Jun 12, 2010

I Met Her In A Club Down In Old Soho...

The Kinks (1970)
One of the greatest rock songs ever recorded is turning 40 years old today.  It was highly controversial and progressive for its time, and it probably still would be considered both of those things today.

It has been rumored that the song was inspired by Candy Darling, who was one of the inspirations behind Walk On The Wild Side by Lou Reed, but that isn't the case.  There's a few stories about the origins of the song, but the two that are generally accepted is that it's either inspired by a night that The Kinks manager Robert Wace spent with a transgender woman in Paris, or the fact that drummer Mick Avory spent a lot of time at drag clubs and transgender-friendly pubs in West London.  Either way, it's one of those songs that tells a story that grabs you from the opening line and keeps you paying attention and bopping your head from beginning to end.

My favorite version of this song is the studio version that appears on the Lola vs Powerman album, but this is the best live version that I was able to find on YouTube.  It's a stripped down version with just two instruments; Ray Davies on guitar and vocals and Gordon Edwards on piano.  Like many of the recorded versions of the song, it replaces Coca-Cola with cherry cola, but at least it doesn't cut off the end like so many radio stations did.

I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like 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

Well, I'm not the world's most physical guy
But when she squeezed me tight, she nearly broke my spine
Oh my Lola

Well, I'm not dumb, but I can't understand
Why she walks like a woman and talks like a man
Oh my Lola

Well we drank champagne and danced all night
Under electric candlelight
She picked me up and sat me on her knee
She 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

I pushed her away
I walked to the door
I fell to the floor
I got down on my knees
Well I looked at her and she at me

Well that's the way that I want it to stay
And I always want it to be that way for my Lola

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world
Except for Lola

Well, I'd left home just a week before
And I'd never, ever kissed a woman before
Lola smiled and took me by the hand
She said, "Little boy, 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