The album was inspired by Frank Zappa's Absolutely Free, and consists of two long compositions with "As Long as He Lies Perfectly Still" and "Dedicated to You" serving as interludes. Acting on a recommendation from Zappa, the band split the main tracks into smaller pieces to increase the band's income from the album.
According to the lyrics in Have You Ever Bean Green? The Soft Machine thanked The Jimi Hendrix Experience, with whom they toured through the USA in 1968, that they as a beginning band were exposed to large crowds. The title of this song refers to a soulful plaint in the song Are You Experienced?, "Have you ever been experienced?". The title of Side 2, "Esther's Nose Job", is derived from a chapter in Thomas Pynchon's novel, V.