The Kinks – in concert at Fillmore West – November 13, 1970 – KSAN-FM – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
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The Kinks to end the week. In concert at the legendary Fillmore West on November 13, 1970 and broadcast over KSAN-FM. No strangers to controversy, their latest dose of outrage came by way of Lola, which would be not only one of their biggest and most memorable hits, but one which got them banned all over the place, even as the performance ban was being lifted on the group, which had prevented them from touring the U.S. for much of the 1960s.
Ray Davies travelled to Los Angeles in April 1969 to help negotiate an end to the American Federation of Musicians’ ban on the group, opening up an opportunity for them to return to touring in the US. The group’s management quickly made plans for a North American tour, to help restore their standing in the US pop music scene. Before their return to the US, the Kinks recorded another album, Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). As with the previous two albums, Arthur was grounded in characteristically English lyrical and musical hooks. A modest commercial success, it was well received by American music critics. Conceived as the score for a proposed but unrealized television drama, much of the album revolved around themes from the Davies brothers’ childhood; their sister Rosie, who had migrated to Australia in the early 1960s with her husband, Arthur Anning, the album’s namesake; and life growing up during the Second World War. The Kinks embarked on their tour of the US in October 1969. The tour was generally unsuccessful, as the group struggled to find cooperative promoters and interested audiences; many of the scheduled concert dates were cancelled. The band did, however, manage to play a few major venues such as the Fillmore East and Whisky a Go Go.
The band added keyboardist John Gosling to their line-up in early 1970; before this Nicky Hopkins, along with Ray, had done most of the session work on keyboards. In May 1970 Gosling debuted with the Kinks on “Lola”, an account of a confused romantic encounter with a transvestite, that became both a UK and a US Top 10 hit, helping return the Kinks to the public eye. The lyrics originally contained the word “Coca-Cola”, and as a result the BBC refused to broadcast the song, considering it to be in violation of their policy against product placement. Part of the song was hastily rerecorded by Ray Davies, with the offending line changed to the generic “cherry cola”, although in concert the Kinks still used “Coca-Cola”. Recordings of both versions of “Lola” exist. The accompanying album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One was released in November 1970, and this concert performance coincides with promotion of that release. It was a critical and commercial success, charting in the Top 40 in the US, making it their most successful album since the mid-1960s.
Unfortunately, the concert isn’t complete – it picks up during the introducton and fades out during Top Of The Pops at the end. But some 49 minutes that are there are vintage Kinks. Crank it up and enjoy.
Oh yeah – four shopping days ’til Christmas . . . .