Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One

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Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
Studio album by The Kinks
Released 27 November 1970
Recorded April–May and August–September 1970 at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London
Genre Rock
Length 40:26
Label Pye (UK), Reprise (US)
Producer Ray 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,[a 1] 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 look at the various facets of the music industry, including song publishers, unions, the press, accountants, business managers, and the road.[1] Musically Lola Versus Powerman is varied, drawing on the genres of power pop, folk, hard rock, and traditional British music hall.[1][2]

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[3] and helping restore them in the public eye, making Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround 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.[3]

Background and recording[edit]

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 band's lineup 1970–1976, 1978).

1970 proved to be a year of major transition for The Kinks. They had been subject to a ban from the American Federation of Musicians, who had refused permits for the group to perform in America since 1965.[4][5] When this ban was lifted in 1969, the group's management quickly made plans for a North American tour, to help restore their standing in the US pop music scene[6] However, members of the band fell ill, and their US tour was shuffled,[6] as they managed to play only a few dates in America and Canada.[6] A follow-up tour in 1970 met with similar results, with the group performing at only a select number of venues, with many dates canceled.[7] The down time between the tours allowed Ray Davies, lead singer and songwriter of the group, to carefully craft the band's next single, "Lola".[8]

The Kinks returned to England to start work on their new LP in spring 1970.[9] The group began using a different recording studio, Morgan Studios, in Willesden, London.[9] Morgan was an independent studio, and the Kinks would continue recording their albums there until Preservation, when they switched to their newly purchased studio, Konk.[8] Recording began in late April/early May.[9] Some of the first songs recorded were "Lola", the outtake "Good Good Life", "Powerman" and "Got to Be Free".[9] 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
"I remember going into a music store on Shaftesbury Avenue in London when we were about to make 'Lola'. I said, 'I want to get a really good guitar sound on this record. I want a Martin.' And in the corner they had this old 1938 dobro [resonator guitar, in this case a National Steel] that I bought for $150. I put them together on 'Lola' which is what makes that clangy sound: the combination of the Martin and the dobro with heavy compression."[9]

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.[10]

Keyboardist John Gosling was added to the Kinks' lineup in May.[11] 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.[9] Dubbing for "Lola" was finished in June.[12] Recording for the LP was completed by October, and it was mixed throughout the remainder of the month.[13] Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One was released on 27 November 1970.

Controversies and dubbing[edit]

For "Lola", Ray Davies was forced to overdub 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.[12] Although the lyrics in the gatefold sleeve of the original LP use the "cherry-cola" line, the album actually 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".[12] "Fogging" was mistaken for "Fucking", and consequently Ray Davies had to re-record this line prior to its single release.[12]

Release[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[14]
Blender 4/5 stars[15]
Robert Christgau B−[16]

Lola Versus Powerman was well-received throughout the British music press. A review in New Musical Express called "[Ray] Davies ... one of the finest writers in contemporary rock," and praised the record's British styles and originality. Melody Maker's interpretation of Lola Versus Powerman was Davies "taking a cheeky nibble"[17] at the pop music business; they continued that "The music's pure Kinks simplicity—but it works."[17]

The album received generally positive reviews in the US. Rolling Stone magazine commented that it was "the best Kinks album yet".[18] Writing in his "Consumer Guide" column of The Village Voice, Robert Christgau commented that "Lola" had been an "astounding single,"[19] but gave Lola Versus Powerman a mixed review, saying that "the melodies are still there, but in this context they sound corny rather than plaintive."[19] The single "Lola" received positive reviews, and, due to its success, an interview with Ray Davies by Jonathan Cott was featured as a cover story for Rolling Stone in November 1970.[20]

Modern opinion[edit]

Modern critical opinion towards Lola Versus Powerman is generally positive but often mixed. Initially given a positive review by the magazine in 1971, Rolling Stone rated it 31/2 out of 5 stars in its 1992 printing[21]—however, the fourth edition (published in 2004) ranked it at only 2 stars.[22] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic gave the album a positive review, writing that "Davies never really delivers a cohesive story, but the record holds together because it's one of his strongest sets of songs."[1]

Chart performance[edit]

Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One went virtually unnoticed by the record-buying public in the UK and failed to chart, despite the success of its lead single, "Lola", which topped the New Musical Express charts in the UK, and reached #2 on Melody Maker.[3] "Lola" became The Kinks' biggest success since "Sunny Afternoon" in 1966; the group would never again have another single reach this position in the UK.[3] "Lola" was also successful in the US market, charting at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, staying on the charts for 14 weeks.[3][23][24] It also peaked at #7 on the Record World charts.[3][24] Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One reached #35 on Billboard, and on the Record World charts it peaked at #22, making it their most successful album since the mid-60s.[3][4]

Aftermath and legacy[edit]

The success of the singles and album allowed The Kinks to negotiate a new contract with RCA Records, construct their own London Studio, which they named Konk, and assume more creative and managerial control.[4] The record also proved influential: Tom Petty told Rolling Stone that he "especially liked" it, and cited the album as an influence on The Last DJ, another album critical of the music industry.[25][26]

Tracks from Lola Versus Powerman have been featured in multiple films across several languages. One of the most notable uses of songs from the album was when "This Time Tomorrow", "Strangers", and "Powerman" were featured in the 2007 Wes Anderson film The Darjeeling Limited;[27] these tracks were later included on the accompanying soundtrack album. In France, "This Time Tomorrow" appeared in the 2005 Philippe Garrel film Les amants réguliers.[28] "Apeman" has been featured in multiple films, including Mondovino (2004) and Harold Ramis' Club Paradise (1986).[29]

Themes[edit]

The album is a satirical look at the various facets of the music industry, including song publishers ("Denmark Street"), unions ("Get Back in Line"), the press and the hit-making machine ("Top of the Pops"), accountants and business managers ("The Moneygoround") and the road ("This Time Tomorrow").[1] Musically, Lola Versus Powerman is varied, contrasting gentle ballads like "Get Back in Line" and "A Long Way From Home" against hard rock songs like "Rats" and "Powerman", with "Denmark Street" and "The Moneygoround" paying homage to the English music hall tradition.[1][2]

Part two[edit]

Before the release of Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One the band discussed the possibility of it being released as a double album. According to Doug Hinman's book, The Kinks: All Day and All of the Night, a sequel album was planned for release sometime in 1971, but was ultimately scrapped and the band opted to record Muswell Hillbillies instead. Due to the fact that an official title to the follow-up album was never revealed, Hinman refers to the album as "Kinks, Part Two" and suggests that preliminary sessions may have occurred in late 1970/early 1971. It is unclear what songs would have appeared on this album, and it is unknown if any songs were even recorded, with the possible exception of some unreleased backing tracks. Almost certainly no songs were completed or mastered.

Chart positions[edit]

Album[edit]

Chart (1970) Peak
position
Australia[3] 24
US[3][24] 35

Singles[edit]

All positions sourced to,[3] except where noted.

Year Single Title Highest UK
Chart Position
Highest US
Chart Position
Highest Netherlands
Chart Position
Highest Austral
Chart Position
Highest New Zealand
Chart Position
1970 "Lola" 2 9[24] 1 4 1
1970 "Apeman" 5 45[24] 14 5 5

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Ray Davies except where noted.

Side one
  1. "The Contenders" – 2:42
  2. "Strangers" (Dave Davies) – 3:20
  3. "Denmark Street" – 2:02
  4. "Get Back in Line" – 3:04
  5. "Lola" – 4:01
  6. "Top of the Pops" – 3:40
  7. "The Moneygoround" – 1:47
Side two
  1. "This Time Tomorrow" – 3:22
  2. "A Long Way From Home" – 2:27
  3. "Rats" (Dave Davies) – 2:40
  4. "Apeman" – 3:52
  5. "Powerman" – 4:18
  6. "Got to Be Free" – 3:01
Castle/Sanctuary re-release bonus tracks
  1. "Lola" (mono single mix) – 4:08
  2. "Apeman" (acoustic demo) – 3:41
  3. "Powerman" (acoustic demo) – 4:23

Personnel[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Alternatively titled Kinks Part One: Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround; commonly abbreviated to Lola Versus Powerman

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Erlewine, Stephen. "Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One". Allmusic. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround". J&R. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "International Chart Positions". Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen. "The Kinks". Allmusic. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  5. ^ Alterman, Loraine. Who Let the Kinks In?. Rolling Stone, 18 December 1969
  6. ^ a b c Hinman 2004, pp. 132–140
  7. ^ Hinman 2004, p. 137
  8. ^ a b Hinman 2004, pp. 132–145
  9. ^ a b c d e f Hinman 2004, p. 140
  10. ^ The Kinks: Phobia, "Scattered" music video, 1992 – Columbia Records.
  11. ^ Rogan 1998, p. 141
  12. ^ a b c d Hinman 2004, p. 141
  13. ^ Hinman 2004, pp. 145
  14. ^ Allmusic review
  15. ^ Blender review
  16. ^ Robert Christgau review
  17. ^ a b Hinman 2004, p. 147.
  18. ^ Rolling Stone Magazine, 7 January 1971
  19. ^ a b Christgau, Last. Consumer Guide "Robert Christgau: CG: The Kinks". The Village Voice/Robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 4 April 2010. 
  20. ^ Hinman 2004, p. 131
  21. ^ The Rolling Stone Album Guide (1992), pp. 401-402
  22. ^ The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (1992), p. 458
  23. ^ Rolling Stone "Lola". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  24. ^ a b c d e "The Kinks: Charts and Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  25. ^ Strauss, Neil. "Tom Petty's Last Dance". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 April 2010. 
  26. ^ Erlewine, Stephen. "The Last DJ [Bonus DVD]". Allmusic. Retrieved 4 April 2010. 
  27. ^ "The Darjeeling Limited (2007) - Soundtracks". IMDB, the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 7 April 2010. 
  28. ^ "Les amants réguliers (2005) - Soundtracks". IMDB, the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 7 April 2010. 
  29. ^ "Club Paradise (1986) - Soundtracks". IMDB, the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 7 April 2010. 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Davies, Ray (1995). X-Ray. New York, NY: Overlook Press. ISBN 0-87951-611-9. 
  • Davies, Dave (1996). Kink. New York, NY: Hyperion. ISBN 0-7868-8269-7. 
  • Rogan, Johnny (1998). The Complete Guide to the Music of The Kinks. London, UK: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-6314-2 
  • Miller, Andy (2003). The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society. London, UK: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8264-1498-2. 
  • Hinman, Doug (2004). The Kinks: All Day and All of the Night. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 0-87930-765-X 
  • Kitts, Thomas (2007). Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else. London, UK: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-97769-X. 
  • Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One (CD reissue). The Kinks. Castle. 1998. 
  • Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One (CD reissue). The Kinks. Reprise. 2004. 
  • Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One (CD reissue). The Kinks. Sanctuary. 2004. 

External links[edit]