Happy 86th Birthday, Little Richard!

Dear Little Richard:

Today, by my calculations, Little Richard, the Architect of Rock and Roll, the Georgia Peach, the Bronze Liberace, the innovator, the man who, among other things, explained to future performers how rock music is to be sung and how to strut while yer doin’ it, that man, Little Richard, turns 86 years old today.

As anyone who bothers to read this blather knows, every year on Dec. 5, I take a bit of time during Zappadan to tip a hat to Little Richard. Because Little Richard begat “Directly From My Heart,” which begat my favorite recorded performance of music of all time, which would be The Mothers of Invention cover on Weasels Ripped My Flesh, featuring Sugarcane Harris. I’ve said it all before. This track is untouchable. And while it takes some liberties with the original as belted out by the great Little Richard, the rhythm section still retains that brilliant dragged left foot that makes me so horny for this song.

And while I have realized a mad adoration for this artist, I wanted to remind you why you should too. I wrote this a few years ago. It is the best thing I have ever written. It is called

Little Richard Says He Likes It

a piece that essentially recognizes the great and, I think, often overlooked influence that this beautiful man had on the music you dig right this minute. Without him, Jim Morrison doesn’t howl, Prince doesn’t oooooh, and Robert Plant does not baby baby baby. In fact, I would like to mention at this time an interesting fact to add to the hefty pile of Little Richard impact studies available to us.

Ya’ll know the song “Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin, yeah? Well. Do you think John Bonham just pulled that drum part out of his butthole?

The answer is “no.” Dude apparently had a Little Richard song in his head:

I’ve said it before. The ones who you revere, and maybe the ones they revere, revere Little Richard. All the Zeppelin dudes. All the Beatles, all of the Rolling Stones, and all of AC/DC. David Bowie. Elton John. Lou Reed. John Fogerty. Bob Dylan. Elvis Presley. Patti Smith. Michael Jackson. Bob Seger. Tina Turner. Jimi Hendrix. Bruno Mars. Andre3000. Chris Cornell. Freddie Mercury. All of these artists have somehow acknowledged Little Richard as a powerful influence.

As they should.

Not convinced? Here. Watch the great Muhammad Ali watching Little Richard. The man is in awe.

Little Richard is a national treasure, an innovator, and has inspired every rock artist you enjoy today. Look him up on Spotify today.

Health and peace and comfort to you on your birthday and well throughout, Little Richard. We appreciate you.

And also: Merry Zappadan.

1968

In 2018, We’re Only In It For The Money and I both turned 50.

Now as I recall it, my introduction to Frank Zappa was the song “Who Are the Brain Police” from Freak Out, which my Dear Old Dad played for me when I was a mere toddler. And you wonder why I am the man I am today.

But my formative introduction to Zappa was most certainly Money, also via Dear Old Dad, of course. I was probably 14 when I started latching on to this record.

And the 50th anniversary of this release makes me realize what a busy, important year 1968 was for Zappa. Money is released. Lumpy Gravy is re-released. Cruising with Ruben and the Jets is released. They’re touring. They’re recording Uncle Meat. Not to mention, it’s the last full year the original Mothers lineup will exist.

So, yep. This Zappadan, I am going to be focusing on the Frank Zappa and the Mothers in the year 1968.

Except for tomorrow, of course.

Peace In Our Bummernacht

Merry Zappadan, 2018, to all good people of all lanes and neighborhoods of the winding and ever-expanding universe of all things Zappa. How, pray tell, are things in the orbit of Zappa today?

Well, first, we are sad to report that Frank Zappa has still stopped refusing to die. It is truly impossible to believe that 25 years have passed since his time experiencing and feeding into the conceptual continuity ended. It is somewhat obligatory for me to explain to you what we are doing here in this thing called “Zappadan”: It is a time of remembrance for our mustachioed hero, from the day of his death, Dec. 4, through the day of his birth, Dec. 21. Now we remember him all other days, too, because the concept is continual, my fellow freaks. But this here, this is a time to really flex your Zappa.

Now. What else happened via Zappa stuff in the year 2018?

If you dig vinyl, 2018 was a year for re-releases! Lumpy Gravy! Trout Mask Replica! Burnt Weenie Sandwich! Chunga’s Revenge! All re-released on yummy vinyl!

The big news in 2018, though, was a long-awaited AZ/DZ detente!

As announced by Dweezil in May:

Recently, we Zappa siblings (Diva, Ahmet and Dweezil) got together with the goal of resolving our differences. Once we sat down and actually listened to one another, we found a much greater understanding of each other’s intentions.  We regret that our communication broke down and that things were misconstrued. It may be a bumpy road at times – we are a passionate Italian family – but we have decided to work toward privately discussing issues rather than using public forums and lawyers.

We are hopeful that if any of our father’s fans have felt conflicted, they can join us in the peace of our resolution.  With our best feet forward, we are moving ahead and will faithfully deliver much more of our father’s indefinable brilliance, also known as the “World’s Finest Optional Entertainment.”

That sounds good to me. May it lead to many more years of Zappa Plays Zappa and other notions.

Reference: Inside the Zappa Family Feud (Rolling Stone)

In the meantime, here at the AITWK, we’re going to be talking about a vital year in Mother-dom: 1968. Fifty years ago. We’re Only In It For The Money. Lumpy Gravy. Cruisin’ with Ruben and the Jets. And me. All born in that fabulous year.

Oh, we will be talking about these albums. And more stuff as well.

But enough of my yakkin’. What do ya say? Let’s boogie!