Ray Davies wrote this song about a man who is unhappy with the modern world. Looking to escape the problems caused by his fellow humans, he plans a journey away from home, where he can live like an "apeman." Escape from our modern day society is a theme prevalent in many of Ray Davies' other songs, both solo, and with The Kinks.
Ray Davies had to re-dub the line "the air pollution is a-fogging up my eyes" for the radio, and for their November 1970 performance on Top Of The Pops, because it sounded too much like "the air pollution is 'a f---ing' up my eyes." The Kinks had the same situation with their previous single, "Lola" where Ray had to replace the line "Where you drink champagne and it tastes just Coca-Cola" with "Cherry cola" for airplay.
Suggestion credit: Eli - Melrose Park, PA, for above 2
John Gosling (aka "The Baptist") wore a gorilla outfit while sitting behind his keyboards during the Kinks' Top of the Pops performance of this song.
The song was covered by former Marillion singer Fish for his 1993 album Songs from the Mirror.
This appeared in the 1986 Robin Williams movie Club Paradise.