Citation needed for Frank Zappa's best bands ever list.
January 31, 2010 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Frank Zappa was famously a fan of The Shaggs. According to Wikipedia he rated them as the third best band ever in a Norwegian newspaper in April of 1988. Does anyone know what other bands featured on Zappa's best-of list?
posted by Kattullus to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't been able to find that particular interview, but I did find a long list of transcribed Zappa interviews from the 1960s-90s, so you could search through those.

Googling also seemed to suggest that such a list is from a 1976 Playboy interview with Zappa, but I can't find that either.
posted by sallybrown at 10:49 AM on January 31, 2010

"Third best" is a humorous way of conveying mock precision to an assessment. I don't think he meant it literally.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:41 AM on January 31, 2010

He was really into Edgard Varèse growing up.
posted by Locobot at 11:47 AM on January 31, 2010

Response by poster: I didn't find anything in the long list provided by sallybrown. It was so promising too, being on a Norwegian homepage and all.

I've found a Norwegian newspaper corpus but they seem mostly to go back to 1998, though as far as I can puzzle out, do have some newspapers going back further. Unfortunately I can't search it. I'm contacting them to see if they can be of help.
posted by Kattullus at 1:23 PM on January 31, 2010

Following up on sallybrown's 1976 Playboy interview suggestion (thanks for the excuse!) I just paged through all the 1976 issues up through October and didn't see anything mentioning him. November and December '76, and most of 1977 is missing from our archive, sadly.
posted by carsonb at 1:55 PM on January 31, 2010

Response by poster: The Wikipedia discussion page mentions a 1970 Playboy poll.
posted by Kattullus at 2:55 PM on January 31, 2010

Here is Zappa's list of 10 Desert Island discs.
posted by chbrooks at 3:01 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

As much as I would have liked to read every issue from 1970, I only had time to scan and didn't find a list from Zappa. He's mentioned in the Feb. 1970 Best Pop & Jazz polls, as having 'jumped onto' the songwriter-composer category's top ten.
The Beatles also showed strength in the new songwriter-composer competition, as the John Lennon–Paul McCartney team sprinted away from a formidable pack; the top ten also included Burt Bacharach–Hal David, Bob Dylan, Jim Webb, Rod McKuen, Henry Mancini, Mick Jagger–Keith Richard, Frank Zappa, Johnny Cash and Donovan—a lineup that emphasizes both the dominance of the pop-rock world and the rich variety of styles it encompasses.
But that's it, as far as I can tell. Playboy did an All-Stars poll every year where they asked the members of the previous year's All-Star Band to pick their favorites, so if you can find out what year Zappa made it onto the All-Star Band I can go back and check the next year to see if he's got a poll up. (The posters they made to showcase the All-Star Bands are awesome, btw.) Sorry I'm only a disprover today, Kattullus. Would've liked to help constructively on this one.
posted by carsonb at 4:45 PM on January 31, 2010

Two unofficial compilations comprise music that influenced Zappa: Roots of Frank Zappa includes 20 Doo Wop, R&B, Blues and experimental tracks; Frank Zappa's Jukebox has 26 tracks that reach into the same basket of genres.
posted by prinado at 9:26 PM on January 31, 2010

That top 10 is really interesting, and entirely unsurprising. It's like Zappa factored out.
posted by cmoj at 11:20 AM on February 1, 2010

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