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Ray Davies, Donovan to Enter Songwriters Hall of Fame

Songwriters behind hits for Elvis, the Yardbirds and Gladys Knight & the Pips will also be inducted

February 11, 2014 12:00 PM ET
Ray Davies
Ray Davies
Steve Thorne/Redferns

The Songwriters Hall of Fame may have reached the end of the Alley: Former Kinks frontman Ray Davies and folk singer Donovan are among the five hitmakers entering the Hall this year. They join an increasing number of rock musicians, such as last year's inductees Aerosmith and Foreigner, whom the Hall has honored alongside Tin Pan Alley songwriters and "Early American" songwriters from the 1600s through the 1800s. The other 2014 inductees – Graham Gouldman, Mark James and Jim Weatherly – penned hits for the Yardbirds, Elvis Presley and Gladys Knight and the Pips, among others.

R.E.M. Guitarist Peter Buck Pays Tribute to the Kinks, as Part of Rolling Stone's List of the 100 Greatest Artists

Although both Ray and his brother Dave Davies wrote hits for the Kinks, Ray was responsible for all the group's U.S. Top 10 singles: "You Really Got Me," "All Day and All of the Night," "Tired of Waiting for You," "Lola" and "Come Dancing." Herman's Hermits' cover of the Kinks' "Dandy" reached Number Five in the U.S., and Kinks covers by Van Halen, the Pretenders, the Jam and the Fall charted in the Top 40 in the States and the U.K.

Ray Davies most recently revisited his Kinks catalogue on the 2009 solo album The Kinks Choral Collection and 2010's See My Friends, the latter of which featured duets with Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Spoon and more. Last last year, Dave Davies hinted at a possible Kinks reunion tour this year.

Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan Leitch scored a U.S. Number One for "Sunshine Superman," and Top 10 rankings for "Mellow Yellow," "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and "Atlantis." Artists ranging from Marianne Faithfull to the Butthole Surfers have covered his songs, with Donovan continuing to release records consistently since his 1965 debut, What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid.

Gouldman wrote the Yardbirds' post-blues-era pop hits "For Your Love" and "Heart Full of Soul," while James penned Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" and "Always on My Mind." Weatherly was responsible for Gladys Knight and the Pips' "Midnight Train to Georgia" and "Neither One of Us," among other hits.

The Hall will induct the songwriters at a ceremony at New York City's Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 12th.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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