Frank Zappa apparently never thought much of The Beatles. Although The Beatles contributed enormously to the music industry (probably the most influential band ever), and their talent is mind-blowing in terms of songwriting, there is a very apparent and evident chasm between their genius and Zappa’s genius. I love the Beatles but Zappa always made me see right through them. This is something I can’t really express in words but I can always try.
The Beatles used the force (yeah, that word seems right) to push music and the entertainment industry as a whole to the masses. Even in what people consider to be their experimental era with Sgt. Pepper and so on, I still find the material to be formatted in some strange insidious way (Zappa’s ‘We’re Only In For The Money’ is a direct and plain parody of the famed Beatles’ album).
Zappa on the other hand used his force as a counter-pop/trend-culture instrument, exercising it through the medium of music (and film). Not knowing (and not wanting to understand) his music is one thing, but no one can deny that he wasn’t in it for the money, nor the fame, nor anything else but the music and the entertainment (as well as the social satire and political critique)
The same can’t be said of the The Beatles who always embraced the politically correct with a zest of anticipated lunacy…
I think that the interview below presents quite well the mind-sets that separate the ultimate Beatle figure, John Lennon, and Frank Zappa.
Here is some live coverage of the show at the Fillmore:
You can just feel how lost (or bored?) poor Lennon is around the 9 minute mark. Yoko on the other hand just can’t stop barking, pretty good at it too.