundtrack. Robert Webb selects the hottest holiday hits

John Walsh: Geishas might not do what you think

The niche eroticism of the Japanese never ceases to amaze, does it? Given the historic vulgarity of the professional British horizontale, the weirdness of Nipponese sexuality has always intrigued us. The 17th-century shoguns set up "pleasure quarters" where gentlemen could visit prostitutes (and wives were OK about it) but Japanese girls kept dragging the arts into the basic eroto-financial transaction, until male visitors could hardly find a genuine harlot anywhere among the dancers, singers, lute-fingerers and exponents of calligraphic skill.

Peter Quaife: Musician and artist who played bass guitar for the Kinks

On paper, Pete Quaife had an enviable job: he was touring the world playing bass in the Kinks, one of the biggest rock bands of the 1960s: it was always party time as alcohol and girls were readily available and he didn't have to worry about the group losing its popularity as its leader, Ray Davies, was a master songwriter. In reality, he was constantly caught in arguments and scuffles between the fractious Davies brothers, and quite often they would gang up and take it out on the rest of the group. With an unsettled management team, the Kinks was always on the verge of breaking up.

Album: The Features, Some Kind of Salvation (Serpents & Snakes)

Should you give the Features a chance because they are Kings of Leon's favourite band, as well as the first act signed to their fledgling label?

Field Music, Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen, London

Catching up with the field

Rock's Faustian pact with the theatre

From Mamma Mia to Jersey Boys, the stage is awash with kitschy jukebox musicals inspired by pop bands. But Damon Albarn's Monkey kicked off a credible age for the rock musical, as new works from Tori Amos, Fela Kuti and Sparks now show. Andy Gill reports

Observations: Ray Davies' ode to icons of London

"Some people seem to think my new single "Postcard From London" is a Christmas song. It wasn't meant to be one, although it does mention snow. I'm looking ahead to when I have grandchildren and they ask me: 'London – what is this place?' I feel the culture of the London I used to know is disappearing. That's something I explore in Olympicland, and I'm hoping to get that project finished for a run at the Theatre Royal in Stratford before the Olympics get underway. I just hope the community around Stratford can afford to live there when the Games are over. We don't want a repeat of the ethnic cleansing that went on in Beijing.

Bobby Graham: Session drummer who played on around 15,000 records

Although Bobby Graham was not a household name, his claim that he had played on 15,000 records was substantially correct. During the 1960s, he was one of the UK's leading session musicians, going from one London recording studio to another, adding his talents to such hit records as John Leyton's "Johnny Remember Me", P.J. Proby's "Hold Me", Billy Fury's "It's Only Make Believe", Engelbert Humperdinck's "The Last Waltz" and Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me".

Album: Stackridge, A Victory for Common Sense (Helium)

Stackridge's brand of folk-prog-rock proved a little too parochial and well-mannered to follow in the footsteps of Jethro Tull and Yes back in the 1970s, though they can claim the distinction of being the very first band to play Glastonbury.

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