Writer(s): Ray Davies (see lyrics here)
Released: June 12, 1970
First Charted: July 4, 1970
Peak: 9 US, 8 CB, 7 GR, 7 HR, 1 CL, 2 UK, 2 CN, 6 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 22.0 video, 218.86 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
The Kinks formed in England in 1963 and were one of the most celebrated bands that spearheaded the British invasion. Singer/songwriter Ray Davies “created some of the best typically British popular music of the era.” TB The Kinks landed a dozen top-ten hits in the UK during the 1960s. In the U.S., they hit the top 10 three times before petering out and finding themselves unable to even crack the Hot 100. However, they experienced a resurgence in 1970 with “Lola,” a top-ten hit in the U.S. and UK.
“One of the most controversial songs of its time, ‘Lola’ was the first pop hit about transexuality.” TC It “predicts gender bending a full decade before Boy George made it fashionable” DT in the early ‘80s. Davies spins a tale about picking up a woman at a Paris nightclub who might be a man. He was inspired by a night out with record producer Robert Wace, who was dancing with a sultry black woman. However, when Davies noticed stubble on “her” chin, he thought she might be a he. SJ
Kinks’ drummer Mick Avory has claimed it was about his own experiences in West London bars which hosted drag shows. WK Davies himself denies it was inspired by his own experience dating Candy Darling, a transvestite who gained attention as one of Andy Warhol’s superstars at the Factory and who was referenced in Lou Reed’s song “Walk on the Wild Side.” TC
Amusingly, the Kinks did have to change a line in the song, but not because of sexuality. The song originally referenced Coca-Cola, but the BBC insisted on changing the lyric to “Cherry Cola” TC because of regulations prohibiting product advertising on the airwaves. TB
First posted 7/11/2023.