January 5, 2004: Ray Davies Shot in New Orleans

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Ray Davies (PR Crop)

Ray Davies

The Kinks’ main songwriter, lead singer and rhythm guitarist Ray Davies had just finished dinner with his lady friend Suzanne Despies at a restaurant in the city’s French Quarter on January 5, 2004. They were strolling nearby when a car pulled up alongside them. Two men, one of them armed, jumped out and grabbed Despies’ purse, and then ran off. Davies pursued them and was shot in the leg.

With a high law enforcement presence throughout the Quarter due to the city hosting the Sugar Bowl championship football game over the New Year’s weekend, police were able to quickly respond to the incident. Davies was taken to a local hospital for treatment and released a few hours later.

Davies’ gallantry in chasing the criminals was not a wise move. Police chief Eddie Compass said: “I’m sorry for what happened but Mr Davies showed poor judgment in running after the individuals.” Despite his injury, Ray later credited the visit to the birthplace of jazz with reviving his musical spirit.

Related: Davies was knighted in the Queen’s 2017 New Year Honours

Watch Davies perform The Kinks’ “Dead End Street”…

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