Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One

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Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
Studio album by
Released27 November 1970
RecordedApril–May and August–September 1970
StudioMorgan, London
GenreRock, pop[1]
LabelPye (UK), Reprise (US)
ProducerRay Davies
The Kinks UK chronology
Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
The Kinks US chronology
Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
Muswell Hillbillies
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 simply Lola, is the eighth studio album by the English rock band the Kinks, recorded and released in 1970.[2] 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.[2] 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's strongest songs.[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 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.[3]

In October 2020, Sanctuary Records released a 3-disc 50th Anniversary set that includes 36 extra tracks that include B-sides, outtakes, new mixes and alternate versions.

A second part never followed Part One.

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 Kinks' ban by the American Federation of Musicians on performing in America, which had been in force since their 1965 US tour,[4][5] was lifted in 1969, so the group's management arranged a North American tour.[6] However, members of the band fell ill, and the tour was shuffled,[6] resulting in the band playing 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 cancelled.[7] The down time between the tours allowed Ray Davies, lead singer and songwriter of the group, to develop 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 used Morgan Studios, an independent studio in Willesden, London, which was a change for them.[9] They 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 "The 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 1978, departing after the release of Misfits.[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.

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.[12] 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".[12] "Fogging" was mistaken for "fucking", and consequently Ray Davies had to re-record this line prior to its single release.[12]


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").[2] 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.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideB−[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] Village Voice critic Robert Christgau commented that "Lola" had been an "astounding single," but gave Lola Versus Powerman a lukewarm review, saying that "the melodies are still there, but in this context they sound corny rather than plaintive."[16] 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.[19]

Modern critical opinion towards Lola Versus Powerman is generally positive, abeilt slightly more diminished. Initially given a positive review by the magazine in 1971, Rolling Stone rated it 31/2 out of 5 stars in its 1992 printing[20]—however, the fourth edition (published in 2004) ranked it at only 2 stars.[21] 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."[2]

Commercial 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][22][23] It also peaked at #7 on the Record World charts.[3][23] 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.[24][25]

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;[26] 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.[27] "Apeman" has been featured in multiple films, including Mondovino (2004) and Harold Ramis' Club Paradise (1986).[28]

Ray Davies adapted the album into an autobiographical drama, with the help of co-writer Paul Sirett, including new versions of songs from the album. This was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in December 2021.[29]

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 simply as 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.

Ray Davies addressed the question of the unfinished sequel in a 2014 Uncut interview:

Lola Versus Powerman… was good versus evil, obviously, and in Volume Two, I sketched out how you become your worst nightmare, how the good man goes so far he becomes the evil person he always fought against. But we had to do another tour, we had the RCA deal, and we had other recording projects that we had to work towards, and it got lost, unfortunately.[30]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Ray Davies except where noted

Side one
1."The Contenders" 2:42
2."Strangers"Dave Davies3:20
3."Denmark Street" 2:00
4."Get Back in Line" 3:04
5."Lola" 4:01
6."Top of the Pops" 3:40
7."The Moneygoround" 1:42
Side two
8."This Time Tomorrow" 3:22
9."A Long Way from Home" 2:27
10."Rats"Dave Davies2:40
11."Apeman" 3:52
12."Powerman" 4:16
13."Got to Be Free" 3:00
1998 and 2004 CD reissue bonus tracks
14."Lola" (mono single mix)4:08
15."Apeman" (stereo alternative version)3:41
16."Powerman" (demo)4:23
2014 Sanctuary Records deluxe edition Disc 1 bonus tracks
15."The Contenders" (instrumental demo)3:01
16."The Good Life"3:16
17."Lola" (alternative version)5:28
18."This Time Tomorrow" (instrumental)3:19
19."Apeman" (alternative version, stereo)3:42
20."Got to Be Free" (alternative version)2:03


  • Some CD editions separate the first 40 seconds of "The Contenders" as its own track titled "Introduction"
  • The 2014 Deluxe edition included the Kinks' following album Percy as a second disc, also with bonus tracks. The 2-disc set is titled Lola versus Powerman and The Moneygoround and Percy.


Song Single Writer
"Berkeley Mews" "Lola" Ray Davies


The Kinks


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1970) Peak
Australia[3] 24
US[3][23] 35


All positions sourced to[3] except where noted.

Year Single Title UK US Netherlands Australia New Zealand
1970 "Lola" 2 9[23] 1 4 1
1970 "Apeman" 5 45[23] 14 5 5


  1. ^ Turner 2003, p. 561.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Erlewine, Stephen. "Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One". Allmusic. 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. ^ "Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One – The Kinks – Songs, Reviews, Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  15. ^ Blender review Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: K". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0-89919-026-X. Retrieved 28 February 2019 – via
  17. ^ a b Hinman 2004, p. 147.
  18. ^ Rolling Stone Magazine, 7 January 1971
  19. ^ Hinman 2004, p. 131
  20. ^ The Rolling Stone Album Guide (1992), pp. 401-402
  21. ^ The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (1992), p. 458
  22. ^ "Lola". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  23. ^ a b c d e "The Kinks: Charts and Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  24. ^ Strauss, Neil. "Tom Petty's Last Dance". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 3 November 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
  25. ^ Erlewine, Stephen. "The Last DJ [Bonus DVD]". Allmusic. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
  26. ^ "The Darjeeling Limited (2007) – Soundtracks". IMDB, the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  27. ^ "Les amants réguliers (2005) – Soundtracks". IMDB, the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  28. ^ "Club Paradise (1986) – Soundtracks". IMDB, the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  29. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Drama, Lola vs Powerman". BBC. 11 December 2021.
  30. ^ Gill, Andy (29 September 2014). "The Kinks – Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround Part One/Percy". Uncut. Archived from the original on 30 October 2015.