A day late but the new episode of A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs is now up. It’s on “Earth Angel”, and features cameo appearances from Frank Zappa, the Beach Boys’ dad, and the best music teacher ever.
Another great episode, Andrew! My knowledge of pre-1960 popular music is very spotty, so these early episodes have been a revelation for me. I’m also looking forward to the point when Frank Zappa comes into play although some of my favorites won’t get an episode by their very nature: Jaka/Jawaka, The Grand Wazoo, very likely not even Hot Rats. But we won’t have that discussion for another 18 months or two years, I assume :-)
Oh, Hot Rats will *definitely* come into the story. An album that features Johnny Otis’ son *and* Dewey from the 50s R&B duo Don & Dewey, *and* Captain Beefheart? It’s a massive nexus of different important figures in the story. I’ll *probably* deal with it, Chunga’s Revenge, and Weasels Ripped My Flesh all together, picking one song to be the focus but talking about all three albums.
Yeah, very unlikely the Wazoo-era stuff will get a mention, though. They’re great records, but had little influence on the ongoing story of rock, and it’s going to be *very* difficult to cover even just the most important records of the seventies :-/
(And *just* as I was typing this, with my MP3s on shuffle, a radio ad for “Hot Rats” came on, I *think* with a voiceover by Burt Ward…)
Excellent! Frank’s guitar solo on “Eat That Question” has always been a favorite of mine, especially his ecstatic entry after George Duke’s equally great keyboard solo. I was a massive Zappa fan in the 90s and bought his whole catalogue on CD within two years – which at the time was a considerable financial commitment. Initially, I was excited about his whole work but over time I became disillusioned with his turn to, what I’d call, “sinister cynicism”, a change which was apparent at the latest with “Zappa In New York” and which became a full onslaught with his 80s records. I think it was those endless tours that did Frank in (although he famously enjoyed some aspects of life on the road) and made him jaded and to some degree bitter…
Yeah, I’m not a massive fan of the late-70s and 80s rock albums, but I still find a lot to enjoy in the instrumental works from the late period — I love things like The Yellow Shark, Shut Up And Play Your Guitar, and Make A Jazz Noise Here, and I find some of the very late 80s rock stuff seems to see him taking a turn towards being interesting again, as he gets more politically engaged and less interested in adolescent sneering. But I very rarely listen to all the Tinseltown Rebellion, Sheikh Yerbouti style stuff any more..