ARTIST: The Kinks
TITLE: Lola Versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #35
SINGLES: Lola (#9 US, #2 UK), Apeman (#45 US, #5 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Rats
LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Mick Avory, John Dalton, John Gosling
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Kinks have a commercial comeback on the backs of a single that somehow got airplay due to the subject matter.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ray Davies and the Kinks had released some great albums in the late 60’s, but they lacked hit singles and their career was on the rocks until “Lola”, a single with the most unlikely subject, got them back on the charts.
The album that accompanied the single was a scathing look at the music business from a weary survivor. Davies blasts publishers, the music union, and the media circus around the pop world. After the group is chewed up and spit out, and the song writers got their measly cut, Davies and the Kinks think about nostalgia and a better life while they’re in the grip of the powerful men of the business.
Yet even though the commercial hopes of the band were revived, some of the songs either belabor the point, or are more about making the point than creating an actual song that propels the narrative. At the high points, this is an album worthy of the Kinks albums released from 1966-1969, and skipping a few tracks is OK.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The issue with the BBC wasn’t the transgender lover in “Lola”, but the fact they used a brand name (“Coca Cola”) in the song. That’s why some versions have “Cherry Cola” instead.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. A few B-sides and instrumental tracks.
GRADE: B+: It’s probably a must buy for how the single fits into the story, but it’s got some tracks that are more narrative devices than songs.