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Lola

by

The Kinks



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song is about a transvestite. According to a 2004 piece in Rolling Stone magazine, it may have been inspired by the famous transvestite Candy Darling, who Kinks lead singer Ray Davies allegedly dated for a brief time. This is the same Candy mentioned in Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side" ("Candy came from out on the island, in the backroom she was everybody's darling").
The other possibility, which is stated in The Kinks: The Official Biography, is that Ray Davies wrote the lyrics after their manager got drunk at a club and started dancing with what he thought was a woman. Toward the end of the night, his stubble started showing, but their manager was too tanked to notice. (thanks, Martin - Rostock, Germany)
The Kinks came up with the riff after messing around with open strings on guitars.
This revived the career of The Kinks, at least in America where their popularity was fading. Their previous Top 40 in the States was "Sunny Afternoon" in 1966.
The line "You drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola" was recorded as "it tastes just like Coca-Cola." The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) refused to play it because of the commercial reference, so Ray Davies flew from New York to London to change the lyric and get the song on the air.
Lola is mentioned in the 1981 Kinks song "Destroyer," which begins: "Met a girl called Lola and I took her back to my place."
The Kinks' fans were not the type of people who would relate to a transvestite, but they loved this. It opened the door for artists like Lou Reed and David Bowie to explore homosexuality in songs that straight people liked too.
Weird Al Yankovic recorded a parody of this song entitled "Yoda" (based on the Star Wars movies) for his 1985 album Dare to Be Stupid. (thanks, Jerro - New Alexandria, PA)
The Kinks
The Kinks Artistfacts
More The Kinks songs
More songs with girls' names in the title
More songs about cross-dressers
More songs about transvestites
More songs that S-P-E-L-L out words in the lyrics

Comments (72):

In Ray Davies' (of The Kinks) seminal song Lola, he writes the lyric "I'm glad I'm a man, and so is Lola." This can mean one of four things: "Lola and I are both glad I'm a man," "I'm glad Lola and I are both men," "I'm glad I'm a man, and Lola is also a man," or "I'm glad I'm a man, and Lola is also glad to be a man." Davies opted to use syntactic ambiguity on purpose and has never made it clear which interpretation is the correct one.
- Cyberpope, Richmond, Canada
@all
I think it says: "I asked her name and in a bedroom voice she said, Lola". Also, I prefer to hear it as: "but I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man and so does Lola".
- David, Detroit , MI
Wait, sorry, I wanted to say "non-transvestites (which are different from *crossdressers*, etc. etc.)". Sorry. Lola is about a transvestite, not a crossdresser (however, obligatory "LONG LIVE EDDIE IZZARD!" here when mentioning crossdressers *grin*).
- Kip, Eastham, MA
Okay, I don't want to get anyone's panties in a bunch (yes, intended :p) -- but I just wanted to say that some of the comments here about "heteroboors" and whatnot -- COME ON! This is a great song; I first heard it in the sixth or seventh grade, and I knew what it was about right away. Now, sure, it was a little bit later until I fully understood it, but I knew what it meant. And I loved the song. And I'm 100% heterosexual. It's a great song, and you don't need to be ANYTHING except a music fan to appreciate it. Hetero or LBGTS, it doesn't matter, a great song is a great song, and yes, non-crossdressers (which, I know, are different from transvestites and homosexuals, etc. etc.) can appreciate this song AND the meaning. Great music is great music. Okay, okay :-)
- Kip, Eastham, MA
The most telling lyrics: "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." This has SOOO much innuendo. This guy is on his knees looking directly at Lola's......what? I mean, the dude is on his knees! That's when the real realization of what's going on really hits. Of course, there's an incredible amount of double meaning throughout the whole song. It is masterfully written and sung. Btw, rock it out if your name is Lola, it's great!
- Camille, Toronto, OH
for almost 3 years i loved this song because the guy sounded a little like me, but he still met a great girl. Thanks a LOT Internet!
- nicholas, reston, VA
@lola,queens-
I had the album in 1971. You're wrong.
It's the opposite of what you say.

Also: "and it tastes just like Coca-Cola".
- Rick, Harrisburg, PA
Essentially the same instrumentation as Apeman, another song on the same album. The lyrics are extremely different, but the same sound.
- David, Youngstown, OH
Duane from Tampa you are so right. I couldn't agree more. and, john from bispane, you have a very interesting way of looking at it.
- Ryan, Somewhere in, NJ
I do not care about any of the deeper meanings of the lyrics or social-political statements that the song makes it just F*****g ROCKS and is fun to listen to; dance to; sing and play if you are lucky enough to be in a band!!! Isn't that what Rock and Roll is really about? I am putting anyone down for anything, but too often I feel that people lose the perspective if you over analyze a song, one can some times lose sight of the forest for the trees. This is one of the GREATEST rock songs ever for many reasons, but mostly because it ROCKS!!
- Duane, Tampa, FL
Some years ago, I was working in a welding shop, and we had hired some temps to help with a large project. We had the radio playing as we worked, and a song by Elton John was playing. I was singing along, and this temp guy says to me "That's fag music". I said, "Well, I'm not concerned with what the musician does in his private life. I like his music." That was that, until another song came on the radio, "Lola" by The Kinks. The temp speaks up again and says "Now THIS is a great song!". I informed him that the song was about a transvestite. He objected. I pointed out the lyrics "I'm glad I'm a man, and so is Lola", and then reminded him of Lola's "dark brown voice", and of her strength, etc. It was amusing watching the odd expression on that fellas face. I laughed a little, and went back to work. He didn't say very much for the rest of that day.
- Stegokitty, Cumberland, RI
I stumbled upon this song by accident and I really got to like it.
- Zane, Kenosha, WI
This is John again and I just want to say that men and only men in my life is what I want.So all you heterosexuals know where the door is and please F O heteroboors.Anyway I totally love this song and cant understand why it did not get to no 1.
- john, Brisbane, United States
I have always thought the lyrics of the final verse of this song went something like this:

"I'm not the world's most masculine man,
but I know what I am and in bed I'm a man
and so is Lola! la-la-la-la Lola, la-la-la-la Lola"

Perhaps if they actually were, it would clear up any misunderstandings of punctions and such!
Still a great song!
- lola, home, GA
In regards to William, syracuse, NY comment; maybe Lola is glad that she (Lola) is a man? It's all about punctuation, which you loose with lyrics. But this could still be a way of looking at it, as being a drag queen does not mean you're unhappy about your sexuality.

To Michael, Hong Kong, Hong Kong: The version I have goes 'Cherry Cola' and at the end 'I'm glad I'm a man and so is Lola' - so a bit of both versions according to you, but the best version I think :-)
- Georgia, London, United Kingdom
I love this song everytime I hear it I can't stop laughing if I met a crossdresser I'd probably play this song in my head over and over and just laugh my a$$ off.
- blake, tahlequah, OK
John of Brisbane: What do you mean when you say,"I want to dispel any kind of femininity?"


Having asked that question, I'm glad you made the distinction between cross-dressers and gay men. And I'd like to say that transgenders are different from either.


A trans person is just as likely to have been living as "straight" as "gay" or "bi" or any other sexual orientation. On the other hand, trans people have, in reality, almost nothing in common with cross-dressers.


You see, before our transitions, we might sometimes wear the clothes of the "opposite" gender. But we do so in order to, if only for a moment, experience the sort of lives we want. A crossdresser, on the other hand, has no wish to be the gender whose clothes he/she wears.


OK, back to music....:-)
- MusicMama, new york, NY
What does homosexuality have to do with transvestitism.Heterosexual men are more like transvestites becauase they love females. Us homosexual men go for and are totally masculine.But this is a great good song!Me I want to dispel any kind of femininity.
- john, Brisbane, United States
I wasn't surprised at the lyrics when the song was released, and the meaning was crystal clear. For the younger folks, things were pretty buttoned down during the administration of Richard Nixon. You had to be here. It was bizarre. (After eight years of W, things are equally bizarre, but much different. The world wasn't online in 1971.)
- ciara, District of Columbia, DC
Sean in Aldergrove, Canada: I'm transgendered, too. (You may have already figured that out from some of my other postings.) I agree that to simply have had a song, back in 1970, about someone who "doesn't fit into traditional norms", as you say, was something. However, in the end, it reinforced the whole gender binary system as much as any other pop song has.





One almost expects the song to take an enlightened turn at "But when I looked in her eyes, I almost fell for my Lola." But, after the "Lola" refrain, we hear, "I pushed her away." From there, the song proceeds (or descends, depending on your opinion) to its culminating "lesson": "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's Lola."






By the way, Sean, I'm not writing this to admonish you. I have no right to do so because, I'm ashamed to admit, I didn't actually listen to the lyrics of this song until my gender transition was underway! Peace.
- MusicMama, new york, NY
This is quite possibly my favorite song ever. I'm transgendered, and it's just really nice to see a popular song about someone who doesn't fit into traditional gender norms.

And just to be totally random, I had a rabbit named Lola once- when I bought her, they told me she was a male, so when I found out she was female, I *had* to call her Lola.
- Sean, Aldergrove, Canada
I just heard the story about the manager dancing with Lola, not realizing that she was a man. The real Lola (apparently) was Candy Darling, a famous queen that was part of Andy Warhol's entourage. She/He is also referenced in Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Candy Says".
- Nathan, Los Angeles, CA
This one of my fav. song's from the Kinks
and one day I would love to meet a transvestite.
- mixermatt, Bloomington, MN
I saw a transvestite a few months ago and he was wearing red go-go boots, a red mini skirt and a red blous and hat. The song Lola went through my head like crazy. He looked like the guy from the movie Kinky Boots
- Bianca Sanchez, Alburquerque, NM
Hey, is Lola glad you're a man just like you are or is Lola a man just like you? I hope that the first choice is the right one - Lola is glad that you're a man. When this song begins, it doesn't sound much like a classic hit; it sounds like a commercial or an infomercial being introduced. But after you hear it play its length, which is much longer than expected, you'll realize that it is no commercial or infomercial; it's a classic hit. In fact, it's a recording by the Kinks. Wow, what suspense!!
- andrew, birmingham, United States
I love this song, sure its about a cross-dresser but i mean its a good song. My favorite part is when he says "Ello ello." I love It!
- Bianca Sanchez, Alburquerque, NM
This song is absolutely butchered on an epiisode of futurama.
- Linda, Ranger, GA
'lola' is a rare case in which censorship actually led to an improvement on the original lyric: my own experience of that kind of club down in old soho is that the champagne does in fact taste just like cherry cola: sickly sweet and as if it was made with the wrong type of chewing gum flavour. incidentally, the last time i went, about fifteen years ago, i was with a straight friend who promptly got charmed off his socks by one of the transvestites, entirely convinced she was a woman, and quite a bit confused on realising that clearly she wasn't (although of course i could have told him so. but it was much more fun not to...)
- sebastian, london, England
I'm all for gay marriage, but that's just nasty.
- Dylan, Port Orange, FL
The song is about a transexual, there is a difference in drag queens and transexuals and transvestites. Drag Queens can be straight men that just dress up as women. A transvestite is usually a man who wants to be a woman, but is still physically a man, without female hormones, and a transexual is usually a man who has had augmentation, and is taking hormones but is still technically a "man" if you get my drift. This song really has this slow cool groove, I live it, even though I don't care too much for the lyric content. But I still sing along.
- Arlene, san antonio, TX
The other day I had a business meeting, the kind where you make little paper name tags at the registration desk. I wrote Lola on mine. Got a lot of strange looks that day.
- Lo-Lo-Lo-Lola, Port Lavaca, TX
This song makes me laugh...i kinda like the live virsion...so funny.favorite lyric..."well im not the world most masculine man but i know what i am and that im a man and so is lola"...LMAO is this is really a true story...all i have to say is wow.
- Madalyn, Greensburg, PA
good song i kind of realised from the first time i heard it that lola was a man
- elie, london
I think coca-cola in "Come together" refers more to cocaine, but that shouldn't make I difference
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
Except that the original version is more ambiguous and double-entendre'd: "I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man and so is Lola."

Could be interpreted as she's glad he's a man, too, There is no question with the alternate lyrics.


To help clear up some of the rumours: The Original verse was "Coca-cola". Also in this version, the lyrics at the end are "I know what I am and I'm glad, I'm a man, and so is Lo-la." This was changed in the later (BBC allowed) "cherry cola" version to "I know what I am in the bed, I'm a man, and so is Lo-la." Why? Possibly because British people like innuendos a LOT. (Not being racist, but Britain is the double-entrende capital!)
- Emlem, NYC, NY
At the Kinks' commercial low point in 1969, Davies' father urged him to write another big hit song. "Lola" was the result, and it literally saved the band's foundering career (just as "You Really Got Me" had done five years earlier), allowing them to negotiate a new record contract with RCA and finance their own Konk studio in North London. It was also a dynamite sing-along concert song that helped their return to the America concert market after a long absence.
- Paul, Sacramento, CA
I think the correct term is "drag queen" -- a transvestite is a cross-dressing heterosexual male -- at least according to Eddie Izzard. Regardless, this song came out the year I graduated and my nickname was Lola so I was given the 45 (remember those) as a present by at least 5 people. I always thought the song was sweetly sentimental. All this Kinky talk is gonna drive me to Rhapsody to do some downloading.....
- Laurie, Keene, NH
This is a great song, just bought it from AllTunes after listening to Yoda by Weird Al. Strange all the times I've heard it up till buying it I never noticed it was about a transvestite, then when I was looking at the lyrics on Winamp with the Leo's Lyrics plugin I realised it was about a transvestite! I got 2 versions from AllTunes, the remastered version which has the original Coca-Cola line in it and the Madness cover of it which has Cherry-Cola in it. Also how come The Beatles could get away with marketing Coca-Cola in Come Together when The Kinks couldn't???
- Darren, Warrington, England
i love the kinks. to be honest they dont get a lot of credit as a rock band. and "COME DANCING" is one hell of a song one of the best. LONG LIVE THE.....KINKS!!!
- Julian, Anaheim, CA
I love this song! Not as much the melody, but the lyrics! They put it perfecty together!
- novella, houston, TX
Yeah this song rocks. It is a headphone song* (*When I get out my headphones with my computer turned up^)
So funny. Funniest song. That would suck for the guy, probably midway through High School...first kiss is with a guy....Wow. What's this I hear about Lou Reed? [^Don't worry 'bout my ears folks (unless yur insensetive), I have a laptop]
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
The Kinks song that mentioned Lola was not called Paranoia, it was "Destroyer" from the "Give The People What They Want" album in 1981.
- Stig, Southern Alberta, Canada
I was 8 when I first heard this song - recorded on "One for the Road" in Providence, RI. Yet another song which sealed my fate in listening to Rock, Hard Rock, and Heavy Metal....sure, its about a transvestite, but who cares, its a classic!
- Mike, Warwick, RI
Im 16 and ive always liked the song ever since i heard it......i'd never really taken any notice to the lyrics, id just got around to looking it up and finding out what it was about and why Ray Davies wrote about a transvestite! i had a guess that it was about a bad experience tho....unlucky lol....great song!
- John, Darwin, Australia
I hate to admit but everytime that I hear this song I get a good laugh out of the line "And I'd never ever kissed a woman before," because I always think that he still hasn't.
- Sonya, Wagoner, OK
To help clear up some of the rumours:

The Original verse was "Coca-cola". Also in this version, the lyrics at the end are "I know what I am and I'm glad, I'm a man, and so is Lo-la."

This was changed in the later (BBC allowed) "cherry cola" version to "I know what I am in the bed, I'm a man, and so is Lo-la."

Why? Possibly because British people like innuendos a LOT. (Not being racist, but Britain is the double-entrende capital!)
- Michael, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
I never listened clsoe to the lyrics. But I kinda thought it was about a transvestite. I minimized the lyrics window and it was. Also I am wondering about The Rocky Horror Picture show. It has the "I'm gonna make you a man." and it was about transvestites.
- Mike, Winnipeg, Canada
Kind of an awkward thing to say above: The Kinks' fans were not the type of people who would relate to a transvestite, but they loved this. What type of music do people who relate to transvestites listen to? Who is to say that people who are into transvestites don't like the Kinks? Way to stereotype the entire people who liked the Kinks and to stereotype people who are into transvestites.
- Roger, Los Angeles, CA
Awesome song, funny, but I like it. My friend originally said it was about a gay man, but I just heard it 5 minutes ago, and wow, what a difference!
- Matthew, East Brunswick, NJ
Heard this song a million times, and just this year I actually listened to lyrics and found out what the song is about, lol!
- Nathan, Defiance, OH
Mig Ayesa sang this song on Rockstar INXS. He rocked at it. I'd pay big bucks to hear him sing it on the radio. This is such a great song. It used to make me laugh when I was little. I love this song.
- Mercedies, Soldotna, AK
I dunno, i thought the lyrics were pretty darn clear, not a bad song either...
- kika, nyc, NY
In the Filipino language, "Lola" means "grandmother." So for a long time I couldn't associate this song with any other meaning, heheh.
- Elson, Los Angeles, CA
The line "When she sqeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine" kind of gives a hint on what is going on.
- David, Alexandria, NJ
At first I thought that this song was really about a girl who just acts unlady-like. Just Think more about the lyrics "I pushed her away..." he clearly says her. and then this one And "I'd never ever kissed a woman before.
But Lola smiled and took me by the hand..." and anyways, Who names their son Lola?
- Kendall, thomasville, GA
for the record everyone, the lyrics go 'i know what i am in the bed im a man and so is lola "listen carefully ok,it is NOT 'i know what i am, im glad im a man'now go listen to the song fools
- lola, queens, NY
Every time I hear this song I tease my wife Lola. Other people do also when they find out her name. When we go out to a club someone always gets the DJ to play this song for her. I never knew the lyrics until I looked them up on the internet. I was shocked to realize the real words. I still love the song and have fun with my hot looking wife Lola who is a woman and a very sexy one.
- Craig, Columbia, PA
This is #422 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs
- Ross, Independence, MO
The protagonist sings, "I know what I am, I'm glad I'm a man. And so is Lola".The ambiguity Ray Davies emphasizes adds to the magic of the song. Is Lola glad the protagonist is a man or is Lola a man?Fun stuff from a brillant song crafter.
- William, syracuse, NY
The changed verse appears on the radio single; the original line appears intact on the album "Lola vs. PowerMan and the Money Go Round"
- James, L.A., CA
When I first heard lola I was pretty shocked, because i didn't know that dj's could get away with playing songs like that. I could also tell that the song was about a transvestite, because of lines like "i'm not dumb but I can't undrestand why she walks like a woman and talks like a man". O by the way, where do they play versons with the cherry cola line? I always heard the versions which has "Where they drink champaign and it tastes just like cocacola". i've never heard the other version. Well... I might have and just didn't realive it.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
When I first heard this song i didn't realise it was about a tranvestite...then one day i was singing it around the house and my dad was like 'you what thats about..right?'...it gave it a whole new meaing lol ;-)
- Emma, Auckland, New Zealand
I like the song though I don't appreciate my name being used for a transvestite. Overall though, the song is a good one. My mom named me after my aunt and my grandma who have all had the name Lola.
- Lola, Clay Center, KS
Every time i hear this song i think of...well i don't realy think but this song never fails to make me laugh, it Brightens my OH so boreing day
- Erica, Hampstead, NC
I love this song. It turned me on to 1960's and 70's rock and Transvestites. Just kidding about the transvestites part.
- Nathan, Anchorage, AK
"I met her in a club down in old Soho, where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola." The first time I actually visited a club in Soho (London), the meaning of this line became suddenly clear. Most of the clubs don't have liquor licenses, so they serve mixtures of soft drinks and fruit juices that look like alcoholic beverages. When I took the first sip of my "beer" and tasted apple juice and mineral water, I cried, "Lola!"
- Mike, San Antonio, TX
Other songs that have mentioned some wild times in Soho are Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" and The Who's "Who are You".
- Ronnie, Ft. Meyers, FL
the original lyric is coca cola not cherry it was changed due to threats of a lawsuit
- edward, Virginia Beach, VA
Actually, the other Kinks' song that mentions Lola is called "Destroyer". The lyrics are "Paranoia, the destroyer." It's considered to be the sequel to "Lola". "Destroyer" is on the album, "Give the People What They Want", from 1981 --- a truly great album from start to finish.
- Ken, Dupont, PA
definately not banned in australia...... it was a huge hit.. and i had it on 45 myself..
sorry brad you've been mislead!
- marlow, perth, Australia
I've known this song forever because a family friend had a male cat named Lola, but I never understood it. A couple of years ago, I actually listened to the lyrics.....it was quite a shock, but I still love the song.
- Bridget, Ridgewood, NJ
Love that song so much, I named one of my dogs after it. Sure, she has a hairy face, but she`s still a girl!!
- Kristi, New Liskeard, Canada
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