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

KKCongress Centrum Hamburg, Hamburg, West Germany, 8 June 1982

KKDeutschlanhalle, Berlin, Germany, 15 February 1978

KKEilenriedhalle, Hannover, Germany, 26 March 1979

KKEssen, Gruga Halle, Germany, 26 September 1968

KKFamily Dog, Denver, Colorado, 3 May 1968

KKThe Grande Ballroom, Detroit, Michigan, 28 April 1969 (Early Show)

KKHammersmith Odeon, London, United Kingdom, 18 June 1982

KKHemmerleinhalle, Neunkirchen am Brand, West Germany, 25 February 1978

KKIndiana University Auditorium, Bloomington, Indiana, 22 November 1981

KKKonserthuset, Stockholm, Sweden, 30 September 1967

KKLawrence University Chapel, Appleton, Wisconsin, 23 May 1969

KKMusic Hall, Cleveland, Ohio, 5 March 1988

KKFullerton College, Fullerton, California, 8 November 1968

KKOlympia, Paris, France, 26 October 1968

KKPalais Gaumont, Paris, France, 15 December 1970

KKPalladium, New York City, New York, 31 October 1981 (Late Show)

KKState University of New York, Stonybrook, New York, 3 November 1984 (Early Show)

KKVeteran’s Memorial Auditorium, Columbus, Ohio, 20 November 1970

KKVoorst National Hall, Brussels, Belgium, 26 February 1978

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

Author: urbangraffito

I am a writer, editor, publisher, philosopher, and foole (not necessarily in that order). Cultural activist and self-described anarchist.

6 thoughts on “King Kong – Mother of All Monster Songs”

  1. 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.

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