Are Musical Plays Relevant To Life In The 20Th Century The Four Frank Zappa Songs I Would Like Played At My Funeral

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The Four Frank Zappa Songs I Would Like Played At My Funeral

Frank Vincent Zappa, born in 1940 in Baltimore, USA, died in 1993 in Los Angeles, was a composer, guitarist, band leader, film director, entrepreneur and satirist who began his recording career in 1966 with the Mothers Of Invention double album Freak Out – Unheard. An extravaganza for the new pop group and a precursor to the Beatles Sergeant Pepper album some twelve months later.

From the word go, Zappa was a fascinating, provocative and somewhat exotic figure in the world of rock and roll. His musical influences alone marked him as a maverick, from modern classical works by Edgard Varese, Igor Stravinsky and Anton Webern to rhythm and blues artists such as Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson, Howlin’ Wolf and esoteric recordings by vocal groups such as The. Channels, Don & Dewey, The Penguins and Jackie Dee and the Starlites. His mastery of these and many other musical languages ​​makes him one of the most important musicians of the 20th century.

I have become familiar with many of his works over the past thirty years and now have a large amount of his material to appreciate. For this slightly morbid exercise of choosing your own funeral soundtrack, I’ve decided to narrow it down to four Frank Zappa songs that I love and think best represent him. I’d be interested to hear any other Zappa fan picks:

*Strictly Genteel – Finale from 200 Motels, mainly by Theodore Baikel. Several alternative versions of this piece have been released since the original, recorded version in 1971, and one of my favorites is a selection, appropriately enough, from the Orchestral Favorites album. shocking.

*Inca Roads – From the 1975 album One Size Fits All, this is a masterful mix of jazz, funk, wildly original electric guitar, and between a group of musicians well versed in Zappa’s compositional style, tightly woven through months of rehearsal. and live performance.

*Watermelon In Easter Hay – from the 1979 album Joe’s Garage Acts II & III; A fairly conventional musical background for Frank, even though the time of the successive bars is 4/4 then 5/4. Still, it characterizes him as a lead guitarist capable of slide guitar vibes in the style of Danny Wall and Vinny Colaiuta’s sensitive drums. A monumental achievement.

*Black Page – From the solo album Zappa In New York, originally intended for the monstrous 4-record set, “Lather”, which led to a huge contract dispute with the Warner Brothers label. A basic 4/4 time signature underpins the entire composition, but the dense polyrhythms that inhabit this framework make it brutally complex as a percussive piece made slightly more accessible by the addition of its underlying melody. I’m still having a hard time understanding how the band managed to play this the first time around…

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