Sir Ray Davies has told how he almost traded his musical career in for life as a painter after the break-up of his first marriage.
The Kinks founder, front man and songwriter – who led the group to stardom with brother Dave in the 1960s and 70s – has also seen huge success as a solo artist and was this year knighted for his services to the arts.
He also created West End musical Sunny Afternoon and will take to the stage for this weekend’s Proms In The Park in London.
But Sir Ray admitted that he almost threw the towel in back in 1973 as he suffered following his divorce from Rasa Didzpetris.
The 73-year-old told the Radio Times magazine: “I sat in this room with my brother, about when my first marriage broke up.
“I wanted to give up the whole idea and become a painter. I wish I’d done that.”
Now he credits his success to the failures he has faced and was humbled by the prestigious royal accolade in March.
“What amazed me was how much it meant to people in the neighbourhood,” he said.
“Because I’m notionally famous, what I found moving about the ceremony was the amount of ordinary people who got awards for services to education, or health.
“I was trying to work out ‘Why me?'”
Known for his afternoon-tea inspired songs, he described meeting Prince Charles as a prime example of the British sense of ceremony, adding: “We do ceremony well in this country, it’s one of the few things we’ve got left.”
While he avoids pouring political themes into his music and admitted that he does not even use “the B-word” (Brexit), he continued: “This (Brexit) is the biggest event in our lives, we’re all connected by this event.
“It strikes me it’s too late to do anything about it, but European control did become too all-embracing.
“I still believe countries should have their own identity. I know immigration is a huge issue, but what’s more important is commodities, business, equity, markets. That’s what runs the world.
“We’re defined by our geography. We’re an over-populated island where it’s difficult to get about. But I think we’ll survive.”
Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times magazine.