This influential and eclectic artist collaborated with his teenager daughter to achieve a one hit wonder with the song Valley Girl.
Frank Zappa, a self-taught composer and singer/songwriter, was well-known for his solo creations, collaborations and his work with his band Mothers of Invention.
Zappa was one who challenged authority and convention in his beliefs and his music and ironically, his only Billboard hit was the song Valley Girl.
Released on Zappa’s 1982 album Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch, the song was peppered with the slang made popular by the teen girls and boys of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley in the early 1980s.
Hitting number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song popularized the Valspeak and also showcased Zappa’s daughter, the 14 year old Moon Unit. Phrases like omigawd, gag me with a spoon, so bitchen and I’m sure, no way!
Ironically the next year, the film Valley Girl directed by Martha Coolidge, became a big hit, but this song wasn’t included on the popular soundtrack.
Zappa continued to create unique music, working with rock, jazz and classical musicians – yet his one hit wonder was the antithesis of what he represented.
I did love this silly song – and could never rationalize how Zappa created it -I’m guessing the the irony went way over my young teen head.