The Kinks were an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, north London, in 1963 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s. The band emerged during the height of British rhythm and blues and Merseybeat, and were briefly part of the British Invasion of the United States until their touring ban in 1965 (as a result of constant fighting between the brothers). Their third single, the Ray Davies-penned “You Really Got Me”, became an international hit, topping the charts in the United Kingdom and reaching the Top 10 in the United States. Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres, including American R&B and rock and roll initially, and later adopting British music hall, folk, and country. They gained a reputation for reflecting English culture and lifestyle, fuelled by Ray Davies’ wittily observational writing style.
Early works included albums such as Face to Face (1966), Something Else (1967), The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968), Arthur (1969), Lola Versus Powerman (1970), and Muswell Hillbillies (1971), along with their accompanying singles. After a fallow period in the mid-1970s, the band experienced a revival during the late 1970s and early 1980s with their albums Sleepwalker (1977), Misfits (1978), Low Budget (1979), Give the People What They Want (1981) and State of Confusion (1983). In addition, groups such as Van Halen, the Jam, the Knack, the Pretenders, The Raincoats and the Fall covered their songs, helping to boost the Kinks’ record sales. In the 1990s, Britpop acts such as Blur and Oasis cited the band as a major influence.
Ray Davies (rhythm guitar, lead vocals, keyboards) and Dave Davies (lead guitar, vocals) remained members throughout the band’s 33-year run. Longest-serving member Mick Avory (drums and percussion) was replaced by Bob Henrit, formerly of Argent, in 1984. Original bass guitarist Pete Quaife was replaced by John Dalton in 1969. After Dalton’s 1976 departure, Andy Pyle briefly served as the band’s bassist before being replaced by Argent bassist Jim Rodford in 1978. Session keyboardist Nicky Hopkins accompanied the band in the studio for many of their recordings in the mid-to-late 1960s. The band became an official five-piece in 1970, when keyboardist John Gosling joined them. Gosling quit in 1978; he was first replaced by ex-Pretty Things member Gordon Edwards, then more permanently by Ian Gibbons in 1979. The band gave its last public performance in 1996 and broke up in 1997 as a result of creative tension between the Davies brothers.
The Kinks have had five Top 10 singles on the US Billboard chart. Nine of their albums charted in the Top 40. In the UK, they have had seventeen Top 20 singles and five Top 10 albums. Four Kinks albums have been certified gold by the RIAA and the band have sold over 50 million records worldwide. Among numerous honours, they received the Ivor Novello Award for “Outstanding Service to British Music”. In 1990, the original four members of The Kinks were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the UK Music Hall of Fame in November 2005. In 2018, after years of ruling out a reunion due to the brothers’ animosity and the difficult relationship between longtime drummer Mick Avory and Dave, Ray and Dave Davies finally announced they were working to reform the Kinks, with Avory also on board. However, comments made by each of the Davies brothers in 2020 and 2021 would indicate that in the years since the initial announcement, little (if any) progress has been made towards an actual Kinks reunion for a new studio band album.
Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One, commonly abbreviated to Lola Versus Powerman, is the eighth studio album by British rock band the Kinks, recorded and released in 1970. 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. 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.
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 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.
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.
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 ban by the American Federation of Musicians on performing in America, which had been in force since 1965, was lifted in 1969, so the group’s management arranged a North American tour. However, members of the band fell ill, and the tour was shuffled, resulting in the band playing only a few dates in America and Canada. 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. The down time between the tours allowed Ray Davies, lead singer and songwriter of the group, to develop the band’s next single, “Lola”
The Kinks returned to England to start work on their new LP in spring 1970. The group used Morgan Studios, an independent studio in Willesden, London, which was a change for them. They would continue recording their albums there until Preservation, when they switched to their newly purchased studio, Konk. Recording began in late April/early May. Some of the first songs recorded were “Lola”, the outtake “The Good Life”, “Powerman” and “Got to Be Free”. 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.
“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.”
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.
Keyboardist John Gosling was added to the Kinks’ lineup in May. 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. Dubbing for “Lola” was finished in June. Recording for the LP was completed by October, and it was mixed throughout the remainder of the month. 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. 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”. “Fogging” was mistaken for “fucking”, and consequently Ray Davies had to re-record this line prior to its single release.
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”). 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. (wikipedia)
“Lola” gave the Kinks an unexpected hit and its crisp, muscular sound, pitched halfway between acoustic folk and hard rock, provided a new style for the band. However, the song only hinted at what its accompanying album Lola Versus the Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One was all about. It didn’t matter that Ray Davies just had his first hit in years — he had suffered greatly at the hands of the music industry and he wanted to tell the story in song. Hence, Lola — a loose concept album about Ray Davies’ own psychosis and bitter feelings toward the music industry.
Davies never really delivers a cohesive story, but the record holds together because it’s one of his strongest set of songs. Dave Davies contributes the lovely “Strangers” and the appropriately paranoid “Rats,” but this is truly Ray’s show, as he lashes out at ex-managers (the boisterous vaudevillian “The Moneygoround”), publishers (“Denmark Street”), TV and music journalists (the hard-hitting “Top of the Pops”), label executives (“Powerman”), and, hell, just society in general (“Apeman,” “Got to Be Free”). If his wit wasn’t sharp, the entire project would be insufferable, but the album is as funny as it is angry. Furthermore, he balances his bile with three of his best melancholy ballads: “This Time Tomorrow,” “A Long Way from Home,” and the anti-welfare and union “Get Back in Line,” which captures working-class angst better than any other rock song. These songs provide the spine for a wildly unfocused but nonetheless dazzling tour de force that reveals Ray’s artistic strengths and endearing character flaws in equal measure. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)
Mick Avory (drums, percussion)
John Dalton (bass, background vocals)
Dave Davies (guitar, banjo, background vocals, vocals on 02., 10, + 12 + 16.)
Ray Davies (vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards)
John Gosling (keyboards)
01.The Contenders 2.42
02. Strangers 3.20
03. Denmark Street 2.02
04. Get Back In Line 3.04
05. Lola 4.01
06. Top Of The Pops 3.40
07. The Moneygoround 1.46
08. This Time Tomorrow 3.21
09. A Long Way From Home 2.27
10. Rats 2.40
11. Apeman 3.52
12. Powerman 4.18
13. Got To Be Free 3.01
14. Lola (mono single mix) 4.08
15. Apeman (stereo alternative version) 3.41
16. Powerman (demo version) 4.23
All songs written by Ray Davies,
except 02. + 10., written by Dave Davies
Ray & Dave Davies in 2020: