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Frank Zappa: Apostrophe (') Over-Nite Sensation

4.3 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"This is where you go to find every aspect of Frank's music squeezed into two perfectly formed records."Dweezil Zappa. This new addition to Eagle Vision's acclaimed Classic Albums series focuses on Frank Zappa's early seventies albums "Overnite Sensation" (1973) and "Apostrophe(`)" (1974). Together they encapsulate Zappa's extraordinary musical diversity and were also the two most commercially successful albums that he released in his prolific career. As ever the program uses interviews, musical demonstrations, rare archive and home movie footage plus live performances to tell the story behind the conception and recording of these groundbreaking albums. TRACKLISTING: Features excerpts from: -Dinah-Moe Humm -I'm The Slime -Montana -St Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast -Dirty Love -Cosmic Debris -Stink-Foot & more.


History will show that Frank Zappa (1940-1993) was one of the greatest American composers of the 20th century in any musical form, and this superb episode of the Classic Albums series offers ample proof of Zappa's genius. As Zappa's reverent son and musical heir Dweezil Zappa rightly points out, Over-Nite Sensation (1973) and Apostrophe (') (1974) are the albums that epitomize Zappa's masterful jazz/rock fusion, virtually defining a unique musical genre that can only be called "Zappa." The recording of both albums is chronicled here not simply because they best represent the dazzling complexity of Zappa's music, but also because they were recorded simultaneously in a burst of creativity, proving beyond any doubt that Zappa was more than simply a mischievous provocateur. While the world may know Zappa from his mainstream novelty hit "Valley Girl" (with daughter Moon on vocals), any devoted Zappaphile will tell you that this is the real Zappa, in full musical bloom, working miracles in the studio with The Mothers of Invention and a stellar variety of topnotch musicians who cite their time with Zappa as the most rewarding period of their careers.

The Classic Albums series strives to be definitive, and this must-have DVD is fully authorized in the scope of its coverage. With complete cooperation and participation from the remaining Zappa family (sons Dweezil and Ahmet, daughter Moon, and widow Gail are all extensively interviewed) and additional interviews with Billy Bob Thornton, Alice Cooper, guitarist Steve Vai, veteran Rolling Stone critic David Fricke, and many of Zappa's closest associates and collaborators, this 97-minute documentary is packed with highlights and fascinating revelations, like the pristine precision of Zappa's hand-written compositions, Zappa's childhood fascination with the compositions of Edgard Varèse, and his diligent, prolific, and disciplined, drug-free approach to recording and touring. Zappa's studio process is amazingly revealed when Dweezil and Zappa "Vaultmeister" Joe Travers sit down at a mixing table to analyze the master tapes of classic Zappa tracks like the hilariously controversial "Dyna-Moe Humm." In addition to vintage archival clips of Zappa discussing his music and career, and home movies of Zappa's band on tour during the mid-1970s, this DVD also includes the complete video of Zappa performing "I'm the Slime" on Saturday Night Live in 1976, live footage of a 1973 performance of "Montana," and a new performance of "Camarillo Brillo" by Dweezil's tribute band, Zappa Plays Zappa (with Dweezil playing one of his father's favorite Gibson guitars). Bonus features also include a Travers-hosted trip into the massive Zappa archives, and further deconstruction of Zappa tracks "Dirty Love" and "Nanook Rubs It." If you're a casual Zappa fan, this DVD will turn you into a passionate convert. For those who've loved Zappa all along, it's a little bit of heaven here on Earth. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 1, 2007
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OCXM0O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,797 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is the best Classic Albums episode - right up there with The Band episode IMO. There's lots of vintage footage included that I'd never seen (and I have a so-called comprehensive collection), and wonderful interviews with former band members like George Duke, the Underwoods, the Fowler brothers, Steve Vai, Ralph Humphrey, Dweezil and Gail, and of course the man himself Napoleon Murphy friggin Brock. IMO Ruthie steals the show but they're all good. The whole package tells an amazingly comprehensive story of the 73-74 period with lots of passion and humor.

Dweezil sits behind the board for a number of songs and lets us really dig in and hear the more tender nuances and demonstrates how the combinations of instruments and voices fit together (listen for Tina Turner - wow). I must say the Dweeze gets a little wordy, often talking over the music rather than letting it speak for itself. Small complaint though. There's also snippets of ZPZ rehearsals for the Summer 07 tour (BTW, WHY ARE YOU SKIPPING DENVER THIS YEAR?!?! ')

The highlight for me (and probably many others) are the extended video clips of the '73 ROXY shows. These concerts are considered by some as the 'holy grail' of live Zappa. We know the tapes exist, we know there's been talk of releasing them for several years now, I don't care how grainy they are or even if they're edited poorly... PLEASE OH PLEASE STOP TEASING US AND RELEASE ALL THIS IMPORTANT, PRECIOUS CONCERT FOOTAGE ASAP!!! (are you listening Zappa Family Trust?)

Lastly, the extended and deleted clips are all gems not to be missed.

There are probably other details I'm forgetting, but definitely pick this one up even if you're just a casual fan of FZ. This DVD is an education for olde tyme fans as well, so Enjoy(tm) !
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Format: DVD
Throughout his career, Frank Zappa thumbed his nose at commercialism. He never let the marketplace dictate his direction, and his instincts (and taste) almost always ran contrary to whatever was `popular'. In fact, if Frank liked what you were doing, it was a sure sign that you would suffer commercially; just ask Captain Beefheart, or Wild Man Fisher, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, or Alice Cooper in his early days. The name `Frank Zappa' may now be copyrighted and a household name, but few people really ever knew his music. His albums were tailored to appeal to those who were outside of society, so what went wrong with "Apostrophe (`)" and "Over-Nite Sensation" that allowed them to become hugely famous?

For a short period of time in the early seventies, Frank Zappa and the counterculture experienced something akin to acceptance by the media. Perhaps this was due to the huge success of FM radio, or maybe it was the zeitgeist that enveloped the globe after the late-sixties meltdown of hippie culture. Either way, Zappa's music was at a creative peak, and the world was willing to pay attention. "Apostrophe" and "Over-Nite Sensation" followed one another within a year's time, and each of them featured pretty much the same line-up of musicians. They represent his most accessible work, and this `album documentary' tells the story of how they got made.

If you are familiar with Frank Zappa's work, then I highly recommend this DVD. If you are not familiar with Zappa's work, buy each of these albums and then buy this DVD. The information contained herein is invaluable to any fan. I've seen many, many of these `album documentaries', but none come close to the authoritative entertainment of this package. The fun facts alone are outstanding.
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3 Comments 34 of 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
This is one great documentary. The Zappa family really went out of their way to make this a fabulous product. It has interviews with the 73' band George Duke, Napoleon, Ralph Humphrey, Bruce Fowler, Ruth! And Ian Underwood, as well as others, the most surprising person to appear was Eliot Ingber. The documentary is fabulous, lots of studio footage, road movies, still photos. Dweezil's enthusiasm is apparent, and his points of interest on the multitrack tapes really demonstrate what gives Franks compositions their depth of character. The bonus material, much like on other DVDs in this series, is as good as the program it self. (Ruth playing St. Alfonzo)

This DVD is highly recommended! I'm sure there won't be any more Zappa albums in this series but if there were I'd buy them with out hesitation.
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Format: DVD
Wow. I was riveted to this DVD. To see the faces and hear the voices of the band members reminicing about Frank and these two great albums was just fantastic. Kudos to the Zappa family for finding them to make this documentary. You could see it in their eyes how much they respected him and how much they miss him. The scenes with Dweezil behind the sound board were extra special for me. To hear some of the individual tracks off of the masters blew me away. An absolute must have for every Zappa fan. My favorite ( non concert ) Zappa DVD to date!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Frank Zappa could be summed up with one word "GENIUS". Everything about the man was original, intelligent, inspiring and interesting. I give this DVD **** stars since it really demonstrates FZ's tireless commitment to ORIGINAL music and technical excellence. What is disappointing about the disc is that it doesn't feature enough of the performance footage and interviews with the people who were there. It would have been great to see George Duke actually play some of those incredible keyboard parts! Why not get those musicians together to interact with one another and play some grooves from the albums? Seeing and hearing Ruth Underwood is the highlight of the DVD. She was most insightful. The most disappointing part of the DVD is the inclusion of Billy-Bob Thorton. Could someone tell me why he is in the DVD? Eliminate his segments and add some additional breakdown footage of "Stinkfoot" or "Cosmik Debris" or another live performance and the DVD falls into the five star category. Lastly, we need ROXY and ELSEWHERE on DVD in surround sound! The present day composer refuses to die!
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Frank Zappa: Apostrophe (') Over-Nite Sensation
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