Collecting Frank Zappa in Australia

By Stuart PenneyOceania
From it - The Australian Record Collectors Magazine, Issue #14 June-July-August 1995
Provided by Henry Griggs, Sydney, Australia

Part 1: The Early Years

The Verve Era

Let's face it, collecting Frank Zappa has never been a pursuit for the faint-hearted. With over 60 (yes, that's six-zero) full albums/CDs currently bearing the man's name, not to mention a multitude of guest appearances, production credits and related releases on the five Zappa-owned record labels (Bizarre, Straight, DiscReet, Zappa and Barking Pumpkin), even the most modest FZ collection can rapidly take on impressive, shelf-straining proportions. Add to this the myriad sleeve/track variations which inevitably crop up from country to country, plus more bootlegs than you could reasonably shake a stick at, and it soon becomes clear that, for the beginner at least, acquiring anything close to a complete Zappa collection requires not only a steely resolve, but, in all probability, a sympathetic bank manager as well!

Ironically, in the past Australian collectors have had another, quite different, problem to contend with: that of actually laying their hands on sufficient quantities of Zappa product in the first place. As we are only too well aware, Aussie record buyers have been extremely poorly served by all the major labels over the years, to the extent that by no means all of Frank's prodigious catalogue was officially released here - a high percentage of his vast output being only available as US/UK imports. In addition, the FZ titles that were manufactured in this country (especially in the early days) were often poor imitations of their sturdy US counterparts, with bastardised cover artwork and censored (or sometimes, even, missing) tracks. With the advent of compact disc, of course, the situation improved dramatically, but even here, as anyone who owns an Australian-made CD copy of Sheik Yerbouti (Ryko D30375) - with its seriously truncated booklet sans lyrics - will affirm, there is still much room for improvement. Perversely, those very same mutant Aussie LPs that we griped long and hard about during the 70s are now attracting considerable interest from Zappa collectors world-wide and, together with a handful of predictably eccentric New Zealand releases, can command prices equal to their more well-appointed American or European equivalents.

So, exactly which Zappa records were issues here, how do they differ from the regular releases and how much would you expect to pay for them? This feature will endeavour to answer those questions as thoroughly and accurately as possible - although, because there are very few catalogues of Australian 60s/70s pressings, some of the release dates are, by necessity, purely speculative. Any additions, clarifications and/or corrections (Aust/NZ pressings only) will be warmly welcomed.

Australia's vinyl introduction to the wonderful world of Frank Zappa was not, as may be expected, with the Freak Out! album. While a New Zealand pressing of the LP definitely exists, the Aussie release of the Mothers' landmark debut has been subject to a curious and unexplained delay - currently running at around 30 years! The first Oz release was, in fact, the single How Could I Be Such a Fool? / Help, I'm A Rock (Verve V5122). The exact release date of this little gem remains shrouded in mystery, but an educated guess would place it around May 1966, before the equivalent UK single (Nov 1966), and not far short of the American issue. Quite why a single with absolutely zero commercial potential, by an unknown band (with, as we've established, no album to back it up), should have been released in Australia is anyone's guess, but if you think the UK/US versions of this 45 are rare, then try finding an Oz copy! Rumour has it that a test run of less than 100 copies were pressed, with few, if any, ever reaching the shops, surely making this one of the rarest Zappa items in existence. Needless to say, a clean copy of It Can't Happen Here can easily command $100+ in today's market. The desirability factor is increased even further due to the single's vivid orange and yellow labels. These brightly coloured artefacts were the work of the now-defunct Astor Records, once a major Australian label, who then owned distribution rights to the MGM/Verve material in this part of the world. As it turned out, this was the only Zappa release to be handled by Astor, because sometime during 1967 distribution switched to Phonogram and subsequent releases appeared on the more familiar black and silver Verve label design.

The next Australian release (and the first Zappa/Mothers of Invention LP to appear in this country) was Absolutely Free (Verve V/V6 5013). Again, no exact release date is known, but the album was probably issued in early 1968 (compared to April 1967 for US issues, or October 1967 in the UK). Like the original UK Verve/EMI release, the Oz version appeared in a non fold-out sleeve with truncated artwork. But there the similarity ends, for whereas the UK original utilised the entire front cover artwork (as per the US sleeve), together with DJ Mike Raven's deeply embarrassing poem on the reverse, the Aussie version used almost all of the US gate-fold sleeve artwork, compressed to fit on the (laminated) front cover only. The reverse is an adaptation of the MOI group shot from the left-hand inside cover of the US LP, with very few changes (still with me?).

Issued in both mono and stero, original Oz pressings of Absolutely Free featured rear cover flaps together with the long-winded sleeve credit "Made and Distributed in Australia by PHONOGRAM RECORDINGS PTY. LIMITED Distributors of Philips, Mercury, Fontana, Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft, Polydor, Archiv, Caedmon, Heliodor, Zodiac, MGM and Verve". Later issues arrived minus flaps with the simpler credit "Manufactured and Distributed in Australia under License". In common with most Australian LPs from this era, separate mono and stereo sleeves were not printed: early copies simply listed both numbers, while later pressings carried only mono numbers with silver 'stereo' stickers applied to the front cover, as required. Although not common by European standards, Absolutely Free appears to have been in production well into the 70s and is probably the easiest of the Aussie MOI Verve LPs to find. Apart from the somewhat flimsy cardboard used for the sleeve (a recurring problem with Australian LPs for many years) and the fact that, for reasons unknown, all Oz album covers were, until relatively recently, a good 15mm smaller all round than the US or UK releases, this is an interesting oddity of reasonable quality and early mono examples with cover flaps should sell for around $50.

Somewhat harder to find, though, is the Australian version of the legendary third Mothers Of Invention album, We're Only in It for the Money (Verve V/V6 5045). The remarkable thing about this LP is not the amount of altered or deleted lyrics it contains, but the fact that it was actually issued here as Zappa originally envisaged (and, indeed, as it now appears on the CD sleeve world-wide), with the Sgt. Pepper spoof on the front cover! Now, you can bet your life that this was not done as an act of artistic philanthropy by Phonogram. More likely it arose due to a combination of inefficiency and downright cheapness by the record company. It must be remembered that, back in the 60s, Australia was far more isolated from the mainstream of world events than it is today, and the furore surrounding EMI's (and, allegedly, Paul McCartney's) objection to the 'Money' sleeve probably didn't filter through to Phonogram's Oz office until long after the album had reached the shops (if at all). This, coupled with a deeply entrenched policy of penny-pinching and corner-cutting by virtually all the Australian labels, meant that a gatefold sleeve was out of the question for most rock albums anyway (for really important LPs however - especially those utilising intricate artwork such as Sgt. Pepper and the Stones' Satanic Majesties - this problem was overcome by housing Australian-made records in UK-printed sleeves). Consequently, because they couldn't reduce the regular Money cover down to a single sleeve without creating all sorts of problems with the track listing and other credits, Phonogram simply reversed the cover and found they had a ready-made sleeve. Well, sort of. What they actually did was use the Sgt. Pepper spoof for the front cover, while the infamous MOI 'drag' photo (which normally spreads across the fold-out sleeve on US/UK LPs) was reduced to fit along the bottom of the back cover only. Oddly enough, this was reproduced in red, with the lyrics overprinted on a white background. As with Absolutely Free, the aforementioned marathon sleeve credit was still present, but, strangely, no cover flaps were in evidence this time. Both mono and stereo numbers appeared on the sleeve, which was laminated on the front cover only. Once again, an exact release date is hard to ascertain, but considering the US and UK versions of WOIIFTM appeared in January and June 1968 respectively, it would probably not be wildly inaccurate to place the Aussie issue around August of the same year.

Other 'amendments' to the Aussie version of Money concern several instances of censored lyrics, all of which - bar one - seem to correspond to those found on early UK/US pressings (i.e. Who Needs the Peace Corps, Let's Make the Water Turn Black and the spoken intro to the song Absolutely Free all have a few words edited out). The exception is the short track Hot Poop, which despite an official running time of only 30 seconds, was nevertheless chopped by almost 50%!

A word of explanation is possibly required here: MGM in the US had insisted that the line "shut your fuckin' mouth about the length of my hair" be cut from the song Mother People before Money could be released. So, in typical Zappa style, Frank cleverly sneaked the offending phrase back onto the album, via Hot Poop, without the record company noticing. Admittedly, he had to run the tape backwards to do it, but, on UK and US pressings at least, there it is, tucked away at the end of Side One. Can it be that the top brass at Phonogram in Sydney were somehow made aware of Zappa's surreptitious tape reversal activities and resolved to scupper the head Mother's dastardly plans? Or did some incompetent studio technician cut the tape off a few seconds too early during the mastering stage, thus losing half of the track in question? My money's on the latter option. Speaking of which, expect to pay up to $75 for a clean mono copy of this timeless album.

At this point, some mention should be made of the New Zealand issue of Money (Verve V/V6 5045) which, despite having the regular yellow foldout 'drag' sleeve, apparently features the Sgt Pepper spoof inside cover in glorious black & white! This particular cost-cutting exercise was prevalent in New Zealand throughout the 60s and 70s, inadvertently creating many desirable mutant pressings for the overseas collector's market along the way. Any further information concerning Kiwi issues of Zappa's Verve material (preferably with illustrations) will be gratefully received.

Staying in New Zealand for a moment, we'll deal quickly with Lumpy Gravy. Although a copy couldn't be located for the purposes of this feature, it seems fairly certain that Zappa's first solo LP was issued in NZ (Verve V/V6 8741). Sadly, the album remains unreleased in Australia. We do, however, have positive sightings of Cruising with Ruben & the Jets (Verve V6 5055) in Australia at least, if not New Zealand. Depending on your aesthetic stand-point, the Aussie version of Ruben constitutes either sacrilege of the highest order, or a kitsch masterpiece guaranteed to make even the most jaded collector sit up and take notice. For a start, the front cover is almost certainly a photographic copy of an original US sleeve (as was WOIIFTM, for that matter). These days we may cringe at the blurred covers of those dreadful Italian repro Zappa albums which crept onto the market a few years ago, but back in the 60s and early 70s, Australian record companies were using much the same methods quite openly! Instead of taking the time to fly in first-generation sleeve artwork from America (or wherever), they woudl simply print from an imported sleeve, hence the blurred, smudgy horror that was Ruben. As if that wasn't enough, the boys in the artwork department at Phonogram took it upon themselves to 'improve' upon Cal Schenkel's sleeve design! In order that potential buyers should not be in any doubt as to who is performing on the record, they added "The Mothers of Invention" at the top of the front cover (in pink, no less) in the same style as Schenkel's title. Above the back cover picture of the teenage Frank (which is, for some inexplicable reason, tinted yellow) we have, presumably for the benefit of those who missed it on the front, the band name in large letters once again. As a result, the remaining sleeve notes are completely rearranged.

To this day, Australian record companies still seem to think that unless the artist's name screams out in huge letters from the front cover of an album, your typical brain-dead record buyer will be totally unable to figure it out for him/herself. Pink Floyd fans will doubtlessly be familiar with this curious phenomenon from Aussie pressings of Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall, the sleeves of which were defaced by the indiscriminate (and unnecessary) addition of the band name. However, we digress ... Needless to say, the Aussie Ruben arrived in a non-gatefold laminated sleeve with no sign of the three inserts which were included with early US copies. Although available in both mono and stereo in America (Nov. 1968) and Britain (Feb. 1969), the Australian version appears to have been issued in stereo only. Ruben & the Jets, of course, also spawned the highly-desirable second Zappa Aussie single: Deseri/Jellyroll Gumdrops (Verve VS 11 - note the extraneous 's' on Drops!). While not quite as elusive as It Can't Happen Here, perhaps, this is by no means a common item - expect to pay around $40 for the single and up to $60 for a pristine copy of Ruben. Significantly, it would be 10 years before a third FZ single, Dancin' Fool/Baby Snakes (CBS BA 222576), was issued in Australia (although Cosmik Debris/Don't Eat the Yellow Snow (Reprise RS 1312) did show up in New Zealand in 1974). Although Zappa's next US release was, chronologically speaking, the Uncle Meat double set, this was preceded in Australia, Britain and most other countries by Mothermania, Frank's only officially-sanctioned 'Best of' set and the final 'contractual obligation' album he owed to MGM. While Mothermania is not generally considered a major rarity in Europe or America, the Aussie issue (Verve V6 5068) is surprisingly hard to find and, along with Money, is possibly the most elusive of the Verve LPs. But this is far from just another greatest hits package. Featured here are several versions, mixes and/or edits of songs from the first three Mothers LPs which were, at the time, unavailable elsewhere. Mother People, for example, is the full, uncensored mono version (Zappa apparently didn't have time to remix a stereo version) complete with the infamous 'backwards' line mentioned above (although, obviously, it's the right way around here). Due to the removal of the spoken middle section and sound effects passages, The Idiot Bastard Son is slightly shorter than on WOIIFTM, while It Can't Happen Here has a different ending to the Freak Out version. Call Any Vegetable appears without the long guitar solo middle section (Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin) and although all three parts of Duke of Prunes are present, only the main theme is listed on the sleeve.

These anomalies apply to all issues of Mothermania. The Australian version arrived in a non-gatefold sleeve (natch!), but instead of creating new artwork for the back cover - as they did in Britain, where this LP was also issued (three times, no less) in a single sleeve - the Oz release simply reproduced the liner notes from the back of the US album which, as everyone knows, were almost completely in German! Curiously, although the advert for the (supposedly) upcoming Uncle Meat movie was removed, the only other English language section of the liner notes, advertising the first three MOI LPs (including, of course, the unreleased-in-Australia Freak Out), remained. The aforementioned mammoth sleeve credit is also present, along with what were then three new additions to the Phonogram stable: Buddah, Kama Sutra and Riverside. Expect to pay up to $70 for an unplayed copy of Mothermania.

Before moving on to the Bizarre/Reprise era albums, we should take a look at some of the more interesting Verve compilations which appeared here during the early 70s. Perhaps the most desirable of these is the 1973 release titled, simply, The Mothers of Invention (Metro 2355 025). Although sharing its track listing with the 1970 US LP of the same name (MGM GAS 112), this Australian-only release has an infinitely superior sleeve design. The full colour front cover shot originates from the same photo session that produced the German My Guitar single picture sleeve and the more recent Hungry Freaks bootleg picture disc, but is different to both. The back cover features an earlier black and white shot of the Mothers during their Free period and, once again, pointlessly lists catalogue numbers for the three MOI albums. In terms of desirability, this collection easily rates alongside any of the high-priced European early 70s compilations (Pregnant etc), and while not exactly impossible to find, copies in anything approaching mint condition should sell for at least $75. Other Australasian Verve repackages include the ever-popular Pop History series. Polydor issued dozens of these German-designed monstrosities around the world during the early 70s, including several by MGM artists (Velvet Underground, Eric Burdon etc) whose back catalogue they had picked up in 1971. Zappa, of course, didn't escape the treatment and in 1972 the double set Pop History Vol. 6 (Polydor 2625 012) appeared in New Zealand. Featuring the same gruesome cover art common to the entire series, together with a crudely cut-out Mothermania front sleeve photo, this album has little to distinguish it from the European version - save for the designation (Vol. 6) and the fact that the records are inserted from the inside centre of the sleeve, an idiosyncrasy peculiar to New Zealand. In Australia however, the same LP was issued with the more familiar Pop History Vol. 7 title. This was, of course, just a single LP (albeit with the same catalogue number as the NZ double) utilizing sides one and four only. By the way, anyone ever seen a Mothers' Pop History which doesn't spell 'Invocatian' incorrectly on the back sleeve? Ridiculously, in an attempt to emphasise what Polydor obviously saw as the Mothers', ahem, 'wacky' image, the ersatz Picture frame which borders the front cover was shown broken into several pieces! Hey, are these guys crazy, or what?

This was also released in New Zealand, if not Australia, as the double LP compilation Mother's Day (MGM 2624 003). By moving the track listing and eliminating most of the artwork, what once formed part of the inside sleeve was juggled around to make the black and white back cover of the NZ version issued in a drastically truncated single sleeve this has to be one of the rarest and most desirable Australasian Zappa releases of all, with mint copies selling for as much as $100. The only other album containing Verve material to be issued in Australia was the various artists double set Underground (Polydor 184190/91). Compared to most other early Oz/NZ issues, this one escaped virtually unscathed and has little to distinguish it from the original German release it was based on. The one full side of Mothers' material sits uncomfortably alongside tracks by Hendrix, Cream and the Velvet Underground on an album that must have seemed like a good idea to someone, at the time.

The Bizarre/Reprise Years

In contrast to the dog's breakfast that was the Verve catalogue, Zappa's Bizarre/Reprise albums - save for the inevitable crop of sleeve idiosyncrasies and the occasional outbreak of censorship here and there - appeared in Australia pretty much as Frank intended. Although the Verve LPs Ruben & the Jets and Mothermania had already carried the Bizarre logo on their sleeves, the first official release on the FZ-owned label was, of course, the Uncle Meat double set (although outside North America, it should be noted, the Bizarre material was handled by the Warner Bros offshoot Reprise). Issued towards the end of 1969 in a heavily-laminated gatefold sleeve (but with no sign of the booklet which accompanied early US copies), Uncle Meat (Reprise 2MS 2024 - also issued in New Zealand as 2RS 2024) nevertheless suffered badly at the hands of the Australian censors, who imposed no less than six 'modifications' on the following spoken-word tracks: The Voice of Cheese, Our Bizarre Relationship and "If We'd All Been Living in California ...". Such petty constraints aside though, Uncle Meat did, at least, look the part - which is a lot more than can be said for the Oz version of Hot Rats (Reprise RS 6356). With a laminated single sleeve, Zappa's watershed second solo album cleverly used what was, on the regular release, the inside right gatefold section as its back cover. Although this reduction seriously altered the symmetry of the entire sleeve, it did, however, mean that the legendary black and white Zapped photo (see below) of Frank was there on the back for all to see.

In New Zealand, meanwhile, cover flaps were still very much in vogue and early pressings of their non-gatefold Hot Rats (Reprise RS 6356) not only came equipped as such, but the heavily-laminated back cover was also printed in good old black and white. The same fate awaited the original NZ issue of Burnt Weeny Sandwich (Reprise RS 6370) which, apart from its sturdy cover flaps, also featured a somewhat smaller, strictly monochrome version of the "God! this is a tasty little sucker!" rear cover photo. The Australian pressing (Reprise RS 6370), by contrast, boasted a full-colour gatefold sleeve, with only the high-gloss finish giving any hint as to country of origin. Moving swiftly on past Weasels Ripped My Flesh (Reprise MS 2028) and Chunga's Revenge (Reprise MS 2030) which, the ubiquitous glossy covers aside, appeared in Australia more or less unaltered (although, in New Zealand Weasels [RS 2028] apparently featured a smaller back cover photo), we arrive at the live Flo & Eddie extravaganza Fillmore East, June 1971 (Reprise MS 2042). Not only was heavy lamination the order of the day here (thus, presumably, negating the whole point of the primitive bootleg-style artwork?), but a wonderful schoolboy-style howler on the label changed the opening Little House I Used to Live in to the distinctly more Australian-flavoured Little House I Used to Stay in! Hard on the heels of Fillmore East came the double LP soundtrack to Zappa's first feature-length movie, the synapse-shredding 200 Motels (United Artists SUAL 934326/7). As often happens with soundtrack albums, it appeared on a label other than the one which normally handled Frank's releases - in this case United Artists. Unfortunately for Zappa, UA was at that time part of the giant Australian-owned Festival Records conglomerate which, perhaps more than any other Oz label of the time, was notorious for adopting a high moral stance in the face of any kind of perceived subversive behaviour by those long-haired, limp-wristed, pinko rock star types.

In retrospect, 200 Motels must have been Festival's worst nightmare come true. For a start, they probably didn't understand a single word (or note) of what was going on here. Even so, with song titles like Shove It Right in, Half a Dozen Provocative Squats and Penis Dimension they must have realised something was going on and whatever it was, they decided that they didn't particularly like it. Accordingly, several naughty words were unceremoniously expunged from Lonesome Cowboy Burt, Redneck Eats and Shove It Right in. As for the aforementioned Penis Dimension, well, Festival clearly couldn't come to terms with this one at all and so decided the safest thing was to delete the entire track!

Around this time, the thorny issue of censorship was taken up by the late, lamented Aussie rock weekly Go-Set. Under the bold headline "Zappa LP Ripoff" the magazine carried the following strongly-worded (if barely- literate) editorial in their June 17, 1972 issue (only the grammar/punctuation has been cleaned up to protect the innocent):

"Whatever you do don't buy the local pressing of Frank Zappa's 200 Motels - if you do you'll only be getting half the story. Yes, the boys have censored old Uncle Frank again. You may recall how Only In It for Ths Money (sic) was cut to pieces and I Really Fucked Up In Europe (sic - the actual title is The Voice of Cheese) by Suzy Creamcheese was wiped off Uncle Meat. Those with longer memories will remember Bloody Red Baron (sic - the actual title is Snoopy vs the Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen) and Working Class Hero on Plastic Ono Band as well. Well this time our betters at the Festival Record Company have really excelled themselves - 200 Motels has no less than two (sic - actually only one) tracks with most of the pithy dialogue neatly removed. This is becoming a disturbing trend in Australia - the voluntary censorship of records by local companies before pressing them and putting them on the market. It is a disgrace to think that a company supposed to be involved in a creative industry is so small-minded and chicken-shit. The best way to serve notice on these people that we've had enough of this crap is to completely boycott the record. Who'd want it when so much is missing anyway? Import copies are available at most of the usual record shops around town. There is a book and poster with the US version, so you can see the economy drives at present operating in the Australian record industry and you can see where they're saving at your expense. Vote with your pocket. Leave this record where it belongs - in the warehouses of the record company. They might dig half a record - there's no reason they should force you to do the same."

Strong words indeed - not that they achieved very much, mind you. Perhaps because they weren't answerable to an overseas parent company in quite the same way that EMI, CBS (now Sony), Phonogram and the other Australian record companies obviously are, Festival blithely continued to censor records indiscriminately for many years after the 200 Motels debacle (as anyone who subsequently bought copies of Ian Dury's New Boots & Panties or Marianne Faithfull's Broken English will testify). Paradoxically, twenty-four years down the track, overseas collectors are now keen to pay $50 or more for clean copies of the censored Aussie version of 200 Motels. How does that old proverb go? "It's an ill wind ..."

The final item of interest to surface during our trawl through the flotsam and jetsam of the Zappa Bizarre/Reprise catalogue is indeed a strange one. In America the 1969 various artists sampler Zapped (US Bizarre PRO 368) was available in two forms, each with a distinctly different sleeve and a slightly different track listing. The most common cover variation features the famous head and shoulders shot of Frank, as used on the Hot Rats sleeve, while the other sports a photocollage of several artists who had then recently released LPs on Frank's Bizarre and Straight labels - including Zappa and The Mothers, of course. Never on sale in the shops, the US version of Zapped was a (sort of) promo-only sampler featuring tracks from the likes of Captain Beefheart, GTOs, Wild Man Fischer etc., and was available only by mail-order direct from Warner Bros for the princely sum of US$1! Strange then, that in 1972, the album should appear in Australia as a full-blown commercial release! Issued with the 'Zappa' photo cover/track listing, the Oz version of Zapped (Reprise RS 5270) was issued as a mid-price release and, as such, appears to have sold reasonably well. Although copies are not especially difficult to find, the fact that Australia appears to be the only country in the world where this LP was released commercially increases the desirability factor somewhat.

With the albums Just Another Band From LA, Waka Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo appearing here more or less unaltered, the Bizarre era drew to a close and in 1973 came Overnite Sensation, the first LP for Frank's new DiscReet label. Although still distributed by Warner Bros, DiscReet actually had its own label identity world-wide, including, for once, Australia. But that, as they say, is another story.

(C) 1995 Stuart Penney

Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention - Complete Australia Discography


  • Verve V 5013 Absolutely Free (1968. Mono. Single Sleeve + Cover Flaps. MOI)
  • Verve V6 5013 Absolutely Free (1968. Stereo. Single Sleeve + Cover Flaps. MOI)
  • Verve V/V6 5013 Absolutely Free (Early 1970s Pressing. Mono/Stereo. Single Sleeve. No Cover Flaps. MOI)
  • Verve V 5045 We're Only in It for the Money (1968. Mono. Single Sleeve. MOI)
  • Verve V6 5045 We're Only in It for the Money (1968. Stereo. Single Sleeve. MOI)
  • Verve V 5055 Cruising with Ruben & the Jets (1968. Mono. Single Sleeve. MOI)
  • Verve V6 5055X Cruising with Ruben & the Jets (1968. Stereo. Single Sleeve. MOI)
  • Verve V6 5068 Mothermania (1969. Stereo. Single Sleeve. MOI)
  • Reprise 2MS 2024 Uncle Meat (1969. 2LP, Some Tracks Censored. MOI)
  • Reprise RS 6356 Hot Rats (1970. Single Sleeve. FZ)
  • Reprise RS 6370 Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970. MOI)
  • Reprise MS 2028 Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970. MOI)
  • Reprise MS 2030 Chunga's Revenge (1971. FZ)
  • Reprise MS 2042 Fillmore East - June 1971 (1971. MOI)
  • Polydor 184190/91 Underground (1972. 2LP. Various Artists. One side by MOI)
  • United Artists SUAL 934326/7 200 Motels (1972. 2LP. Some Tracks Censored & One Track Deleted. FZ)
  • Reprise RS 5270 Zapped (1972. Various Artists)
  • Reprise MS 2075 Just Another Band from LA (1972. MOI)
  • Reprise MS 2094 Waka/Jawaka - Hot Rats (1972. FZ)
  • Polydor 2625 012 Pop History Vo1.7 (1972. Single LP. MOI)
  • Reprise MS 2093 The Grand Wazoo (1973. FZ)
  • Metro 2355 025 The Mothers of Invention (1973. Compilation. MOI)
  • DiscReet MS 2149 Overnite Sensation (1973. MOI)
  • DiscReet DS 2175 Apostrophe (l974. FZ)
  • DiscReet 2DS 2202 Roxy & Elsewhere (1974. 2LP. FZ&M)
  • DiscReet DS2216 One Size Fits A1l (1975. FZ&M)
  • DiscReet DS 2234 Bongo Fury (1975. FZ/CB&M)
  • Warner Bros BS 2970 Zoot Allures (1976. FZ)
  • DiscReet 2D 2290 In New York (1978. 2LP. FZ)
  • DiscReet DSK 2291 Studio Tan (1978. FZ)
  • DiscReet DSK 2292 Sleep Dirt (1978. FZ)
  • CBS S2BP 220210 Sheik Yerbouti (1979. 2LP. With Inner Sleeves FZ)*
  • DiscReet DSK 2294 Orchestral Favourites (1979. FZ)
  • CBS SBP 237366 Joe's Garage Act I (1979. With Lyric Sheet. FZ)*
  • CBS S2BP 220222 Joe's Garage Acts II & III (1980. 2LP. With Lyric Sheet. FZ)*
  • CBS S2BP 220239 Tinseltown Rebellion (1981. 2LP. FZ)*
  • CBS S2BP 220244 You Are What You Is (1981. 2LP. With Inner Sleeves. FZ)*
  • CBS S3BP 220505 Shut Up & Play Yer Guitar (1982. 3-LP Box. With Inner Sleeves. FZ)*
  • CBS SBP 237809 Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch (1983. With Lyric Sheet.FZ)*
  • CBS SBP 237894 The Man from Utopia (1983. FZ)*
  • EMI VMP 24023412 Them Or Us (1984. 2LP. FZ)*
  • EMC 240492 Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention (1986. "European Version". FZ)*
  • EMI EME 260810 Sheik Yerbouti (1986. 2LP. Digitally Remastered Reissue. FZ)*
  • EMI EMC 240673 Jazz From Hell (1987. FZ)*

MOI - Credited to The Mothers of lnvention.
FZ - Credited to Frank Zappa.
FZ&M - Credited to Frank Zappa & The Mothers.
FZ/CB&M - Credited to Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart & The Mothers.

The following LPs were not issued in Australia: Freak Out!, Lunpy Gravy, Baby Snakes Soundtrack, LSO Vol. l, The Perfect Stranger, Thing-Fish, Francesco Zappa, The Old Masters Box 1,2 & 3, LSO Vo1.2, Guitar, Broadway the Hard Way, You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Sampler, You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Vo1. 2. See below for unissued CDs.

NB: Many of the early Zappa/MOI LPs were issued with both glossy and matt covers. Where both versions exist it can usually be safely assumed that albums with glossy covers are the earliest pressings.


  • Verve V 5122 How Could I Be Such a Fool?/Help, I'm a Rock (1966. Red & Yellow Labels. MOI)
  • Verve VS 11 Deseri/Jelly Roll Gum Drops (1968. Black & Silver Labels. MOI)
  • CBS BA 222576 Dancin' Fool/Baby Snakes (1979. FZ)*
  • CBS BA 222634 Joe's Garage/Catholic Girls (1980. FZ)*
  • CBS BA 222704 I Don't Wanna Get Drafted/Ancient Armaments (1980. FZ)*
  • CBS BA 222897 You Are What You Is/Harder than Your Husband (1982. FZ)*
  • CBS BA 222971 Valley Girl/Teenage Prostitute (1982. Picture Sleeve. FZ)*

*) Promo copies were also issued.

Related LPs

  • Reprise 2RS 6329 LENNY BRUCE - The Berkeley Concert (1968. 2LP, Different Inside Sleeve)
  • Reprise 2RS 2027 CAPTAIN BEEFHEART - Trout Mask Replica (1969. 2LP)
  • Reprise RS 6420 CAPTAIN BEEFHEART - Lick My Decals Off, Baby (1970)
  • Warner Bros WS 1874 VARIOUS - The Now Sound: 14 Hits from the Unnderground (1970. Inc. 1 Mothers' Track)
  • Warner Bros WS 1883 ALICE COOPER - Love It to Death (1971. Single Sleeve)
  • Warner Bros BS 2631 TIM BUCKLEY - Greetings from LA (1972. Single Sleeve)
  • DiscReet MS 2157 TIM BUCKLEY - Sefronia (1973)
  • DiscReet MS 2168 KATHY DALTON - Amazing (1973)
  • DiscReet DS 2201 TIM BUCKLEY - Look at the Fool (1974)
  • DiscReet DS 2203 TED NUGENT - Tooth Fang & Claw (1974)

Compact Discs

The following compact discs were manufactured in Australia:

  • Rykodisc D30373 Zoot Allures (1990)
  • Rykodisc D30374 Just Another Band from LA (1990)
  • Rykodisc D30375 Sheik Yerbouti (1990)
  • Rykodisc D30376 Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1990)
  • Rykodisc D30377 Chunga's Revenge (1990)
  • Rykodisc D30378 You Are What You Is (1990)
  • Rykodisc D30379 Tinseltown Rebellion (1990)
  • Rykodisk D30380 Fillmore East - June 1971 (1990)
  • Rykodisc D31036 Apostrophe/Overnite Sensation (1990)
  • Rykodisc D70277/8 Joe's Garage Acts I,II & III (2CD 1987)
  • Rykodisc D70287/8 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Vol. 3 (1989. 2CD)
  • Rykodisc D70289/90 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Vo1. 4 (1991. 2CD)
  • Rykodisc D70293/4 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Vo1. 5 (1992. 2CD)
  • Rykodisc D70295/6 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymsre Vo1. 6 (1992. 2CD)

The following US-made compact discs were officially imported into Australia by Festival Records and stickered with new catalogue numbers:

  • Rykodisc D40703 London Symphony Orchestra (1986)
  • Rykodisc D40704 Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention (1986)
  • Rykodisc D40705 We're Only in It for the Money/Lumpy Gravy (1986)
  • Rykodisc D40707 The Grand Wazoo (1986)
  • Rykodisc D40708 Them or Us (1986)
  • Rykodisc D70275/6 Shut Up & Play Yer Guitar (2CD 1986)
  • Rykodisc D70273/4 Thing-Fish (2CD 1986)
  • Rykodisc D40709 Jazz from Hell (1987)
  • Rykodisc D40723 Freak Out (1987)
  • Rykodisc D40724 Cruising with Ruben & the Jets (1987)
  • Rykodisc D40725 Hot Rats (1987)
  • Rykodisc D70279/80 Uncle Meat (2CD 1987)
  • Rykodisc D70281/2 Guitar (2CD 1988)
  • Rykodisc D70283/4 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Vol. l (2CD 1988)
  • Rykodisc D70285/6 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Vo1. 2 (2CD 1988)
  • Rykodisc D40734 Waka/Jawaka - Hot Rats (1989)
  • Rykodisc D40733 Absolutely Free (1989)
  • Rykodisc D40735 One Size Fits All (1989)
  • Rykodisc D40736 Broadway the Hard Way (1989)
  • Rykodisc D40737 Bongo Fury (1989)

All other CDs were imported into Australia and appeared with their original US Or UK Catalogue numbers.

Important New Zealand Releases


  • Verve V/V6 5005 Freak Out (1967. Mono/Stereo, 2LP. Blue Labels)
  • Verve V/V6 5045 We're Only In It For The Money (1968. Mono/Stereo. B&W Inside Gatefold)
  • Verve V/V6 8741 Lumpy Gravy (1968. Mono/Stereo)
  • Reprise 2RS 2024 Uncle Meat (1969. 2LP)
  • Reprise RS 6356 Hot Rats (1970. Single Sleeve. Different Black & White Back Cover)
  • Reprise RS 6370 Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970. Single Sleeve. Black & White Back Cover)
  • Reprise RS 2028 Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970. Different Back Cover)
  • Reprise MS 2075 Just Another Band From LA (1972. Single Sleeve)
  • Polydor 2625 012 Pop History Vol. 6 (1972. 2LP)
  • MGM 2624 003 Mother's Day (1972. 2LP In Single Sleeve. Different Back Cover)
  • DiscReet RS 2175 Apostrophe (1974. Black & White Back Cover)
  • EMI EMC 277 Sheik Yerbouti (1986. 2LP. Digitally Remastered)


  • Reprise RS 1312 Cosmik Debris/Don't Eat The Yellow Snow (1974)

Related LP

  • Reprise 2RS 6332 WILD MAN FISCHER - An Evening With Wild Man Fischer (1969 2LP)

NB: This is not a complete NZ discography.

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