Hot Rats

Universal Music Group
Release date
18 Dec 2012
Running length
6 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 Peaches en Regalia 3:39 163,984
2 Willie the Pimp 2:06 76,998
3 Son of Mr. Green Genes 8:58 57,314
4 Little Umbrellas 3:09 55,773
5 The Gumbo Variations 12:56 50,661
6 It Must Be a Camel 5:18 46,031

About this album

Hot Rats is the second solo album by Frank Zappa. It was released in October 1969. The album consists of six songs, five of which are instrumental (the song “Willie the Pimp” features a short vocal by Captain Beefheart). It was Zappa’s first recording project after the dissolution of the original Mothers of Invention. Because it focuses on long instrumental jazz-like compositions with extensive soloing, the music sounds very different than earlier Zappa albums which featured short songs with satirical vocal performances. It features none of the Mothers, save Ian Underwood, who was also the primary collaborator and sideman. In his original sleeve notes Zappa described the album as “a movie for your ears.”

This was the first Frank Zappa album recorded on 16-track equipment and one of the first of such 16-track recordings released to the public. Recording machines with 16 individual tracks allow for much more flexibility in multi-tracking and overdubbing than the 4 and 8-track tape recorders that were standard in 1969. While Zappa was recording Hot Rats in Los Angeles, The Beatles were working on their Abbey Road album at EMI’s soon to be famous Abbey Road Studios in London. By comparison, The Beatles were limited to 8-track technology. Hot Rats still stands out as one of Zappa’s greatest musical and technological achievements.

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  • TweezTweezer

    The original '69 vinyl mix is a great work of music, far superior than the CD reissue.

    14 Feb 1:11pm Reply
  • GeorgiesGerms

    This album is timeless and must be Zappa's most important legacy.

    28 Jul 2013 Reply
  • jsnruf

    needs moar Captain Beefheart

    18 Jul 2013 Reply
  • RussAuto

    This album is unbelievably good

    28 Jun 2013 Reply
  • crownanchor

    kick ass

    29 Apr 2013 Reply
  • licoricepizza

    but, yeah, original vinyl is still best.

    5 Apr 2013 Reply
  • licoricepizza

    the new UMe cds are excellent. if you like having this on cd format, that's the one to get.

    5 Apr 2013 Reply
  • Ohrsinn

    4th of December, a day to play the music of Frank Zappa

    4 Dec 2012 Reply
  • Lene1054

    i'm alitte pimp with my hair gassed back,pair of khaki pants and my shoes shined black...poetic!

    3 Nov 2012 Reply
  • petross85

    Every single track is a stunner

    2 Sep 2012 Reply
  • Gaffes

    That's just hot!

    14 Jul 2012 Reply
  • Endzeitlager

    feels like ambient

    23 Jun 2012 Reply
  • ricz_dm

    The CD has terrible mixing, sounds completely different than the original album. [2]

    23 Apr 2012 Reply
  • skank_pit

    This album is fucked, I say.

    11 Apr 2012 Reply
  • cicerometallica

    amazing guitar job

    1 Jan 2012 Reply
  • AngelOf_Mercy_

    So many people here complaining about the CD mix ... I find the CD mix much better than the original vinyl mix. The sound is more clear, you can hear more instruments and the gumbo variations didn't get castrated. The music just comes across better on the CD mix.

    29 Dec 2011 Reply
  • mk741

    Glad I picked this up. Fantastic jazz fusion.

    8 Oct 2011 Reply
  • fergalmc

    Beautiful and unusual harmonies .... and Willie the Pimp and The Gumbo Variations ... and much Ian Underwood and even bloody Shuggie Otis!? Zappa stretches out.

    13 Sep 2011 Reply
  • sunheadbowed

    It isn't "tame"; the music is different from the Mothers: it's not a band effort, and it was a (wildly successful) attempt at revealing a new side to Zappa, with the 'straight' jazz-fusion (or his version of it, which is kind-of unique hah). His reputation grew massively with this album and it predicted directions he explored in the future, some of which really clicked with the mainstream. It's a wildly inventive and creative work, so why label it with such a lazy adjective?

    10 Sep 2011 Reply
  • bloodmaw

    great but very tame compared to his work with the Mothers, but is still excellent.

    13 Aug 2011 Reply
  • All 95 shouts

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