Cover version of the month #64
The Raincoats cover The Kinks
Lola by The Kinks is a magnificent example of Ray Davies songwriting skills. There is a story full of humour, delivered with a dash of mischief. You can imagine Davies smiling with a gleam in his eye as he wrote the song.
The playfulness in the lyrics is there from the off, warm chords turn to a finger picked riff and Ray introduces us to the setting of where he met Lola, cheekily and a little outrageously spelling out cola in the first verse. It's so cool, so simple yet so clever, and so effective - you're hooked immediately.
I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola
Davies doesn't let up, the song flows easily with his humour spilling into every verse, almost every line. There is some exaggeration as he tells the story of meeting Lola who has a deep voice who nearly breaks his spine when she squeezes him.
The fourth verse is just hilarious, leading to an even funnier break where Davies introduces the imagery of Lola picking him up and sitting him on 'her' knee.
I'm not dumb but I can't understand
Why she walked like a woman but talked like a man
Ray Davies is in sensational form, in his element as he continues his tale. My favourite section is probably the flowing break where he sings;
Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, except for Lola
Davies continues his tale to conclusion;
Well I'm not the worlds most masculine man
But I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man
And so is Lola
Lola was released in 1970, a full 2-years before Lou Reed's Walk On The Wild Side opened with Holly plucking her eyebrows and shaving her legs and then he was a she. I would have put money on Lou's song being released first.
This is just genius songwriting, an artist completely in the zone. The inspiration for Lola has generated a few stories down the years, but regardless of whether it was a band member or Davies himself, the result is undeniable - a story beautifully, hilariously and vividly told via the form of pop music, full of a vibrant energy, Davies sounds excited by his tale, excited by the song.
How on earth do you cover it?
Previous covers of the month
40. Jumpin' Jack Flash
44. Witchi Tai To
45. Our Lips Are Sealed
46. Sunshine Of Your Love
47. Here Comes The Sun
48. I Think We're Alone Now
49. Don't Let Me Down
50. It's Oh So Quiet
52. Summer Holiday
53. Who Do You Think You Are?
54. Head On
55. Nothing Compares 2 U
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