ARTIST: Frank Zappa / The Mothers of Invention
TITLE: We’re Only in It for the Money
YEAR RELEASED: 1966
CHART ACTION: #30 US, #31 UK
SINGLES: Lonely Little Girl
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Let’s Make the Water Turn Black, Take Off Your Clothes When You Dance, What’s the Ugliest Part of Your Body?
LINEUP: Frank Zappa, Jimmy Carl Black, Roy Estrada, Billy Mundi, Don Preston, Bunk Gardner, Ian Underwood, Motorhead Sherwood. Eric Clapton speaks a couple of sentences. No, really, he does.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A tour-de-force put down of the hippie culture from a cynical social commentator. The music is the first hint of Zappa’s advanced sense of composition.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Musically, this is an incredible record – especially given the limited technology in 1968. The pastiches of voices, sounds, and instruments, along with the sophisticated arrangements of tracks like “Mom & Dad”, show Zappa as an innovator on par with the Beatles and Brian Wilson.
The tracks take direct aim at the hippie and liberal culture of the 60’s, and in retrospect most of it is spot on criticism of the movement. It was one of the first albums that featured curse words in the lyrics and spoken word parts, and Verve Records was not having it. They asked Frank to change some lyrics, and then censored the album after it was delivered (and even more on subsequent pressings). This enraged Zappa, and he never let a company do that again. Thankfully, you can find the uncensored versions out there now.
There are a few really weird noise tracks using the studio as an abstract art canvas. This was probably off-putting to very casual fans, but by now most people who bought the record expected weirdness like “The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny”
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Zappa and his band were filming a movie (not finished until 1987) and worked on recordings for an large-scale project that spun off four albums.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: A+: It’s a shame that Verve decided to censor this in 1968 – even then it was known as a master work of satire.