June 4, 2016

"The tax man's taken all my dough/And left me in my stately home/Lazing on a sunny afternoon..."

I feel like I've shared this before, but I'm sharing it today because I just saw this at Facebook: "The cast of Sunny Afternoon cover this classic tune to celebrate 50 years since its release."

Full lyrics here. Love this song — one of my favorites from one of my all-time favorite bands.


ndspinelli said...

Well, on this we agree. I have long thought the Kinks have never gotten the respect they deserve. This is one of many great Kinks songs.

FullMoon said...

Reminds me of this:
There's no place where you can call home
Got me running like a cat in a thunderstorm
Just a big bed and a telephone
Like the last remnants of a stately home
And it's a pretty hard thing (it's not easy)
And it's hard (it's not easy)
Well, it's a pretty hard thing (it's not easy)
It's not easy livin' on your own

Bob R said...

Ray Davies was a great song writer - which made the Kinks a great band. Was there a funnier rock songwriter? Dylan, Lennon and McCartney, Jsgger and Richards, Holland Dozier Holland, Smokey Robinson, all had a good sense of humor, but I think Davies is funnier. Neil Innes (Monty Python) is definitely in Davies' league - maybe funnier, but not as famous. Never wrote a song as good as Lola.

lemondog said...

1966 Top Federal Tax Rates

I'd be crying too.......

ndspinelli said...

I tended bar @ a place that had a transvestite come in to work the older men. He/she was very good and fooled most everyone. He/She stayed within normal limits so I didn't bother him/her. But, I had the vending guy put Lola in the jukebox and I would play it when he/she was there. I would get a wry smile. I would get a glare when me and my female partner bartender would sing along to Lola. Maybe it was my voice?

ndspinelli said...

lemondog, The Beatles, Kinks, Stones, all had to deal w/ the UK 98% top tax rate in the 60's. 98%!!!

Bob R said...

"I have long thought the Kinks have never gotten the respect they deserve. This is one of many great Kinks songs."

Vocals. They also were only competent professionals at their instruments. Great songs though.

Mark said...

If it was a sunny afternoon why did they film it in the snow I wonder?

CWJ said...

Bob R,

Competent is generous but I agree. Great songs!


You had to understand English society to fully appreciate The Kinks. That the English experience, and the English middle class didn't map seamlessly onto the American equivalents made it difficult for them to get the respect they deserved.

Example. When Ray Davies sang of his protagonist going "outside to polish his car" in "Shangri la," a '60s American would take that as a bit of getting ready to go Cruisin'. Ray's actual meaning was that between the cost of the car itself, and gas, etc,, there was nothing left other than to go outside and polish it.

Chris N said...

This is one of the first songs I learned on guitar. Ray Davies is perhaps underrated as a songwriter and lyricist.

There's a kind of wry, ironic distance with the American blues/rock life going on (Ma and Pa...really?), and the song contains elements of plaintive English Ballad, too.

The D minor bass walk down and F-A-climb back to D minor has a sad sublimity to it (la-zing on a su-nny afternoooooon)

Blue-green thoughts in the shadows on the lawn...ennui.

Administrator said...

Love the Kinks. Although on their Low Budget album, they decried the coming end of available gasoline on the cut A Gallon of Gas. About a prescient as Paul R. Ehrlich...


eddie willers said...

When I first understood "Lola", I thought "Oh my".

Always liked that they had to change the lyric on the American single of "Lola" so that it said "And it tastes just like Cherry Cola" instead of Coca-Cola due to, well, the obvious reason.

Of course, we kids had been asking our soda jerk to us make Cherry Cokes for forever.

ndspinelli said...

CWJ, One of the aspects of blogging I love is getting perspective from people all over the globe. Thanks for the insight.

CWJ said...


You can't understand "Lola." It is relentlessly ambiguous. Take the supposedly defining lyric, "... glad I'm a man, and so is Lola." So what is Lola? Glad or a man?

ndspinelli said...

BobR, Watch the great documentary The Wrecking Crew. You will see only a select few bands were competent musicians. The Wrecking Crew, a group of union studio musicians, played on most of the hits in the 60's/70's.

ndspinelli said...

Some members of The Wrecking Crew went on to solo careers, like Glen Campbell and Leon Russell. I was in Reno a couple weeks ago, staying @ Harrah's. Leon Russell was playing the night I left. I would have paid to see him, even though he's hunched over walking w/ a cane.

CWJ said...


You're welcome. It's so rare, and appreciated, to share a bit of info outside the political envelope.

Bob R said...

@ndspinelli - Wrecking Crew, Muscle Shoals, Standing in The Shadows of Motown (also have the book of Jamerson transcriptions.) Seen them all and admire them all. The studio pros were great, but their more important talent was creating hooks on the clock. Many bands had musicians who were as good, but weren't as fast.

For whatever reason, the Kinks had only a couple of songs with really catchy hooks and their vocals were not up to scratch. For example, I'd guess the Hollies were more popular. (I admit, I haven't looked at the numbers. If I'm wrong, I'll send you a shiny new dime.) I don't think the Hollies ever had a song that would break the Kinks top 10. Better vocals.

chickelit said...

Does anyone know the origin of the slang term "dough" for money?

I assume that it's a half-baked cousin of the term "bread" which according to some sources derived from Cockney rhyming slang: Bread = "bread and honey" rhymes with money.

chickelit said...

I recently read Ray Davies' autobiography "Americana." It was a bit of a disappointment as I got the impression that Davies holds back a lot. For example, I was searching to learn exactly why the Kinks were banned from touring the US in the late '60's and found only hints. Davie wrote:

Today it is still not clear to me why the Kinks were banned from America. Mick Avory, the Kink's drummer, possibly summed it up best when he said it was a mixture of bad management, bad luck, and bad behaviour. He wasn't far off.

The last sentence hints at evasion. But just image all the foregone dough from concerts during that peak period in their career: 1966-70. I read somewhere else that the enforced ban was what drove Davies inward and to criticize British society more intensely.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I never really understood Kid Rock going simple for his ultra-smash hit "Summertime."

The song with the Sweet Home Alabama riff, soon to replace the OED definition amongst the not undereducated know-it-all sect(s) for "homage."

Now I do understand the referenced homage. Saying fuck you to cheap shitty cynic's using their acquired (myopic) wisdom for wreaking havoc is what that guy does, Kid Rock, as n his latest "Johnny Cash" ergo this Kinks Scalia-would-scornness.

chickelit said...

Bob R said...Wrecking Crew, Muscle Shoals, Standing in The Shadows of Motown

All three are great but "Muscle Shoals" is the best and the most surprising. In a sense, "The Wrecking Crew" and "Standing The Shadows of Motown" are the white and the black versions of the still segregated music business of the 1960's. "Muscle Shoals" surprises because it shows real racial integration, breaks down stereotypes, and all around made the business look more like it does today. And that all happened in the Deep South -- not Hollywood or Detroit!

Vittorio Jano IV said...

Ray Davies and friends at Glastonbury 2010 with two great songs: Waterloo Sunset and Days (“And though you’re gone / You’re with me every single day, believe me.”). He dedicated one or both to Pete Quaife, the original bass guitar player for the Kinks who had passed away a few days earlier. This version of Days, which begins at about 4:00, is particularly moving.

I join ndspinelli in thanking CWJ and also thank our hostess.

Bob R said...

In Muscle Shoals, the producer was forced to play two studios off against each other. A little more tension than the other two. Motown and Wrecking Crew were more fan flicks. All had lots of great clips and interviews. The rest is quibbling.

Virgil Hilts said...

Just watched the trailer for the Wrecking Crew and can't wait to watch it. This is why I come here (Carol Kaye talking about fixing the bass line for the Beat Goes On is great).

ndspinelli said...

BobR, I've seen Muscle Shoals and loved it. Not seen Standing in the Shadows. I will soon. Thanks for the lead. Finishing up Season 2 of Better Call Saul. Vince Gilligan is the Coen Brothers of TV vis a vis dialogue.

ndspinelli said...

Virgil, Carol Kaye is one talented, tough broad.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Have you seen the movie Pirate Radio, Professor? Good movie, outstanding soundtrack. This song is used perfectly in it. The movie was also called The Boat That Rocked.

virgil xenophon said...

Said it here once before, but the Kinks were GREAT live. I had the privilege of catching them live when I was in the AF stationed in the UK at the Felixstowe Pavillion, Felixstowe-by-the-sea, circa fall, 1970.

chickelit said...

@Virgil: A while back, I posted a clip of Carol Kaye taken from "The Wrecking Crew" at Lem's blog. A commenter, John, wrote:

Wow, my heroine.
Carol Kaye is one of a large group of real women who the left wing grievance-meister feminists would never acknowledge. There is no place for accomplishment in the modern feminist canon.

I think it was the boots.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Prevented demons did Gram a parsons
No higher calling is possible.

eddie willers said...

And that all happened in the Deep South -- not Hollywood or Detroit!.

Its always been like that and Yankees are always surprised.

eddie willers said...

Carol Kaye is one of a large group of real women who the left wing grievance-meister feminists would never acknowledge.

She was like a Boy Named Sue. Had to get tough or die. Gave as well as she got.

D said...

Preserving the old ways from being abused, protecting the new ways for me and for you ... What more can we do ...

eddie willers said...

You can't understand "Lola." It is relentlessly ambiguous. Take the supposedly defining lyric, "... glad I'm a man, and so is Lola." So what is Lola? Glad or a man?

If this isn't satire, I'll answer.

A man.

Think, "guy's dressed up like a sheila!" from the bar scene in Crocodile Dundee.

Or from that great youtube video Hot/Crazy Matrix : Above an 8 in looks and below a 4 in crazy.

CWJ said...

eddie willers,

Your certainty is not supported by the lyrics. That you can't see the other interpretation is not my problem, but I'll try again to lay it out for you. "I'm glad I'm a man, and so is Lola." OK, the lyric supports either an interpretation that Lola is also a man or that Lola is also glad the singer is a man. The song is rife with suggestion as your misplaced certainty attests, but nowhere can you point to a lyric that determines Lola's sex/gender/whatever. That's the songs genius.

jr565 said...

Its a great song. The album it came from is also great. There are two other songs on the album that seem to be about the same character. The first one is House In The Country, that talks about a smug ne'er do well who has a House in the country and is living the high life and who is a despicable character. Then theres' Sunny Afternoon where the tax man has taken all his dough and left him in his stately home. And finally there's "Most Exclusive Residence For Sale" where he has to sell the house to pay the bills.
The jerk gets his comeuppance.

William said...

Is had to keep up with this. Does Lola run afoul of the PC lines? I would feel better about the song if the singer had made mention of Lola's difficulties in finding an appropriate rest room. Perhaps the lyrics can be updated.

Bruce Gee said...

The one time I saw the Kinks was at a 1972 outdoor rock fest in Germany. The stoners didn't care much for them--Ray had to keep dodging flying beer cans up there--until they played Lola. That got them listening.
The stoners (including perhaps 10,000 lonely bored American GI's) had mostly come to be wowed by Pink Floyd, who could really light up the sky.

Char Char Binks said...

The Trogs got all the respect the Kinks deserved.

ndspinelli said...

For you Brits. I never understood the lyric, "sitting at my ice cold beer." Was that put in to appeal to the US fans?

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

We're talking rock 'n' roll here and you want competence on the instruments? It's rock 'n' roll, ferchrissakes! If it rocks, they're competent! You want all your rockers to be graduates from Julliard? The best rockers buy or steal a crummy instrument, torture their neighbors and parents by practicing in the basement or the garage and become "competent" enough to make music that people want to listen to. If I'm not mistaken, that's part of rock's charm. And what separates it from chamber music. Yeesh.

And if you think the Kinks haven't created a lot of catchy hooks, pick up Kronikles.

The Kinks are awesome. Saw them in 1975, at the Spectrum. (Most of their stuff that is lauded by the critics is boring. The other stuff, the early stuff, the stuff on Kronikles is tremendous.)

ndspinelli said...

I bet Brian had a belly full of "ice cold" Schmidt's when he saw the Kinks @ the Spectrum. That venue is Philly for you folks across the country or pond. It's where the Broad St Bullies[Flyers] turned a losing city in a winner in 1974.

Bill Peschel said...

When I was DJing at a college station in the early 80s, I came across their "Soap Opera" album. Someone had scrawled next to the track "Ducks on the Wall" that "this is HILARIOUS"

So I had to play it on the air, and they were right:

My baby's got the most deplorable taste,
But her biggest mistake
Is hanging over the fireplace.
She's got ducks, ducks on the wall,
Ducks, ducks, hanging on the wall.

My lady's got a sort of strange fascination,
An obsessive fixation
For cheap decorations
She's got ducks, ducks on the wall.
Ducks, ducks, hanging on the wall.

(Apparently, statues of flying ducks on the wall was an English lower-middle-class affectation. If you google "ducks Hipgnosis," you'll see that album-design company's punkish take on the idea.)

CWJ said...

ndspinelli @2:10,

The key word is beer. Ales are the ones drunk at warmer temperatures. Beers/ales not the same.

Can't believe, but am happy, that this thread is still sputteringly alive.

Ducks on the wall is a personal favorite of mine.

ndspinelli said...

Thanks again, CWJ. This is a pleasant thread. There is so much venom here and elsewhere, it's nice to have just normal conversation, like in a pub.

jr565 said...

For you Brits. I never understood the lyric, "sitting at my ice cold beer." Was that put in to appeal to the US fans?

Sipping on, not sitting at.

jr565 said...

(cont) or maybe its sipping at. But its definitely sipping.

jr565 said...

"You can't understand "Lola." It is relentlessly ambiguous. Take the supposedly defining lyric, "... glad I'm a man, and so is Lola." So what is Lola? Glad or a man?"

There are a few other hints that Lola might in fact be a man.
For example:
:Well, I'm not dumb but I can't understand
Why she walk like a woman and talk like a man
Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls.
It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world,
Except for Lola. Lo lo lo lo Lola.

However, your'e right. the particular line is a bit ambiguous. It could mean either.

CWJ said...


"... except for Lola." So in the end, all one has is "talked like a man." And what does that mean? Is it her "dark brown voice" or is it simply the things she said, the way she expressed herself.

Of course there are "hints" as you put it. I said upthread 6/5 1:19AM that the song is "rife with suggestion," but that's all. Davies is too precise a lyricist to write a song that's consistently ambiguous if he didn't mean it to be ambiguous. And again, that's the song's genius.

Todd Galle said...

Coming very late, I know, but I was at the Philly concert Brian mentioned above. One of the best large venue shows I've seen. The wife and I now prefer smaller settings now, but given the musical shite of the mid 70s, the Kinks were a godsend.

RonF said...

When I was in 6th grade there was a concert at my local high school that my oldest brother went to. I got to go too. This was at the very beginning of the British Invasion. The high school had a true auditorium (not just a stage at the end of the basketball gym) because when the town fathers built the new High School in my small Massachusetts town they wanted somewhere to have the Annual Town Meeting. Who was at the concert? A band nobody knew much about because they had just started getting some airplay in the U.S. - the Kinks.