Apeman (song)

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"Apeman"
Single by The Kinks
from the album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
B-side "Rats"
Released November 20, 1970 (U.K.)
December 16, 1970 (U.S.)
Format 7" single 45 RPM
Recorded Aug-Sep 1970 at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London
Genre Rock, pop
Length 3:54
Label Pye 7N 45016 (U.K.)
Reprise 0979 (U.S.)
Writer(s) Ray Davies
Producer(s) Ray Davies
The Kinks singles chronology
"Lola"
(1970)
"Apeman"
(1970)
"God's Children"
(1971)
Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One track listing

"Apeman" is a 1970 song by the British rock band The Kinks. It was written by Ray Davies and appears on the album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One.

In the song, Davies is fed up with the modern world and declares that he wants to "sail away to a distant shore and make like an apeman". He also expresses how man created our problems and, given half a chance, he would leave the cities and traffic to live in the jungle. In some ways, this is the epitome of the nostalgia expressed on the albums Lola vs. Powerman and The Village Green Preservation Society.

Background[edit]

"Apeman", alongside many other songs from the Lola vs. Powerman album, was written by Ray Davies during a family trip to Cornwall in July 1970.[1]

Single release[edit]

"Apeman" was released as a single in the fall of 1970, with a B-side of the Dave Davies composition "Rats". While it did not do as well on the U.S. Pop Singles chart as its predecessor, "Lola" did, only reaching #45, it was a major hit in the UK, peaking at number five on the singles chart. It was also the band's final chart success in Australia, reaching #9 on its chart.

Due to publishing issues the band was experiencing at the time, the British edition of the single was published under "Copyright Control," a term used when no publisher is assigned.[1]

Controversy and re-dubbing[edit]

The Kinks caused some controversy, because in the line "...the air pollution is a-foggin' up my eyes...", the word "a-foggin'" sounds too much like "a-fuckin'".[1] Like the band's previous single "Lola" where Ray Davies had to change "Coca-cola" to "cherry cola", he again had to fly back to London to re-record this line, dubbing over with a more clear "a-foggin'" prior to its single release, in turn causing a delay in the US single release of the song.[1] The original lyric remains intact on the album, and is heard at 2:20. On their Top of the Pops performance filmed later in November, the changed lyric can be heard on the backing tape.[2]

Reception[edit]

Upon release in Britain, the NME called the song "a very commercial disc with an irresistible hook chorus."[1] Record Mirror said, "As ever, Ray [Davies] has something to say. As ever The Kinks do a thoroughly professional, style-changing job."[1] After its US release, Billboard praised the song as "an easy-beat calypso rocker with a clever lyric."[1]

Promo video[edit]

A colour promo video made for the song was filmed at Hampstead Heath, the same location used for The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society's cover picture.[3] The video featured the band's newly recruited pianist John Gosling dressed up as an ape. Kinks guitarist Dave Davies said of this, "It was [manager] Grenville [Collins] who thought we should use a piano and keyboards. So John Gosling joined thinking that, 'Hey man, I've hit it big! We very quickly brought him down to earth. He was Lola for that song and then an ape [for 'Apeman']."[3]

Personnel[edit]

Personnel according to Doug Hinman.[1]

  • Ray Davies - Acoustic guitars, lead vocal
  • Dave Davies - Double-tracked lead guitar, backing vocal
  • John Dalton - Bass, backing vocal
  • John Gosling - Piano, organ
  • Mick Avory - Drums

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1970) Peak
position
Germany (Official German Charts)[4] 8
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[5] 14
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[6] 5
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 45

Cover versions and usage in movies and television[edit]

The song was first covered by British singer and teenage heartthrob Jack Wild on his 1971 album Everything's Coming Up Roses, released by Buddah Records. It was covered by Fish for his 1993 album Songs from the Mirror. That version of "Apeman" is featured in the film Mondovino, and also appeared in the 1986 movies Club Paradise starring Robin Williams and Link starring Terence Stamp. The Format covered it and included it on their 2007 B-Sides & Rarities album. The song is used in the first episode of the comedy TV series The Last Man on Earth to show the lead character's descent into a primitive style of living once civilization has ended.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Hinman, Doug. The Kinks: All Day and All of the Night. Backbeat Books. pp. 144 – 162. 
  2. ^ Paper on LVPATMPT
  3. ^ a b Hasted, Nick. You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks. Omnibus Press. 
  4. ^ "Officialcharts.de – The Kinks – Lola". GfK Entertainment.
  5. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 03, 1971" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  6. ^ "Archive Chart: 1970-20-11" UK Singles Chart.
  7. ^ "The Kinks Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for The Kinks.

External links[edit]