Over-Nite Sensation

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Over-Nite Sensation
Studio album by Frank Zappa and The Mothers
Released September 7, 1973
Recorded March 19 – June 1, 1973, at Bolic Sound, Inglewood and Whitney Studios, Glendale
Genre Progressive rock, comedy rock, hard rock, jazz fusion, funk rock
Length 34:37
Label DiscReet
Producer Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
The Grand Wazoo
(1972)
Over-Nite Sensation
(1973)
Apostrophe (')
(1974)
The Mothers of Invention chronology
Weasels Ripped My Flesh
(1970)
Over-Nite Sensation
(1973)
One Size Fits All
(1975)
Singles from Over-Nite Sensation
  1. "I'm the Slime"
    Released: 1970 (Alternative Mix)

Over-Nite Sensation is the seventeenth studio album by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. Released on September 7, 1973, it was followed by Zappa's solo album Apostrophe (') (1974), which was recorded during the same sessions.

Recording[edit]

Frank Zappa wanted to use backup singers on the songs "I'm the Slime", "Dirty Love", "Zomby Woof", "Dinah-Moe Humm" and "Montana". His road manager suggested The Ikettes, and Ike & Tina Turner were contacted. Ike Turner insisted that Zappa pay the singers, including Tina Turner, no more than $25 per song.[1] During the recording sessions, Tina brought Ike into the studio to hear one of her recordings with Zappa. Ike listened to the tape and responded "What is this shit?" before leaving the studio.[1] Ike later insisted that Zappa would not credit the Ikettes on the released album.[1]

The recording sessions which produced Over-Nite Sensation also produced Zappa's followup, Apostrophe (') (1974),[1] released as a solo album rather than a Mothers of Invention release.

Music and lyrics[edit]

Many of the album's lyrics deals with sexual intercourse.[1][2] "Dinah-Moe Humm" describes a woman, who wagers that the narrator can't give her an orgasm, and is ultimately aroused by watching him have sex with her sister.[1] Sexuality, however, is not the sole focus of the album's lyrics, as "I'm the Slime" criticizes television shows, which are described as "vile and pernicious", brainwashing their audiences into eating the processed food advertised in their commercials and shaping their thinking into the pattern required by the government.[1] "Montana" describes moving to Montana to grow dental floss.[1]

The music of Over-Nite Sensation draws from rock, jazz and pop music.[2] "Zomby Woof" has been described as a "heavy metal hybrid of Louis Jordan and Fats Waller".[2]

Cover[edit]

The cover was done by Dave McMacken as somewhat in vein of Salvador Dalí's surreal imagery depicting a two-headed man sitting on a waterbed in a Holiday Inn hotel room surrounded by various objects like a Mothers backstage pass and a television set showing Zappa's face with slime oozing out of it. The entire painting is depicted in a frame showing many sexual acts.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau (C)[4]

The album received mixed reviews due to its lyrical content, which some critics found puerile.[2] Rolling Stone magazine disliked the album, describing Zappa as a "spent force", and saying that his best work had been recorded with earlier incarnations of the Mothers.[2] New Musical Express said that the album was "not one of Frank's most outstanding efforts."[2] Robert Christgau gave the album a C, asking "where's the serious stuff?"[4]

Contemporary reviews evaluated the album far better, with Allmusic writer Steve Huey writing, "Love it or hate it, Over-Nite Sensation was a watershed album for Frank Zappa, the point where his post-'60s aesthetic was truly established".[3] Kelly Fisher Lowe, in The Words and Music of Frank Zappa, wrote that "Over-Nite and Apostrophe (') are important [...] as a return to Mothers of Invention form and as close to traditional pop albums as Zappa would ever come."[2]

Legacy[edit]

Over-Nite Sensation (1973) and Apostrophe (') (1974) are the subject of a Classic Albums series documentary from Eagle Rock Entertainment, released on DVD May 1, 2007.

The lines "She was buns-up kneelin' / Buns up! / I was wheelin an' dealin'" from "Dinah-Moe Humm" are quoted (as "So there she was / buns up and kneelin' / I was wheelin' and a-dealin'") on 'Girl Keeps Coming Apart', on Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Frank Zappa

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Camarillo Brillo"   4:01
2. "I'm the Slime"   3:35
3. "Dirty Love"   3:00
4. "Fifty-Fifty"   6:08
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Zomby Woof"   5:11
2. "Dinah-Moe Humm"   6:05
3. "Montana"   6:37
Total length:
34:37

Personnel[edit]

Musicians
Production staff
  • Producer: Frank Zappa
  • Engineers: Fred Borkgren, Steve Desper, Terry Dunavan, Barry Keene, Bob Stone
  • Remixing: Kerry McNabb
  • Arranger: Frank Zappa
  • Technician: Paul Hof
  • Cover design: Ferenc Dobronyi
  • Illustrations: Cover - David B. McMacken, Inside - Cal Schenkel

Charts[edit]

Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1973 Pop Albums 32

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Miles, Barry (September 2005). Zappa: A Biography. ISBN 9780802142153. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Lowe, Kelly Fisher (2007). The Words and Music of Frank Zappa. ISBN 0803260059. 
  3. ^ a b Huey, S. (2011). "Over-Nite Sensation - Frank Zappa & the Mothers | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Christgau, R. (2011). "Robert Christgau: CG: Artist 4155". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 21 July 2011.