Esoteric, genre defying, pornographic, scathingly satirical, and often downright bizarre, the late composer-guitarist Zappa’s oeuvre will be pondered by musicologists and sociologists alike for years to come. The recent rerelease of 53(!) Zappa albums provides a good excuse for folks whose knowledge of Zappa extends no further than 1982’s ”Valley Girl” to check the great man out. But where to begin? For starters, try We’re Only in It for the Money (1968), possibly the only concept album in rock history worth a damn. Another must is Hot Rats (1969), a mostly instrumental proto-fusion album that fully lives up to Zappa’s vision of it as a ”movie for the ears.” Or pick up any one of the six volumes of You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, a treasure trove of live recordings spanning three decades. After that, you’re on your own, pilgrim. A
Posted June 9 1995 — 12:00 AM EDT
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