The Needle Drop

Frank Zappa Starter Pack


In honor of the recent release of Frank Zappa's 100th and final album Dance Me This, Anthony and I have compiled a career-spanning playlist to act as a gateway to the man's music -- or if you're already into it, a celebration. For his imaginative and lighthearted approach to composition and songwriting, as well as his mastery of rock, jazz, and classical styles, we consider Frank one of the greatest minds in 20th century music.

The above Spotify playlist is not presented in chronological order and dwells a bit on his 60's and 70's work (including a lot of material with his band The Mothers of Invention), but we find this jumpy overview to have a more interesting flow. Obvious omissions are his 1967 solo debut Lumpy Gravy, a half-hour-long musique concrète piece that is definitely worth checking out, but doesn't really suit a mix like this; and his late masterpiece Civilization Phaze III, his first posthumous release in 1993, from which I've embedded a choice cut below in the absence of a Spotify stream. Also below is Anthony's 2011 classic review for the seminal Hot Rats.

Enjoy! And remember not to take anything too seriously.