I’ll be honest: the first Frank Zappa song I heard was ‘Goblin Girl’ and I didn’t like it. I had a cassette of ‘You Are What You Is’, and that was the spot on the tape where some previous listener had left it. Perhaps the former owner had given up at that point – I could sympathise.
But, should you wish evidence that he is more than a dubious acquired taste, take a bite of Peaches en Regalia:
Zappa’s debut with the Mothers of Invention ‘Freak Out!’ (1966) was the second rock double album ever (meaning two records, you vinyl ignoramuses), after Bob Dylan’s ‘Blonde on Blonde’. It’s a heck of a debut (consider by contrast Dylan’s own tame debut, or the simply ghastly ‘Pablo Honey’). ‘Freak Out’ starts with ‘Hungry Freaks, Daddy’:
Now, it’s hard to pick a representative Zappa track. There’s ‘Cheepnis’ (which is about poor-quality B-movies), ‘Catholic Girls’ (“How do they go?… All the way, that’s the way they go”), or even an instrumental like ‘Watermelon In Easter Hay’. But I’ve plumped for this astonishing effort (it’s called ‘Brown Shoes Don’t Make It’):
As is the way with these occasional ‘Featured artist’ posts, this is no more than a bare-bones introduction. There’s plenty more online. Zappa’s albums are available on both Spotify and Rdio. There’s even Zappa radio (“puts the Hrz on your nose”).
The last thing to say about Zappa is that he also gave your host here at Mighty Mighty Mix Tape his name. On Broadway the Hard Way, Frank invites Sting onstage to sing ‘Murder By Numbers’. His introduction? “Mister Sting, ladies and gentlemen, Mister Sting”.