Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Friday 80s Flashback for April 16, 2021

[America is Hell] -- You might recall that for the remainder of April, my birthday month, I am featuring music from 1986, the year I turned 18. Frank Zappa released two albums in 1986, effectively bookending (heh) the year. In January, he released Does Humor Belong in Music?, a collection of concert recordings from the end of 1984, so that doesn't fully qualify for my music in 1986 theme. But in November of 1986, Zappa released the final studio album (that would be released within his lifetime): Jazz From Hell. In many respects, this has been a week from Hell, and that alone could make this latter of the two Zappa records an appropriate album to feature. But to make the connection even more concrete, according to Zappa himself, this album's title (and maybe even the track of the same name) was a political statement: 
"Things in America can be from hell. Right now we have a president from hell [reference to Ronald Reagan], and a National Security Council from hell, so we should add Jazz from Hell also."  (Quoted here and in the book, Frank Zappa and the And).
While I do enjoy listening to this album on occasion, usually as background music, I cannot give it an adequate review or description. I can tell you that my favorite tracks are "While You Were Art II," "Jazz From Hell," "G-Spot Tornado," and "St. Etienne." And I know Jazz From Hell won the 1988 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. So, for more detailed analysis, I direct you to this album's entry on, especially if you want a deep dive into the Synclavier, a digital synth Zappa used on every track of this album except "St. Etienne." 

Zappa did not record any music videos for this album, though one YouTube user has an appropriate animation scored with "Jazz from Hell."  Fortunately, the Frank Zappa account on YouTube does feature a complete Jazz From Hell playlist, so that is what I have embedded for you this week. 

FlashbackJazz From Hell

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

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