Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One

Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
The kinks lola versus powerman album.jpg
Studio album by
Released27 November 1970
RecordedApril–May and August–September 1970 at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London
GenreRock
Length40:25
LabelPye (UK), Reprise (US)
ProducerRay Davies
The Kinks chronology
Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
(1969)
Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
(1970)
Percy
(1971)
Singles from Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
  1. "Lola"
    Released: 12 June 1970
  2. "Apeman"
    Released: 20 November 1970

Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One, commonly abbreviated to Lola Versus Powerman, or just Lola, is the eighth studio album by British rock band the Kinks, recorded and released in 1970.[1] A concept album, it is a satirical appraisal of the music industry, including song publishers, unions, the press, accountants, business managers, and life on the road.[1] Musically Lola Versus Powerman is varied, described by Stephen Thomas Erlewine as "a wildly unfocused but nonetheless dazzling tour de force", containing some of Ray Davies' strongest songs.[1]

Although it appeared during a transitional period for the Kinks, Lola Versus Powerman was a success both critically and commercially for the group, charting in the Top 40 in America[2] and helping restore them in the public eye, making it a "comeback" album. It contained two hit singles: "Lola", which reached the top 10 in the US and UK, and "Apeman", which peaked at number five in the UK.[2]

Background and recording

Five smiling men in a row, diagonal to camera angle. The man on the left (farthest to the back) has very long hair and a full beard; he wears a white T-shirt and tie-dyed pants. Next to him, Dave Davies, also with very long hair, wears reflective sunglasses, a black short-sleeved shirt, and jeans. In the middle, Mick Avory wears an unbuttoned leather vest and white pants. The man to his right wears a heavy, probably brown leather jacket with a design that is possibly Native American. On the far right, in front, Ray Davies wears a giant paisley kerchief knotted like a tie, over a white jacket.
The Kinks, around the time of the recording of Lola Versus Powerman: from left - John Gosling, Dave Davies, Mick Avory, John Dalton, Ray Davies

The Kinks ban by the American Federation of Musicians on performing in America, which had been in force since 1965,[3][4] was lifted in 1969, so the group's management arranged a North American tour.[5] However, members of the band fell ill, and the tour was shuffled,[5] resulting in the band playing only a few dates in America and Canada.[5] A follow-up tour in 1970 met with similar results, with the group performing at only a select number of venues, with many dates cancelled.[6] The down time between the tours allowed Ray Davies, lead singer and songwriter of the group, to develop the band's next single, "Lola".[7]

The Kinks returned to England to start work on their new LP in spring 1970.[8] The group used Morgan Studios, an independent studio in Willesden, London, which was a change for them.[8] They would continue recording their albums there until Preservation, when they switched to their newly purchased studio, Konk.[7] Recording began in late April/early May.[8] Some of the first songs recorded were "Lola", the outtake "The Good Life", "Powerman" and "Got to Be Free".[8] The sessions for "Lola" were especially long, and the recording continued into late May. Davies would recall later how he achieved the signature clangy sound at the beginning of the track:

A metal guitar lies flat on its back, vertically aligned and on top of a grey background.
A National Steel resonator guitar

The National Steel would play an integral part in many Kinks projects after that. In the 1972 song "Supersonic Rocket Ship", Ray Davies would use the guitar to create a Caribbean feel for the record. Davies would play it on numerous Top of The Pops appearances, and it would be featured in several music videos the Kinks made in the future, including "Scattered" in 1992.[9]

Keyboardist John Gosling was added to the Kinks' lineup in May.[10] He auditioned on the final backing master track for "Lola", and was hired soon after. He was initially taken on solely for their upcoming US tour, but his post evolved into a more permanent position soon after. Gosling would remain with the band until 1977, departing after the release of Sleepwalker.[8] Dubbing for "Lola" was finished in June.[11] Recording for the LP was completed by October, and it was mixed throughout the remainder of the month.[12] Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One was released on 27 November 1970.

For "Lola", Ray Davies overdubbed the trademarked word "Coca-Cola" with the generic "cherry-cola" for the mono single release, as product placement rules meant the BBC (being a public service broadcaster) would not have played it.[11] The lyrics in the gatefold sleeve of the original LP use the "cherry-cola" line, though the album track contains the original stereo "Coca-Cola" version. A similar situation was encountered with the song "Apeman", concerning the line "the air pollution is a-foggin' up my eyes".[11] "Fogging" was mistaken for "fucking", and consequently Ray Davies had to re-record this line prior to its single release.[11]