King Kong – Mother of All Monster Songs

From its first introduction in 1967, Frank Zappa‘s “King Kong” was a composition made for solos – horn solos, keyboard solos, drum solos, guitar solos. “King Kong” had them all. It was also a vehicle for extensive jamming. So, no matter the tour, no matter the particular ensemble, Zappa was there to determine exactly how structured the piece would or wouldn’t be, and what kind of atmosphere the particular solos would create – thus making “King Kong” a fan favourite whether it was performed by the original Mothers of Invention, the Hot Rats Band, The Roxy Band, or any of Zappa’s ensembles from the 1980s.

Of the well over 100 plus versions of “King Kong” in my own personal collection, the versions below exhibit those necessary elements that make “King Kong” the mother of all monster songs that it is. This is where Zappa separates “the floss from the chaff” or so we say here on the prairie. Give ’em a listen and you’ll hear why:

KKColor Me Pop, BBC Studios, London, United Kingdom, 23 October 1968
[audio:20110215_ColorMePop_BBCStudios_23oct68.mp3]

KKCongress Centrum Hamburg, Hamburg, West Germany, 8 June 1982
[audio:20110215_CongressCentrumHamburg_WestGermany_8Jun82.mp3]

KKDeutschlanhalle, Berlin, Germany, 15 February 1978
[audio:20110215_Deutschlandhalle_Berlin_Germany_15feb78.mp3]

KKEilenriedhalle, Hannover, Germany, 26 March 1979
[audio:20110215_Eilenriedhalle_Hannover_Germany_26mar79.mp3]

KKEssen, Gruga Halle, Germany, 26 September 1968
[audio:20110215_Essen_GrugaHalle_Germany_26sep68.mp3]

KKFamily Dog, Denver, Colorado, 3 May 1968
[audio:20110215_FamilyDog_Denver_3may68.mp3]

KKThe Grande Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan, 28 April 1969 (Early Show)
[audio:20110215_TheGrandeBallroom_Detroit_28apr69E.mp3]

KKHammersmith Odeon, London, United Kingdom, 18 June 1982
[audio:20110215_HammersmithOdeon_London_18jun82.mp3]

KKHemmerleinhalle, Neunkirchen am Brand, West Germany, 25 February 1978
[audio:20110215_Hemmerleinhalle_NeunkirchenAmBrand_WestGermany_25feb78.mp3]

KKIndiana University Auditorium, Bloomington, Indiana, 22 November 1981
[audio:20110215_IndianaUniversityAuditorium_Bloomington_22nov81.mp3]

KKKonserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden, 30 September 1967
[audio:20110215_Konserthuset_Stockholm_Sweden_30sep67.mp3]

KKLawrence University Chapel, Appleton, Wisconsin, 23 May 1969
[audio:20110215_LawrenceUniversityChapel_Appleton_23may69.mp3]

KKMusic Hall, Cleveland, Ohio, 5 March 1988
[audio:20110215_MusicHall_Cleveland_5mar88.mp3]

KKFullerton College, Fullerton, California, 8 November 1968
[audio:20110215_FullertonCollege_Fullerton_8nov68.mp3]

KKOlympia, Paris, France, 26 October 1968
[audio:20110215_Olympia_Paris_26oct68.mp3]

KKPalais Gaumont, Paris, France, 15 December 1970
[audio:20110215_PalaisGaumont_Paris_15dec70.mp3]

KKPalladium, New York City, New York, 31 October 1981 (Late Show)
[audio:20110215_Palladium_NYC_31oct81L.mp3]

KKState University of New York, Stonybrook, New York, 3 November 1984 (Early Show)
[audio:20110215_SUNY_Stonybrook_NY_3nov84E.mp3]

KKVeteran’s Memorial Auditorium, Columbus, Ohio, 20 November 1970
[audio:20110215_VeteransMemorialAuditorium_Columbus_20nov70.mp3]

KKVoorst National Hall, Brussels, Belgium, 26 February 1978
[audio:20110215_VoorstNationalHall_Brussels_Belgium_26feb1978.mp3]

Beauty didn’t kill the beast – Igor Stravinsky did!

6 Responses to “King Kong – Mother of All Monster Songs”

  1. Henry says:

    definatley one of my favorits zappa compositions. But I havent heard a lot of these versions. I love the way the composition evolves throughout the year.

  2. Cotti says:

    In any band, a “monster song” in all meanings. Great selections here.

  3. Mezcalhead says:

    That Hammersmith Odeon show is some serious awesomeness!!

  4. Dave says:

    Eilenriedhalle beats them all! Listen to the guitar solo on this nasty little sucker

  5. Thinman says:

    [quote comment=”24696″]Eilenriedhalle beats them all! Listen to the guitar solo on this nasty little sucker[/quote]
    I was at that show and it was great. The name of the hall is Eilenriedehalle btw: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eilenriedehalle

  6. Dave says:

    you were there? Wow. I think that´s the greatest king kong solo ever!

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