July 18, 2010

(Frank Zappa - and thankfully the world would never be the same)

I can't think of very many people who came of age in the 1960s who weren't influenced in some way by Frank Zappa's music, whether it was the inimitable icon-bashing and social commentary or the intricacy of his music that led off in all directions and broadened horizons in music appreciation in a way no high school class ever did.

Listening to Frank made me search out people like Harry Partch, Luigi Nono, Edgar Varese (whom he always quoted "the present day composer refuses to die"). Turned me on to the lesser known works of Igor Stravinsky. Gave me an enjoyment of people like Ornette Coleman. Turned me on to people like Pierre Boulez. Basically, opened up an entire world of music I just wasn't aware of as a teenager.

And I'm pretty sure that happened to a lot of people. Frank led the way and we've come away better for the experience.

In this documentary, produced for BBC Radio 4 in 2006, the feminist author, commentator and social activist Germaine Greer offered some personal insights and a background on the life of Frank Zappa.

If you've never been aware of the music of Frank Zappa, I can't imagine how you missed it. If you're a fan like me, it will remind you how lucky you were to be witness to the whole thing.

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