Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (1966)
Frank Zappa was a countercultural guru who was far too intelligent to merely be lumped in with the flower-power hippies – but that side of his persona would emerge later. On this record, which is still ahead of its time (and ours), he completely perverted pop music by satirizing it, deconstructing it, and incorporating avant-garde, jazz, doo-wop and classical influences. Freak Out! was perhaps the first instance of true parody rock (that is, music which pokes fun at itself) that still maintained an edge of anger and social critique. Extremely well-written and confident for a debut, this LP has a biting wit, a goofy exterior, and a dark heart which is exposed on the last few tracks, as the music disintegrates into free-form insanity.
Key tracks: “You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here”, “Help, I’m A Rock”
See also: We’re Only In It For the Money – Frank Zappa And the Mothers of Invention (1968), You Are What You Is – Frank Zappa (1981)