Gateway Acts is an ongoing series on Backbeat in which we examine the music that served as an entry point for our burgeoning musical obsessions, a gateway drug that tuned us in and turned us on. Today, A.H. Goldstein reflects on his Frank Zappa fixation.
Some of my earliest musical memories revolve around the tape deck in my father's car. Led Zeppelin II, the Rolling Stones' Hot Rocks compilation, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac -- these cassettes provided the daily soundtrack for drives to and from elementary school, along with complementary hand drum solos on the dashboard courtesy of my dad. Occasionally, he'd pop in a copy of Frank Zappa's Sheik Yerbouti. That record was a stark departure from the rest of the classic rock fare, with its long-form guitar solos, frenzied xylophone work and bizarre lyrics about Jewish princesses and baby snakes. It wasn't until years later, after I bought my own copy of the album on CD as a freshman in high school, that the true brilliance of the album and its creator began to sink in.
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