Lola (song)

"Lola"
Kinks Lola Uk Cover.jpg
German single sleeve
Single by the Kinks
from the album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
B-side
Released12 June 1970 (1970-06-12)
Format7-inch single
RecordedApril–May 1970
StudioMorgan Studios, Willesden, London
Genre
Length4:03
Label
Songwriter(s)Ray Davies
Producer(s)Ray Davies
The Kinks singles chronology
"Victoria"
(1969)
"Lola"
(1970)
"Apeman"
(1970)
Alternative cover
Scandinavian single sleeve
Scandinavian single sleeve
Audio
"Lola" (official audio) on YouTube

"Lola" is a song written by Ray Davies and performed by English rock band the Kinks on their album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One. The song details a romantic encounter between a young man and a possible transvestite, whom he meets in a club in Soho, London. In the song, the narrator describes his confusion towards Lola, who "walked like a woman but talked like a man". Although Ray Davies claims that the incident was inspired by a true encounter experienced by the band's manager, alternative explanations for the song have been given by drummer Mick Avory.

The song was released in the United Kingdom on 12 June 1970, while in the United States it was released on 28 June 1970. Commercially, the single reached number two on the UK Singles Chart[2] and number nine on the Billboard Hot 100.[3] Due to its controversial subject matter and use of the brand name Coca-Cola, the single received backlash and even bans in Britain and Australia. The single version (mono) used the words "cherry cola" while the album version (stereo) uses the name "Coca-Cola". The track has since become one of The Kinks' most iconic and popular songs, later being ranked number 422 on "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" as well as number 473 on the "NME's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time" list.[4]

Since its release, "Lola" has appeared on multiple compilation and live albums. In 1980, a live version of the song from the album One for the Road was released as a single in the US and some European countries, becoming a minor hit. In the Netherlands it became #1, just as in 1970 with the studio version. Other versions include live renditions from 1972's Everybody's in Show-Biz and 1996's To the Bone. The "Lola" character also made an appearance in the lyrics of the band's 1981 song, "Destroyer".

Background

It was a real experience in a club. I was asked to dance by somebody who was a fabulous looking woman. I said "no thank you". And she went in a cab with my manager straight afterwards. It's based on a personal experience. But not every word.

– Ray Davies[5]

Ray Davies has claimed that he was inspired to write "Lola" after Kinks manager Robert Wace spent a night in Paris dancing with a transvestite.[6] Davies said of the incident, "In his apartment, Robert had been dancing with this black woman, and he said, 'I'm really onto a thing here.' And it was okay until we left at six in the morning and then I said, 'Have you seen the stubble?' He said 'Yeah', but he was too pissed [intoxicated] to care, I think".[7]

Drummer Mick Avory has offered an alternative explanation for the song's lyrics, claiming that "Lola" was partially inspired by Avory's frequenting of transvestite bars in west London.[8] Avory said, "We used to know this character called Michael McGrath. He used to hound the group a bit, because being called The Kinks did attract these sorts of people. He used to come down to Top of the Pops, and he was publicist for John Stephen's shop in Carnaby Street. He used to have this place in Earl's Court, and he used to invite me to all these drag queen acts and transsexual pubs. They were like secret clubs. And that's where Ray [Davies] got the idea for 'Lola'. When he was invited too, he wrote it while I was getting drunk".[5]

Despite claims that the song was written about a supposed date between Ray Davies and Candy Darling, Davies has since claimed this rumour to be false, saying that the two only went out to dinner together and that he had known the whole time that Darling was trans.[5]

In his autobiography, Dave Davies said that he came up with the music for what would become "Lola", noting that brother Ray added the lyrics after hearing it.[9] In a 1990 interview, Dave Davies stated that "Lola" was written in a similar fashion to "You Really Got Me" in that the two worked on Ray's basic skeleton of the song, saying that the song was more of a collaborative effort than many believed.[10]

Other Languages
español: Lola (canción)
français: Lola (chanson)
Nederlands: Lola (nummer)
日本語: ローラ (曲)
norsk nynorsk: Lola av The Kinks
русский: Lola (песня)
Tiếng Việt: Lola (bài hát)