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The Words and Music of Frank Zappa

The Words and Music of Frank Zappa moves beyond the details of Frank Zappa’s life (1940–93) toward a focused treatment of the rock and pop songs of this great American composer. Today Zappa’s music can be appreciated as a whole, emerging as a coherent, thoughtful, and innovative—if somewhat daunting—body of work. Author Kelly Fisher Lowe has left no aspect of that work unexamined, from Zappa’s role as a satirist of the highest order to his place in the genre of “progressive rock” and his importance as an influential critic of American culture and society.
The volume begins with discussions of Zappa's role as a satirist and his musical style, then proceeds to an in-depth examination of his albums. Through this extended engagement with Zappa’s music, a surprisingly clear perspective on his personal views emerges, shedding light on his treatment of such topics as the falsified notion of love in popular culture, the compromising influence of money on popular music, and the concept of freedom in a systematized society. The book includes an official discography and an up-to-date bibliographic essay.
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A focused treatment of the rock and pop songs of this great American composer

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Bison Books Edition Acknowledgments Introduction: Why Study Frank Zappa? 1. You Call That Music? 2. Satire and the Art of Frank Zappa 3. The Mothers of Invention Freak Out! Absolutely Free We're Only in It for the Money Lumpy Gravy Cruising with Ruben and the Jets Uncle Meat Mothermania 4. Hot Rats, the Last Two Mothers Albums, Flo & Eddie, and the Jazz-Rock Albums Hot Rats Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh Chunga's Revenge; Fillmore East, June 1971; 200 Motels; and Just Another Band from L.A. Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo 5. The Duke-Brock / Progressive Rock Bands, Lather, and the Terry Bozzio Albums Over-Nite Sensation and Apostrophy (') Roxy & Elsewhere,mso-bidi-font-style: normal"One Size Fits All, and Bongo Fury Zoot Allures Zappa in New York, Studio Tan, and Sleep Dirt Sheik Yerbouti 6. Politics: 1979-88 Joe's Garage, Acts I, II, & III Tinsel Town Rebellion You Are What You Is Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch The Man from Utopia and Them or Us Thing-Fish Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention Broadway the Hard Way Conclusion Discography of Available Zappa Recordings Notes Bibliographic Essay Bibliography Index

About the Author

Kelly Fisher Lowe (1966-2007) was the director of the learning resource networks at the University of Wyoming and is the author of 100 Years of Caring: The Centennial History of Alliance Community Hospital.


"One of the strengths of Lowe's treatment is his contextualization of pop-culture references in the lyrics, explications that result in a clearer reading of Zappa's texts. Also useful are the discography of Zappa recordings and a critical bibliographic essay on the major contributions on the life and works of Frank Zappa." Choice

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