Media Literacy Forum

Lola by The Kinks

The song was written by Ray Davies, songwriter and rhythm guitarist for the Kinks. He had gotten the idea for the song from the band’s manager going to a nightclub and having an encounter with a transgender. The song had a bit of a controversy, one being Ray Davies not willing to tell the story of the song, and the other was the use of the word “Coca-Cola” in the song. Because of the use of the word “Coca-Cola”, Ray was forced to change it to “Cherry Cola”.

I have near to no taste in music as the widest variety of music I have heard has been from the radio and from you guys. I had known that sooner or later I would’ve been chosen to do Song of the Day. To be a little prepared for it, I asked a friend of mine from North Carolina, who listens to a lot of Classic and trending music, what he would pick. He said, “Lola, by the Kinks.”

I immediately asked him what it was about, and he told me that I had to listen to it first. After listening to it, I had tried to play it innocent and thought that it was about someone going to a club and meeting a strong woman. However, just from hearing “But I know what I am and I’m glad that I’m a man. And so is Lola” I knew that it had to be something weird, and at the time I thought. He told me the song was about a guy going to a bar and meets a transgender woman. I laughed a bit, after he said that.

This song might’ve been about a real world experience, but it had an obvious ad in it, 1st verse, it used to be “Coca-Cola”. It is rather obvious though, as the Kinks had to rewrite two words in their song. From “Coca-Cola” to “Cherry-Cola”. The Kinks’ song had gotten banned in Australia and England as it was either controversial subject matter or blatantly having “Coca-Cola” in the song. I don’t think it went over well, as I have yet to find the song with Coca Cola used instead of Cherry Cola (I didn't look on YouTube).


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    • I agree with you that today it would get by a lot easier because we are more open to it. I see where you get the idea of the happy ending, and that was something I considered when I first listened to it.
  • The only reason I had heard this song before was because my parents listen to it sometimes. The song is really good, I believe, it really fits into our society today. I really like how they made the song personal to the band manager. The song really is popular and that kind of surprises me because when this was made in the seventies it was not acceptable to be a trans. The cool thing is now it is acceptable in our society and the song really does show our society now. The really funny thing is, is that people in the seventies listening to it probably thought it was just a goofy song. But little did they know it would be acceptable later on.
  • I thought this song was a really good choice for song of the day. I like hearing songs that I haven't heard before and that are unique and this song was definitely that. As Mr. Polking talked about in class, we think that this whole gender openness thing is new, but it isn't. When I heard this song I would have guessed that it was very knew just because this is what we hear about all of the time right now. It was surprising to me to know that this song was a lot older than I though it would be. This song had very catchy versus and I feel like the lyrics will stick in my head all day because of the rhymes and repetitive sounds.
    • Sorry if it sticks in your head all day! If I had heard this song today (and I had never heard it before), I would agree with you that I would have thought that it would be a more recent song.
  • I thought this song was really interesting because it was written in the 70s when being transgender wasn't nearly as common or accepted as it is now. I'm surprised the song received more controversy for the use of "coca cola" rather than being transgender, so I guess that's a good thing. I'd kind of like to hear the full story of the song because I'm curious to see what happened afterwards and hear the band manager's side of it and see if he thought it was strange or if he actually did like the girl. I feel like this would be fairly popular back then also because if you listen to the radio now, a lot of the songs have a catchy chorus that repeats a lot, which this song also does. Good choice.
  • Interesting song choice I would say. Throughout the song I was very confused on if it was a guy or a girl because the ending was really confusing. I think that the artist made it so confusing because back then it wasn't really excepted to be that way.
  • Well, in all honesty I liked the sing, but I must say that is was a little odd. I mean props to the band for being able to come out with a song with the themes it has in a time when it wasn't exactly accepted, but a man in a club falling in love with a transvestite. I little odd. The instrumental sounds were great, ranging from a more blues or folksy beginning to really picking up the pace about midway through the song. It really cracks me up that a few times throughout the song your kind of just like, " Wait did I hear that right?" Then at the very end he says the person's a man, which threw me off a bit, but also made the song make more sense.
  • I instantly thought the song was about a younger guy, maybe just turning old enough to drink or leave home, went to the club and met a woman. He seemed to find it odd how masculine she was, and later discovered she was a man. It sounded like he wanted to leave at first, but then was okay with the fact that Lola was a man. I thought the song was just made for fun or as a joke. I did not think that it was an actual experience for the band's manager, so that's a little odd. I have never heard of this song or band before, but as we talked about, it probably was a little weird or more frowned upon to have a song about this.
  • What an interesting and different song. This was the first time I have heard this song and it wasn't like one I've heard before. I was very confused throughout the song, until after when I read the lyrics over again I thought it could be transgender, or a drag queen. Like we talked about in class, this was not highly accepted back in the 70's/80's. It's crazy to think how times have changed and that even a song like this can make the "not normal" normal. I had an image in my head through the whole song of a masculine woman and a scrawny man. It seemed as if he wasn't sure what he wanted because it stated that he had never had a kiss before so I"m guessing that would have been his first relationship. Was he scared of who he was falling for, or was he scared for falling for someone in general? It could go both ways. Interesting song choice!
  • I think it's really cool that you chose or were given a song that was made in the 70's because we haven't had that old of a song yet. This is definitely a different song. At first I thought the song was talking about a really masculine woman. When the lyrics said, "She picked me up and sat me on her knee," I was thinking dang, this is really strange. It made more sense once it got to the lyrics that said girls will be boys and boys will be girls and talking about how Lola is a man. Then I knew it was about meeting a transgender in a bar. It's really cool how an experience can be made into a catchy song like this.
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