Sunday Music – Apeman

Posted on Sun 09/30/2018 by


Today’s music video is Apeman and the song is performed here by the legendary English band, The Kinks.

Link to Video at You Tube

This video was posted to You Tube by jarichards99utube

Over the years, I have featured a number of music videos with songs from The Kinks. They were perhaps one of my favourite bands from the late 60s and early 70s. While The Beatles sat alone at the top of the music scene in that wonderful time of the 60s, this band, The Kinks were near the top of that second tier of bands and artists from the UK in what was later termed (in the U.S.) The British Invasion. They had so many big hits, mostly in their home, the UK, and were not as popular in America, even though they did have a couple of pretty big hits there. Perhaps my favourite song of theirs was Waterloo Sunset from early 1967, a song that went almost to Number One in the UK, stalling at Number Two, and almost made it to Number One here in Australia, and inexplicably did not even get played in the U.S. let alone make it onto any hit parade.

This song I have featured today was released in 1970, and was recorded on the band’s album, Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One, an album (pictured) with an odd name, but containing a couple of pretty big songs which became Worldwide hits for the band. Two of those songs, the amazing song titled Lola, and this one, Apeman have quirky little back stories behind them, and here, some basic knowledge of how records were made in those days is needed.

The band records the song in the Studio, until they get it right. From those master tapes, they then get compiled into the format for the album, and from that compilation, a master is then made. From that master, they then make copies of that Master to send to other Countries around the World, and from those Masters, those Countries then press out the albums. In most cases, ‘Demo’ tapes would be sent to radio stations to ‘feel out. what might be best released as a Single, and then the same process is undertaken for the Singles, pressed onto the smaller 45’s.

The band themselves, well, Ray Davies, the band’s leader thought that Powerman should be the first Single. The album had already been released three Months earlier, and Lola was already getting considerable airplay, and the band had set off for a tour of the U.S. When it was decided that Lola should be the first Single from the album, it was then decided by the BBC in the UK to ban the playing of the song, and that was just before the Singles were pressed. Now, you may think that in 1970, a song with the lyric content like this would have been banned for the obvious reason, as it is about a Transsexual experience. That was not the case with the BBC at all. They banned the song because they had a policy not to play songs with product placement mentioned in them. One line in this song is this one…..

I met her in a club down in North Soho where you drink champagne and it tastes just like coca cola

So, the song was banned because of this ‘blatant’ product placement. This seriously would have had an impact, because even though the song was being played on some commercial radio stations, the BBC was far and away the biggest radio outlet in the UK, and not playing the song on the BBC would have sorely affected sales of both the Single and the already released album.

The band was on tour of the U.S. and Ray Davies had to make a 6000 mile round trip from New York, to overdub the lyrics with the replacement wording ….. cherry cola for coca cola. Thus the master was changed, and the Singles pressed, and then the song was released as a Single in June. It became a huge hit for the band.

Now, what they needed was a follow up Single from the same album, and that was to be the song I have featured today, and here, something similar happened again. One of the lines in this song goes as follows…..

I look out my window, but I can’t see the sky, ’cause the air pollution is a-foggin up my eyes

The problem here was that word ….. ‘a-foggin’. On the album, it actually sounds like that other ‘F’ word, that is most definitely banned. That was not done intentionally by the band, well, Ray Davies, who is the lead singer, but just the way it sounds because of his distinct accent and the way it sounds.

Again, the band was still on that same tour in the U.S. and again, Ray Davies had to do that same 6000 mile round trip from New York and back to London to overdub the lyrics for the Master, and this song was then released in November, where it also, became a huge hit for the band.

Ray Davies was the driving force for this band, and at the time, they would have been among the top three bands in the UK with The Beatles as the biggest band around. Ray was a wonderful composer of lyrics, and in concert mainly with his brother, Dave, they brought out some of the most iconic hits of that era.

As you watch this clip, there are four things to look out for. This song was released in 1970, and at a time when most recorded songs were shown for TV clips in Black and White. This clip was specially produced in colour, one of the earliest examples of that happening. The second thing here is to note the guitar that the singer, band leader Ray Davies is playing here. Ray just plays rhythm guitar, and his brother Dave played all the lead guitar sections and breaks in all the songs. This guitar that Ray is playing is a Dobro, a metal guitar that has a special tone to it, and here Ray had only had this guitar for a short time, as he wanted a special sound for the first song Lola, and he got that with this Dobro guitar, as well as one of the most beautiful sounding acoustic guitars made, the wonderful Martin Guitars, and Ray played both of these instruments for that song Lola, The third thing here is that Dave Davies is just playing a normal Gibson electric guitar, instead of his usual Gibson Flying Vee. Dave Davies was one of the first guitarists to use that Flying Vee, and it became his trademark instrument during the band’s playing era. the fourth thing to note here is the guy playing the keyboards. The band’s Manager thought that a keyboard sound should be used for this song, and the band did not have a keyboards player, just being a normal 4 piece band of guitars and drums. This keyboards player, John Gosling became a member of the band, but this was his first outing, and he probably thought he had ‘hit the big time’, joining a band that was so famous. In a touch of irony by the band, he was dressed in a Gorilla headpiece for the duration of this song, so no one really saw all that much of him.

Sometimes, you hear a song, and like it across the years, and keep in mind that this song is almost fifty years old now, and you don’t know the back stories behind the song, and sometimes, those stories add that little something to the song.

Posted in: Music, Videos