Lola” is a song written by Ray Davies and performed by English rock band the Kinks on their album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One. The song details a romantic encounter between a young man and a possible transvestite, whom he meets in a club in Soho, London. In the song, the narrator describes his confusion towards a person named Lola who “walked like a woman and talked like a man”.
Ray Davies has claimed that he was inspired to write “Lola” after Kinks manager Robert Wace spent a night in Paris dancing with a transgender woman. Davies said of the incident, “In his apartment, Robert had been dancing with this black woman, and he said, ‘I’m really onto a thing here.’ And it was okay until we left at six in the morning and then I said, ‘Have you seen the stubble?’ He said ‘Yeah,’ but he was too pissed [intoxicated] to care, I think.”
Drummer Mick Avory has offered an alternate explanation for the song’s lyrics, claiming that “Lola” was partially inspired by Avory’s frequenting of transgender bars in west London Avory said, “We used to know this character called Michael McGrath. He used to hound the group a bit, because being called The Kinks did attract these sorts of people. He used to come down to Top of the Pops, and he was publicist for John Stephen’s shop in Carnaby Street. He used to have this place in Earl’s Court, and he used to invite me to all these drag queen acts and transsexual pubs. They were like secret clubs. And that’s where Ray [Davies] got the idea for ‘Lola.’ When he was invited too, he wrote it while I was getting drunk.
Despite claims that the song was written about a supposed date between Ray Davies and trans woman actress Candy Darling, Davies has since claimed this rumour to be false, saying that the two only went out to dinner together and that he had known the whole time of Darling’s gender identity.