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Did You Know?

The Kinks’ “Lola” is a classic rock song that caused a stir upon its release in 1970 for its playful ambiguity around gender identity. Here’s a deeper look into this iconic tune:

Origins and Release:

  • Written by Ray Davies, frontman of The Kinks.
  • Released in 1970 as the lead single from the album “Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One.”
  • The song quickly became a hit, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart and number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US.

Genre: Rock

Lyrics and Theme:

  • The song tells the story of a young narrator encountering an attractive woman named Lola in a club in Soho, London.
  • The lyrics are filled with double entendres and playful confusion as the narrator questions Lola’s identity (“walked like a woman but talked like a man”).
  • Despite the ambiguity, the narrator remains smitten with Lola (“I fell in love with Lola”).

Impact and Legacy:

  • “Lola” caused controversy upon release due to its references to gender identity, a topic not widely discussed at the time.
  • The song became an anthem for sexual liberation and breaking social norms in the early 1970s.
  • It remains a popular and enduring song celebrated for its catchy melody and clever lyrics.
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Musical Style:

  • The song features a driving rock beat with prominent piano and rhythm guitar work.
  • The catchy melody and carefree vocals complement the playful lyrics.

Interesting Tidbits:

  • The song’s title character, Lola, was inspired by a transvestite Ray Davies encountered in Spain.
  • The ambiguity of the lyrics led to multiple interpretations about Lola’s identity.
  • Ray Davies has remained intentionally vague about Lola’s true nature, leaving it up to listeners’ imaginations.

Want to hear the song?

You can find “Lola” by The Kinks on most streaming platforms. There’s also the official music video available on YouTube: you can search for “The Kinks – Lola (Official Music Video)”.

Here are some additional questions you might be interested in:

  • Would you like to explore other songs by The Kinks?
  • Are you interested in learning more about the glam rock movement of the 1970s, where gender-bending style was prominent?
  • What other classic rock songs deal with themes of gender identity?
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Lyrics

I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola [LP version – Coca-Cola:]
C O L A cola
She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said Lola
L O L A Lola la-la-la-la LolaWell I’m not the world’s most physical guy
But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
Oh my Lola la-la-la-la Lola
Well I’m not dumb but I can’t understand
Why she walked like a woman and talked like a man
Oh my Lola la-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la LolaWell we drank champagne and danced all night
Under electric candlelight
She picked me up and sat me on her knee
And said little boy won’t you come home with me
Well I’m not the world’s most passionate guy
But when I looked in her eyes well I almost fell for my Lola
La-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola
Lola la-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola
I pushed her away
I walked to the door
I fell to the floor
I got down on my knees
Then I looked at her and she at me

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Well that’s the way that I want it to stay
And I always want it to be that way for my Lola
La-la-la-la Lola
Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for Lola
La-la-la-la Lola

Well I left home just a week before
And I’d never ever kissed a woman before
But Lola smiled and took me by the hand
And said dear boy I’m gonna make you a man

Well I’m not the world’s most masculine man
But I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man
And so is Lola
La-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola
Lola la-la-la-la Lola la-la-la-la Lola

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