The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.

  1. Smiler

    Smiler Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    Ha! No, but now I have to check it out!
    mark winstanley likes this.
  2. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    You shame me!
    mark winstanley, ARL and DISKOJOE like this.
  3. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Great post, no rod for your back!
  4. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    I didn't know St Albans had a museum how fantastic, such a great little town!
  5. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Senior Member

    New York, NY
    Ray was probably looking at himself in the mirror when it happened.
  6. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter



    Single by the Kinks
    from the album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One
    B-side "Rats"
    Released 20 November 1970 (U.K.)
    16 December 1970 (U.S.)
    Recorded Aug-Sep 1970 at Morgan Studios, Willesden, London
    Genre Calypso, rock
    Length 3:54
    Label Pye 7N 45016 (U.K.)
    Reprise 0979 (U.S.)
    Songwriter(s) Ray Davies
    Producer(s) Ray Davies

    Personnel according to Doug Hinman.[1]

    Ray Davies – acoustic guitars, lead vocal
    Dave Davies – double-tracked lead guitar, backing vocal
    John Dalton – bass, backing vocal
    Mick Avory – drums
    John Gosling – piano, organ

    Chart (1970) Peak position
    Canada RPM Top Singles[6]…………….19
    Germany (Official German Charts)[7]..8
    Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[8]……….14
    South Africa (Springbok Radio)[9]..…12
    UK Singles (OCC)[10]………………….…..5
    US Billboard Hot 100[11]…………….…45

    ------------------------------------------wikipedia info-----------------------------------

    stereo mix (3:51), recorded 27 Oct 1970 at Morgan Studios (1), Willesden, London

    I think I'm sophisticated
    'Cos I'm living my life like a good homosapien
    But all around me everybody's multiplying
    Till they're walking round like flies man
    So I'm no better than the animals sitting in their cages
    in the zoo man
    'Cos compared to the flowers and the birds and the trees
    I am an ape man

    I think I'm so educated and I'm so civilized
    'Cos I'm a strict vegetarian
    But with the over-population and inflation and starvation
    And the crazy politicians
    I don't feel safe in this world no more
    I don't want to die in a nuclear war
    I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man

    I'm an ape man, I'm an ape ape man
    I'm an ape man I'm a King Kong man I'm a voo doo man
    I'm an ape man
    'Cos compared to the sun that sits in the sky
    compared to the clouds as they roll by
    Compared to the bugs and the spiders and flies
    I am an ape man

    In man's evolution he has created the cities and
    the motor traffic rumble, but give me half a chance
    and I'd be taking off my clothes and living in the jungle
    'Cos the only time that I feel at ease
    Is swinging up and down in a coconut tree
    Oh what a life of luxury to be like an ape man

    I'm an ape, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man
    I'm a King Kong man, I'm a voo-doo man
    I'm an ape man
    I look out my window, but I can't see the sky
    'Cos the air pollution is fogging up my eyes
    I want to get out of this city alive
    And make like an ape man

    Come and love me, be my ape man girl
    And we will be so happy in my ape man world

    I'm an ape man, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man
    I'm a King Kong man, I'm a voo-doo man
    I'm an ape man
    I'll be your Tarzan, you'll be my Jane
    I'll keep you warm and you'll keep me sane
    and we'll sit in the trees and eat bananas all day
    Just like an ape man
    I'm an ape man, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man
    I'm a King Kong man, I'm a voo-doo man
    I'm an ape man.
    I don't feel safe in this world no more
    I don't want to die in a nuclear war
    I want to sail away to a distant shore
    And make like an ape man.

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Warner-tamerlane Pub. Corp. – BMI

    I have always loved this song.
    I have always seen this song as being thoroughly sarcastic, even though there is certainly a truth to the fact that getting away from the modern world is a necessary relief at times., and one of Ray’s pet themes.

    This was the second single from the album, and it was released a week before the album came out. The guys seemed to have a rhythm about them at this time, because the timing of the releases is a lot better here than on some previous occasions.

    It somewhat surprises me that this single didn’t do better, but top twenty in 5 countries is still pretty good. I don’t think that it did the song any favours starting off quite similarly to Lola and it may have been seen to be an attempt to replicate Lola’s success.

    I find it very interesting when folks talk of the going back to basics thing, because although in theory I like the idea, I don’t think anyone really means it, in a literal sense. I think that’s why I love Talking Heads totally sarcastic Nothing But Flowers, where Byrne slides some reality into the argument suggesting that folks say they want to go back to basics, as long as they don’t have to give up their conveniences and comforts. The truth of the matter is that Ray could have given up the music business and taken off to some small island, or remote area and lived off the land back in 1970 … it really wouldn’t have been all that hard, but again, I think that all comes down to folks taking this song much too literally, and not reading the tongue in cheek approach to the idea of being tired of the modern world.

    As far as tying into the album’s theme, I think it is a reaction to the business world sticking their meddling paws into the creative process and taking as much of the reward as they are able.
    We have had several jabs at the industry and the folks in it who like to get their pound of flesh, but take two pounds, and we just had Dave railing against it all with a vitriolic attack on the rats swarming the feed pile.
    Also, it doesn’t hurt that we have the city sound effects at the beginning, which tie directly to Dave’s wandering downtown in the previous track, and the people trampling on his feet, with the car horns suggesting someone is in the way and needs to move. It is a good tie in.

    I grew up in the eighties and the Cold War climate of constant threats that the US and the USSR were going to nuke each other. It was everywhere, and it was none stop. We had plenty of songs from the era dealing with the issue, and we had movies like The Day After giving us graphic representations of the results it would have. I still maintain that that’s the reason why the eighties were a colourful, lighthearted decade in many ways. It was escapism.
    The line in the song that always stuck out to me back then was
    “I don’t feel safe in this world no more, I don’t wanna die in a nuclear war…” It was right on the money of how the general populace felt and seemed all the more poignant for it.

    I have also always loved the lines
    I think I’m sophisticated
    I think I’m so educated and so civilized.
    We have a tendency to think we are much smarter and more clever than we really are. We seem to think that people are getting better and better and yet the world is seemingly in such steep decline it’s a wonder we can even keep our feet.

    When we move into Ray’s little narration section, we have Ray saying, “in man’s evolution”, and then he talks about our cities and freeways. The growing metropolis and the concrete jungle. It is actually a very clever counterpoint to the idea that he wants to live in the trees…. which I actually strongly doubt lol.
    As much as we would all probably like to be less crowded and we would probably all prefer things to be more simple, by the same token, I seriously doubt there are many that would want to give up their houses, their transport, and all the other things we have come to depend on to live our lives.
    Again, these thoughts are just based around the idea that the song is based in an hyperbolic sarcasm.

    I personally think that the line, “the air pollution is fogging up my eyes” was intentionally made to sound the way it does as a bit of a stir. It seems like Ray likes to stir people up, and that can often be a good thing. Interestingly enough, as with Lola, Ray had to come and re-record the vocal for that line, because the BBC thought it sounded too much like the dreaded F word, and it does, and it makes me laugh almost every time.

    In the story narrative, I see a reflection of how Ray really felt about the recording industry and his relationship to it. I want to get away from all this nonsense and just make my songs, and of course that isn’t going to happen in the jungle.
    We have had all of this business interference and, from the musician’s perspective, financial theft, and this is the kneejerk overreaction of our beloved hero here, as he says F it, I want to live in the trees, and away from all these parasites sucking the lifeblood out of me for their financial gain.

    Musically this is another gem of a track.
    We open with the city sound effects and then get that great piano hook. Then we get that guitar arpeggio that could well move into the Lola lyric. We also get a great rhythm coming into play, and then that fairly simple tom fill, that becomes one of the big hooks in the song. The piano run that goes with it, just seals the deal.

    I get the impression that the two singles were written with a mind to being hits, and I think that’s why there are some similarities in their presentation.
    We also have some really nice little guitar bits in here, although the guitar isn’t a major player seemingly on a vague listen.

    The chorus is another fantastic singalong track that is almost infectious, and Ray shows just how able he was to write hook after hook, if the mood struck him. The words, the way they are rhythmically set up….
    Some folks make a big thing of Ray's apparent Caribbean vocal delivery, but I have never really considered that much at all. Ray puts on so many characters in his vocals, that I tend not to really focus on that.

    Then as icing on the cake we have the rhythmic change up in the bridge. It is just a short bridge, but it moves into a sort of fifties rock pastiche, and keeps the interest high.

    Look this is a classic …. sorry, Klassic Kinks track, and for me it sits up there with those sixties singles as a great slice of Ray writing….
    The album is just too strong for me to really pick out favourites. All the songs on here are brilliant, just like they have been for several albums now, and I just don’t see any weak links.
    The variety, the writing, the playing, even the production on here is just second to none brilliance that shows how good the Kinks are… and at this stage I just don’t see it letting up.

  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Here we have a goofy video for the song.

  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    The alternate stereo version

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  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    The alternate mono version

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  10. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Another great write-up Mark :righton:

    which country had the 7” cover with King Kong on it?
  11. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    So, as I may have mentioned a couple of times, someone in my family had the 7" single of "Apeman", thus it is by a long way the first Kinks song I ever heard - and not just heard, but knew well. For over a decade it was all I knew of The Kinks. It's special because it's a song from my early childhood, but also has the bonus of being a beautifully constructed song and a Kinks classic that is equally easily liked as an adult. I guess it may have its "problematic" aspects these days, but to me it's just a great track and I love the way Ray performs it. It has a similar vibe to "Lola" in its backbeat - so it's not a surprise that it was almost as big a hit - but it has its own unique qualities, e.g. the piano roll going into the chorus, Mick's languid tom hits. I love the way that "Apeman" is in no hurry to get where it's going - it comes to a full stop after both of the first two choruses and gently starts up again. I love the phrase "motor traffic rumble".

    Because of my long association with it, "Apeman" almost feels as though it's in a completely different world to the rest of the Kinks' catalogue, but it deserves a place up with the very best of their material.
  12. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    I think it was a South American country off the top of my head.
    I'll check properly a bit later mate.
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  13. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    According to the replica in the latest box set, that was Portugal.
  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Cheers mate.
    DISKOJOE likes this.
  15. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    Top Of The Pops 1970. Gosling on Ape costume duties again!

  16. Steve62

    Steve62 Vinyl hunter

    No worries!
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  17. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    Surely one of the most obscure officially released Kinks recordings of all time was the re-recording of 'Apeman' they made in 1986 for the soundtrack of the Harold Ramis directed movie 'Club Paradise' starring the surely unique cast of Robin Williams, Peter O Toole Twiggy and Jimmy Cliff!

  18. luvtotha9s

    luvtotha9s Forum Resident

    North Carolina
    I always loved this tune. Stays in your head and never gets old to me. Ray is a genius, the Air Pollution is fogging up my eyes indeed...
  19. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    To The Bone 1994 live in the studio version:

  20. luvtotha9s

    luvtotha9s Forum Resident

    North Carolina
    I was going to mention Club Paradise...I love that Soundtrack
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  21. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Did this get included on the Lola SDE?
  22. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    Fraid not. A missed opportunity!
  23. Vagabone

    Vagabone Forum Resident


    Love "Apeman"- a classic. A brilliant pro-environmentalism lyric (unless you read it as ironic). Full of hooks and liveliness.

    My dad told me that there was a hilarious parody of this song by a group from the West Indies, who in retaliation for the imitation of their accent, sang the song in an exaggerated British accent. But I've never seen this mentioned anywhere else so I can't vouch for its existence. I'll be delighted if anyone can solve this mystery.

    Unpopular opinion again: this and "Lola" tower over the rest of the album. It was the last song on the "Best Of" that was all I knew of the Kinks for years, so feels like the end of the first chapter of their career. Even though there was another hit to come, "Supersonic Rocket Ship", only two years later that would have fitted just fine on the compilation if only they had still been on the same record label.
  24. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    All bases covered at 3A.M. by the thread's captain. Again!
    Anyway, agreed on everything. It’s so easy to take this track for granted, because it’s presented as a comical song, sung in a comical voice, with some hysterical lyrics, and because it almost sounds like another slightly lesser Lola, almost a remake of it (the opening marimbas is essentially Lola’s acoustic gimmick turned upside down, then there’s something about the rhythmic and melodic dynamics created by sus4 chords at the end of each verse, that work in quite a similar way in the two songs). Then again, of course : 1/ it was done on purpose ; 2/ the songs kind of fulfill the same goal on their respective sides (isn’t Apeman supposed to be another hit for the “contenders” of our story?) 3/ both are great pop, irresistibly hooky, funny, danceable, buoyant and clever tunes, with superb lyrics and no shortage of brilliant musical ideas. To me the rhythmic effect on the bass is a stroke of genius, but the real star of that song is the piano, low, high, rocking, rollicking, really working as the lead instrument. Lyrically, this is Ray at his most virtuoso because in my opinion, it’s absolutely impossible to decide if he’s satirizing the modern way of life (pollution, over population, nuclear danger etc.) and advocating a return to more primitive way of living, or if he’s mocking the people who think in that way. I tend to think he does both : he believes in what he’s singing, but he can’t help mocking those impulses at the same time. Anyway, hooks galore, enthusiasm, sublime band playing, irresistible beat, flawless construction as a pop hit… Just another slice of pop genius from Mr. Ray.
  25. ajsmith

    ajsmith Senior Member

    'Apeman' I've recently been thinking of as in some ways the 'Plastic Man' that worked: ie it's a fairly on the nose, surface level cartoonish social comment song that veers more towards the novelty hit parade end of things, only delivered in better faith and boasting a more infectious singalongabilty of wider appeal. After all it's a more primal human urge to start doing ape imitations on the dancefloor than it is to mock at a conformist straight, esp in the let it all hang out early 70s. It also didn't hurt I guess that 'Apeman' was coming off the back of a huge comeback hit.

    I always group it with 'Neanderthal Man' by the proto 10cc group Hotlegs, a somewhat more unlikely hit from six months earlier in 1970, being that unlike The Kinks well constructed ska-melodic pop opus it's little more than a drum levels test with an improvised guide vocal bleeding through that somehow became a mega hit! But both songs definitely caught something of that 'back to nature/pre civilisation' early 70s extreme hippy/naturist zeitgiest.

    Something also in the air at the time that 'Apeman' me of is the contemporary Planet Of The Apes film series, esp the memorably lurid way they dramatized themes of nuclear apocalypse and civil rights .. on the first point, I've always LOVED the way Ray casually/cheerily sings 'I don't want to die in a nuclear war'... it's 'if you didn't laugh you'd scream in terror' brilliance.. and tangentially related to the second point, while I probably have a higher than most tolerance for silly and stereotypical accents, the casual lyrical conflation of voodoo with the songs main lyrical conceit is somewhat unfortunately and offensively sloppy .. that said I think the song is benignly if naively intended in this respect: I'm gonna save my real griping about Ray's inadequacy in commenting on race relations for a certain 1978 track.. we all know which one! See you there next year :/

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2021

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