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Frank Zappa The Mothers of Invention: Over-Nite Sensation album cover
4.02 | 745 ratings | 53 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Camarillo Brillo (3:59)
2. I'm the Slime (3:34)
3. Dirty Love (2:58)
4. Fifty-Fifty (6:09)
5. Zomby Woof (5:10)
6. Dinah-Moe Humm (6:01)
7. Montana (6:35)

Total Time 34:26

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / guitar, vocals, conductor, arranger & producer
- George Duke / keyboards, synthesizer
- Ian Underwood / flute, clarinet, alto & tenor saxophones
- Bruce Fowler / trombone
- Sal Marquez / trumpet, vocals (6)
- Jean-Luc Ponty / violin & baritone violin
- Tom Fowler /bass
- Ralph Humphrey / drums
- Ruth Underwood / percussion, marimba, vibes

- Ricky Lancelotti / vocals (4,5)
- Kin Vassy / vocals (2,6,7)
- Tina Turner & The Ikettes (uncredited) / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: David McMacken

LP Discreet ‎- MS 2149 (1973, US)

CD Rykodisc ‎- RCD 10518 (1995, US) Remastered by Bernie Grundman & Bob Stone
CD Zappa Records ‎- ZR 3850 (2012, US) From original 1973 analog master

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Buy FRANK ZAPPA The Mothers of Invention: Over-Nite Sensation Music

FRANK ZAPPA The Mothers of Invention: Over-Nite Sensation ratings distribution

(745 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

FRANK ZAPPA The Mothers of Invention: Over-Nite Sensation reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars This is the other complete classic and crowd fave Zappa and Mothers (second incarnation) 70's album along with Sheik Yerbouti, outside the Hot Rats series especially in those years. .Indeed, Overnight Sensation is maybe the Zappa album that got the most radio airplay and almost every song is a classic known by a wide public. Coming with an impressive cartoon gatefold artwork, this album is probably the start of a new era for Francesco's Mommies, as after The Grand Wazoo, Frank comes back to a more concise and less ambitious songwriting and lyrics-wise, the humour comes back to the forefront and becomes really smutty and a tad scatological, although there is much worse to come. This album's radio time was mostly due to the request of male sex-hungry teenagers not tiring of Zappa's delirium and lunacy, which is exactly what Frank was hoping for. The Mother's line-up is one of the most impressive with Duke, Ponty, the Underwoods spouses and the Fowler brothers.

's are unaware of tracks like Camarillo Brillo, I'm The Slime, Dirty Love and Dinah Moe Humm, all radio-classics of the 70's, even years after their release. Little surprise that the latter three songs owe much of their fame to the overtly sexual-oriented lyrics that were over-played by post-puberty and under-experienced young males. The lesser-known tracks like Zombi Woof, Montana and Fifty-Fifty are only half successful, which for the latter isn't much surprising, but they don't deface the album's accessibility to a wide public.

A rather short album (well-short of the 40-mins mark), but definitely a crowd and fan favourite, I find OS a bit too easy to receive my full seal of approval, but it remains a candidate for an entry in my top 10 Zappa albums, should I ever have the courage to start weighing his immense discography.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is very accessible. The songs are quite funny. I'm the slime vocals started his famous central scrutinizer on "Joe's Garage". Lots of vocals on this record. "Fifty Fifty's" lead voice is hysterical. The songs are quite complex despite accessibility. I like the combination of percussions, female vocals and fast keyboards ("Zomby Woof"). Guitars, brass, percussion, tons of vocals, bass, drums, keyboards, everything is omnipresent and well played!
Review by loserboy
4 stars You know, one thing you can never really have enough of is the music of Frank ZAPPA ...of course he is an acquired taste. "Over-nite Sensation" marks Frank's 7th official recording, and followed his classic album "Hot Rats". "Over-nite" is a wonderful album with some incredible instrumentation and complex song writing. Time signatures and moods are chopped up throughout working in vintage ZAPPA style. Jean Luc PONTY adds his distinctive violin aspects to the music while the "Mothers" fill in the rest and of yes of course loads of ZAPPA's crazed lyrics and excellent screaming guitar solos. This album really marked for Frank his first in a series of rock-jazz-horn-reed based albums and really helped set the stage for his later released. A great album!

Review by lor68
4 stars This is the beginning of the so called "New Era" for F. ZAPPA: such an accessible stuff, enriched with a lot of sexual references and bizarre features of "depravity" as well... otherwise it demonstrates also his ability in telling a story, by means of his particular music language! Moreover by regarding of his killer guitar solos and other stunning examples of some violin solos by Jean Luc PONTY, it isn't difficult to fall in love with this album.

Recommended, also for his sociological tough satire!!

Review by daveconn
4 stars Somehow, FRANK ZAPPA found a way on "Overnite Sensation" to package his oddball humor and complex arrangements into a commercially palatable package. It was the first ZAPPA album to go gold, and contained songs (like "Montana") that could actually be played on FM radio without frightening away listeners. For this reason, AMG rightly refers to this as a "watershed album." It marked a clear and conscious departure from the complex, often orchestral jazz rock of earlier efforts like "Hot Rats" and "The Grand Wazoo", succinctly summing up the traits that made ZAPPA so special: the brilliant guitar leads, luminous contributions from fellow artists (Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke, Ruth Underwood), and the perverse sense of humor. Because folks who might not ordinarily buy this album did, some were shocked to hear lyrics about bestiality ("Dirty Love"), orgasms ("Dinah Moe Humm"), and a Mexican witch who just happens to be breeding a dwarf ("Camarillo Brillo"). However, longtime listeners were used to this sort of thing; after all, is anything on here less tasteful than "Magdalena" or "The Mud Shark?" If the material is a little off color, Frank delivers it in a good-humored growl more mischievous than menacing. What's most impressive about "Overnite Sensation" is that so much music finds its way into these six-minute tunes without bursting the confines of the standard lyric rock song. The band's ability to start a track like "Zomby Woof" in a relatively straightforward manner, veer off into extracurricular melodies and solos, and then bounce back to find the original structure still intact is amazing. Some might argue that Underwood, Duke and Ponty are given limited roles in these arrangements, but all the better to hear Frank's guitar burn up the place on "Dirty Love" and "I'm The Slime." "Overnite Sensation" is probably the most accessible entry point for adventurous rock fans to approach the work of FRANK ZAPPA. The guitarist himself was obviously pleased with his newfound ability to write in a more concise format, and continued in this idiom for the remainder of the decade, relegating his experimental side to his unreleased leviathan, Lather (which escaped in drips and drabs over the '70s and '80s).
Review by Proghead
4 stars I remember as a teenager in 1989 listening to the Doctor Demento show and he would play some ZAPPA. Amongst these songs played were "Dirty Love", "I'm the Slime" and "Montana". These three songs alone are featured on this album from 1973. In 1994 some hippie type from Eugene, Oregon that I was friends with for a few months simply gave me the LP (it was a later print on the Reprise label, not the original on DiscReet). Basically at this point, the MOTHERS only existed as name only. Ian Underwood who was with the MOTHERS since 1967 is on this album, but he's hardly noticed here. The MOTHERS simply became ZAPPA with whoever he can find at the time. "Over-Nite Sensation" became his most accessible album at that point, he decided to stick with music, probably in reaction to the bathroom humor albums he did with the Flo & Eddie lineup ("Fillmore East", June 1971 and Just Another Band From L.A.), and the two big band jazz/fusion albums he did in '72 ("Waka/Jawaka", "The Grand Wazoo"), probably to sell a few more copies.

No doubt the best songs on here are the ones I heard on the Doctor Demento Show. I have made a joke had ZAPPA still lived past 1993, he could have re-written "Montana" to go something like this: "Moving to Montana to join a right-wing militia group". OK, so the words don't exactly fit in with the song, but back around the mid '90s, Montana was getting media attention for being a hotbed of militia activity, so I couldn't help but think of the ZAPPA song, and altered lyrics. The actual song of course, went something like "Moving to Montana soon/gonna be a dental floss tycoon". The song is pure silly, referring to how some idiot is going to move to Montana to grow dental floss bushes. Sounds like he's poking fun at ignorant people here. Then there's "Dinah-Moe Humm", which seems to be a song about taking a bet with a prostitute. What's really silly is there's no such thing as a 40 dollar bill (which was used as a bet). Then there's "I'm the Slime" poking fun at the mindless drivel emanating from the television (ZAPPA should see how pathetic television became in 2003, where in '73 you're lucky to have three channels, and only a few had cable). He basically treates the television as a brainwashing tool. Certainly this album alienated some of his old fans from the original MOTHERS, but if you enjoy a more humorous ZAPPA, you're sure to enjoy this album.

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If anyone asks me where to start with ZAPPA (which, to be honest, never happens), this and "Sheik Yerbouti" are my usual first choices. The opening strains of "Camarillo Brillo" are some of Frank's most accessible sounds, letting him slip temporarily into Warren Zevon/ Randy Newman territory. It's an evocative and nostalgic sound, as west-coast 70s as THE EAGLES or any other band that had weathered the previous decade's schizophrenic psychedelic excesses and discovered more comfortable, sun-drenched property. The song may not provide as much humor or commentary (or musical skill) as others in his discography, but it is by no means a surrender. "I am the Slime" is more like; television takes a well-deserved beating, and I like Frank's voice best when it does the sleazy deep spoken thing. With Tina Turner and the Ikettes taking the place of Flo and Eddie, you might expect an increased soulfulness. A minor complaint: I wish the wah guitar had been a little more full-sounding, as the intro and the jam at the end is great. "Dirty Love" is a textbook example of weird Zappa sex, including the ongoing poodle imagery, but doesn't really stand out as much for me as it might for a ZAPPA initiate. Ricky Lancelotti's vocal take on the carnival-jazz of "Fifty-fifty" is interesting, and the ambivalent tone of the lyrics makes this an curious character piece- but again, this is not on my list of top FZ tracks. The violin solo, however, delivers all the blazing Ponty action you could hope for, and the brief unison section with the guitar is pure prog- as is the intro to "Zombie Woof". A fun and funky boogie man song, the sound metamorphs constantly through various jerky sections: lighthearted fusion, circus keyboards, heavy guitar wailing (the solo is perhaps a bit long), and funky clavinet syncopation. "Dinah-moe-humm" is an unforgettable classic- Frank's signature sex piece (for the time being, anyway). Has anyone had the brilliant idea of playing this and Barry White back to back? This single song inpsired legions of funny-dirty- underground musicians (ah, so this is the connection between Warren Zevon and Dr. Dirty) and therefore provided a soundtrack for legions of giggling high school boys. I'll bet it sounded great on 8-track, too. Finally, "Montana" lampoons the back-to-basics outlaw homesteading urge, and therefore is just as relevant in this era (stick the word 'militia' in there and bob's your uncle). The bad news? The chipmunk voices wear on me a bit, and it doesn't feel like a worthy climax to this classic album, although riding off towards the horizon is a good image to close with.

Final summation: classic and essential ZAPPA; Sure, there's better ZAPPA albums, but this one is a great start and you'll have to get it eventually.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After the jazzy works of Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo, Zappa released this album, which is nothing like it's predecessors. What you'll find here is a more commercial album, and it certainly is in the vein of Gentle Giant's music in that it has complicated and cohesive riffs and licks that are kept within the 6:30 time frame. Zappa's guitar and vocal work on this album is nothing short of awesome. As with the lyrics and concepts of the songs, I think it was a predecessor to the sexually induced works of his later years (I Have Been In You, etc.). His ensemble of musicians is nothing short of breathtaking, with the return of the masterful Jean-Luc Ponty and the sheer brilliance of George Duke.

The album begins with the fan favorite Camarillo Brillo, which is a tale of a sexual encounter with a poncho-wearing gypsy of sorts. The riffs are catchy and complex, the lyrics are punchy and are humorous, it all adds up to brilliance. I'm the Slime has Zappa at his "dirtiest" with suave spoken vocals in the beginning turning into a memorable chorus, again the riffs are catchy and the lyrics are sublime. Dirty Love is only one thing, filler. I feel it disrupts the flow of this album and it could have been done without the song. Fifty- Fifty has some interesting musical concepts, but I feel that the song goes nowhere around the 4th minute. It could have been cut down to about a 4:30 song easily. Zomby Woof is a bizarre tune that, again, could have been edited a bit. Other than that, the song is actually quite good and is very well-crafted. Dinah-Moe Humm could possibly be the best song on the album, with catchy and punchy keyboards, blatant and undeniably funny lyrics, and some of the best Zappa vocal/guitar works ever crafted. Montana closes the album, and other than some catchy riffs here and there, there isn't much to expect from this song, rather straightforward.

Overall, this album that was released between the superb Grand Wazoo and the commercially successful Apostrophe is hit and miss with me. I like about half of the album and feel that those songs are superb. Other than that, I can deal without. 3/5.

Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Frank Zappa was always a pioneer in the realm of distinctive avant-garde music. On this release, the listener hears a more commercial Zappa, a phase that pretty much started with this album. Gone are the elaborate orchestrated suitesThis album, while it is more commercial, is still very good. The humor is still there and musicianship is excellent, as always. Now, on to the review.

The album starts out with the extremely catchy tune, "Camarillo Brillo." The usual Zappa humor is still there. Next comes "I'm the Slime," a funky song that starts out with Zappa's deep voice and then builds up to the catchy chorus. Next, comes a great guitar solo by the man himself. "Dirty Love," another catchy number, is not as quite as strong as the two previous numbers, but is still good and also features another guitar solo. "Fifty-Fifty" is one of my favorites on the album. It has a jazzy, uptempo shuffle feel and an incredible keyboard solo by George Duke. Jean-luc Ponty takes over after the keyboard solo, proving that he truly is a violin virtuoso. Next, Zappa presents the listener with another outstanding guitar solo. The song then goes back to the shuffle feel. It definitely is one of the highlights of the album.

"Zoomby Woof" is another Zappa classic. It maintains the complexity of the earlier Zappa outputs, while clearly showing that Zappa was moving forward in his career. "Dinah-Moe Humm" abounds in Zappa-esque humor. It is an obvious attempt at sexual humor, and for the most part, it works, although some might find it a bit offensive. "Montana" is the last track on the album. It's a good closure to the album, but not the best overall.

This album is a great one for any person interested in getting into Frank Zappa's works. It is accessible, but still maintains the complexity of Zappa's earlier works. Every Zappa fan should own this album. It truly is an excellent addition to anyone's collection. Highly recommended, four stars!

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Zappa's first rock album (in Zappa style, of course) and one of my personal favorites overall as this was one of my first true tastes of what this man could do. The music is song oriented but always displays highly creative arrangements and entertaining lyrics, but the real treat here got to be the musicianship that is probably the tightest in Zappa's bands thus far. Zappa's offbeat humor may not be for anyone but the music perfectly reflects the lyrics all the way through, creating some pretty wild avant-ish parts in the songs at times, notably in tracks like 'Zomby Woof' and '50-50'. Otherwise, this album is very blues and rock oriented and at 34 minutes it's kinda short, but luckily with high replay value, and if you like humor of a dirtier kind then tracks like "Dinamoe-Hum" and "Dirty Love" will be right up your alley. For a prog album it's definitely not in the same league as Foxtrot or Tarkus but taking the music for what it is it's definitely one of the best albums of the 70's. 4.5 stars.
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In today's terms, this album's content both lyrically and musically would probably be seen as beyond childish perhaps almost embryonic! With so much outright vulgar music in the last few decades, this was a masterpiece of daring back in days where the Stones had to rename a song "StarStar" instead of "Star******" , where Roxy Music's Country Life album was ordered to cover up the nubile German models on the cover with dark grey plastic (which made the peeling off even more trepidating!!!) and in the end airbrushed out completely (no jerking off here) . So when Uncle Frank ,who already had a worldwide reputation as a sexual troublemaker bent on fighting (Goring) lack of freedom of expression in the still very prude USA, decided to drop his drawers and dish out "Dinah Moe Hum" , a Zappaesque vision of the "Battle of Epping Forest "or "Harold the Barrel", he showed courage and certainly foresight. In the early seventies, lyrics like "whipped of her bloomers and stiffened my thumb, applied rotation to her sugar plumb" or "I poked and stroked til my wrist got numb, but I still didn't hear no Dinah Moe Hum" was just so avant-garde , so daring, so ballsy. I remember clearly how some frustrated people called this porn rock !!! Well, "Dirty Love" was pretty blatant , what with the french poodle bit but , hey, sex, drugs and rock n roll where never better expressed than with the Mothers!!! But the music here was breathtakingly cinematographic, where coitus was sonically rendered with various percussives , Frank liberally deep throating his voice inducing "sweat on her upper lip area" , where Jean-Luc Ponty's slippery violin induced visions of orgasm and "I am the Slime from your TV set" was probably the gospel truth. This is his unabashed masterpiece mainly because it transcends all his other output, voyaged into illegal pleasures that no one else dared to attempt and made a musical monument to breaking down various barricades. All the musicians really shine though nothing is extended or even slightly proggy. Yes, pure genius. So "How 'bout you Fauna, ya wanna? " 5 dinamos
Review by hdfisch
4 stars Don't remember exactly when I heard the songs from this album the very first time; must have been around 76 right in the middle of my teenager years. But I remember very well that I've been immediately fascinated by them and I am still today 30 years later. This one was the first of a series of more accessible Zappa releases followed by "Apostrophe", "One Size Fits All", "Zoot Allures" and "Sheik Yerbouti" which I consider his most commercial one. Though the tracks on here being mostly quite catchy "Overnite Sensation" is like the following ones nonetheless an excellent album and certainly a very good starting place to get into the huge discography of this legendary musical genius. Accessibility doesn't mean here inferiority at all, actually for an exceptional and quite "mad" musician like Zappa who had been doing artistic works which are really extremely difficult to get into it's rather a positive thing. It doesn't mean as well that one has to forgo great musicianship and complex song structures, both of which are plenty to be found on here. Of course the lyrics are as usually with him x-rated, mostly about sex, but as well social criticism (as in "I'm The Slime" about tv program) or ironic (as in the parody of a country song "Montana"). Actually all the songs on here kept stuck very well in my mind though I haven't listened to this album very often during the decades. For me it's having a big time and pleasure with nice memories every time I'm puttin' it into my player (of course I own the CD version meanwhile). Not to forget mentioning the great line-up the Mothers were consisting of on this record: Jean-Luc Ponty with furious violin play, George Duke with terrific keyboards, Ian Underwood on flute, clarinet and sax, Bruce Fowler on trombone to name just a few. Finally I just can say that this one's certainly a must-have addition for any prog collection and an excellent example for a "more accessible Zappa"!
Review by 1800iareyay
4 stars Another great contribution to music from Frank Zappa. Overnight Sensation has some of the genius' best loved songs, and it's little wonder why.

"Camarillo Brillo" is hilarious with its tale of a bizarre sexual encounter. Frank's guitar leads the way through this mad tale.

"I'm the Slime" is one of Frank's most recognized songs. It deals with television's magic ability to turn people into brainless oafs who believe whatever they're told. Great solo.

"Dirty Love" is another mad and deliciously filthy song.

"Fifty-Fifty" skewers the teenage "I'm gonna be a famous rock star" dream. Ricky's screams are a satire on the howling singers of the seventies. The song features on of Zappa's best solos. Jean-Luc Ponty also stands out with his violin work.

"Zomby Woof" is a catchy piece that brings his classical instrument to the forefront.

"Dinah-Moe-Humm" is one of the most brazen songs ever recorded. If I were to describe the lyrical content of this song I would probably be banned from the site for vulgarity. This song is hysterically funny; I laughed 'til I cried when I first heard it.

"Montana" is another signature Zappa tune with its wacky lyrics about an aspiring dental floss grower.

This is a superb album that ranks among the higher end of Frank's incredible output. Highly recommended.

Grade: B+

Review by Chicapah
4 stars Frank Zappa has to be considered the best rock bandleader in history because he never failed to surround himself with the cream of the crop and produce music that was not only complex but also exhilarating at the same time. But the big attraction for me was Frank's overriding satiric wit and his uncanny ability to lampoon his own generation. I remember going to the record store with my buddy Glenn sometime in 1967 where he bought "Freak Out" by the Mothers of Invention and I bought the debut of Buffalo Springfield. I thought Glenn's album was too weird and he thought my album was too tame. Nonetheless, despite my naive reservations I kept Zappa in the corner of my ear, sampling his underground concoctions from time to time. Then, in 1973, Frank and The Mothers suddenly started getting FM airplay with this album. He didn't sell out; it's just that the music on "Over-nite Sensation" was accessible enough for the public at large to digest and that allowed his humorous observations to finally break through.

In order to fully appreciate his genius you have to keep in mind that southern California harbors some of the strangest mindsets in the known world and Zappa was born and fully immersed in that eccentric corner of mankind. (I lived there for almost 3 years in the late 70s and will never forget the crazy but loveable characters I met.) With that in mind it's no wonder that people's preoccupation with sex is a major theme in three of the songs. "Camarillo Brillo" takes on would-be mystics who just want to be seductresses with lyrics like "She said she was a magic mama/and she could throw a mean Tarot." "Dirty Love" assails kinky fantasies that can even involve Poodles, crooning "Give me your dirty love/like a pink donation/to the dragon in your dreams." And there's the ultimate groupie epic "Dinah-Moe Hum" in which she challenges the rock star with the offer that can't be refused. Despite the scandalous subject matter it must be pointed out that not one single curse or filthy word is uttered on this album. Everything is conveyed by innuendo, which is funnier by far, and it certainly frustrated the censors no end.

The ever-popular television medium gets a punch in the gut on "I'm the Slime" where Frank intones devilishly "I may be vile and pernicious/but you can't look away/I make you think I'm delicious/with the stuff that I say." On "Fifty-fifty" he employs some guy named Ricky Lancelotti to make fun of self-important, opinionated rock and roll idols as he rasps "I figure the odds be fifty-fifty/I just might have something to say." (Some things never change.) On "Zomby Woof" our seemingly insatiable need to be frightened by imaginary monsters fuels inspired lines like "I might snatch you up screamin' through the window all nekkid and do it to you up on the roof" because he's "Telling you all the Zomby troof/here I'm is/the Zomby Woof!" And, last but not least, it seemed that the aim of a lot of delusional dead-end-job employees living in the city at that time was to leave the hectic urban life behind and relocate to the rustic countryside and get back to nature. "Montana" still makes me laugh out loud with absurd statements like "Well, I just might grow me some bees" and "By myself I wouldn't have no boss/but I'd be raisin' my lonely dental floss" thereby becoming a "mental toss flycoon." Priceless!

Beneath all this keen satire, though, lies a bedrock of great performances by some of the best musicians of that day. On "Fifty-fifty," for example, George Duke turns in a terrific organ solo and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty shines brightly. Frank, of course, tears it up frequently with his madman guitar leads that defy interpretation or analysis. You can also tell that everybody involved is having a grand old time. So, if you need a break from prog bands who sometimes take themselves and life way too seriously, look no further than Mr. Zappa and his fun-loving yet talented friends who had a ball razzing society's obvious hypocrisies while constructing a classic album.

Review by Chris H
3 stars Frank's 1973 project, "Over-Nite Sensation", is truly his first taste of releasing commercially-appealing music. A relatively short album compared to his longer and more experimental works, this still has a ton of bang for it's buck. One of my very first Zappa albums, this still sounds clean and crisp every time I listen to it. However, the downside is that there is almost no traces of his earlier musical genius here. Albums like "We're Only In It For The Money" and "Waka/Jawaka" had at least some method behind the madness, while this just has music. Nothing more, just plain and simple songs.

"Camarillo Brillo" is a delightful little, almost pop music, song that has some fast rhythms and occasional guitar flare-ups and is very commercially appealing. "I'm The Slime" follows, and the commercial music train keeps rolling on. This song, which talks about the effects of watching too much television, doesn't feature any of the recognizable riffs that have filled Zappa's music up until this point. The riffs makes a return in "Fifty- Fifty", which features 4 minutes of the guitar bliss that we missed from Zappa in the first two tracks. However it is challenging enough to make it to the music section with Ricky Lancelotti's vocals making you want to tear your hair out. The vocals worked nice on "Wonderful Wino", but they completely kill the opening and ending of this song. "Zomby Woof" follows, and this is one of the most popular songs Zappa has ever done. If you asked 100 random people to name a Zappa song, I'm sure "Zomby Woof" would pop up a few times. One of the two great songs off of the album, in my opinion. This is the first taste of the "classic" Zappa sound, what with the excellent riffs and singing. "Dinah-Moe Humm" is completely pointless, the cliché Frank Zappa song about sex that must be included on all albums. Once again, no great guitar work kills the song. "Montana" is the perfect song to end the album, as it is the only song to feature a Zappa solo that lasts over 30 seconds. One of Zappa's best post-Chunga solos, this brigs the two sections of the song together and really makes it gel. Best song off of the album, hands down.

Overall, nobody can argue that this album is made up of seven awesome commercially successful songs. But of course, Zappa fans expect more that un-inspired commercially aimed songs. Zappa fans want musical genius around every corner, whether it comes in the form of singing, lyrics, or solos. This album does no justice to the excellent "The Grand Wazoo" that came before it.

3 stars, great for anybody but Zappa fans should do better than this.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Zappa's most commercial sounding record up to this point, and it would also be his best selling album to this point in time as well. Frank seems to have had sex on the brain when he recorded this (haha).

It starts with a story about a strange sexual encounter, where our subject seems preoccupied with her poncho. "I'm The Slime" would at first glance seem to be about sex, but the slime in question are the TV shows. Nice guitar solo to end the song. Yes, "Dirty Love" is about sex. "Fifty Fifty" is one of my favourites on this record. The crazy lead vocals are from Ricky Lancelotti. Jean-Luc Ponty graces us with some violin and Frank's guitar solos are fantastic. "Zomby Wolf" has some beautiful instrumental passages,from the horns to the guitar. Nice. Oh, it's about sex. "Dinah-Moe Humm" is a little over the top. A very sexually explicit song that sort of makes me cringe when I hear it. "Montana" is such a perfect Zappa tune. My favourite on the album and the funniest, with some xylophone and great vocals. I love the guitar 2 minutes in as well.

Perhaps a good place to start for the Zappa uninitiated as this is very accessible music with a lot of sex.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars This is one of only two Frank Zappa albums I own, and I get the impression Zappa gurus don’t consider this to be one of his better albums. I really wouldn’t know – he never really appealed to me much.

The only reason I even bought this was because of the track “Montana”. I just happen to have been born in Montana, and was still living there when this album was released. Imagine my disappointment to find out Zappa didn’t have quite the same lofty view of people from that state that I did! I figured he was just a dick at the time and buried this thing at the bottom of my collection. Turns out of course that years later people like the Unibomber, the Freemen, Kyle Huff, Ted Turner, and Evel Knievel (who I once played pool with in my Grandpa’s bar while he was snotty drunk) proved that Frank Zappa was at least partially right – that state has been home to some real retards. At least I can honestly say that I never met a dental floss farmer there.

But there’s some redeeming music on this album as well. Jean-Luc Ponty’s violin wails on “Fifty-Fifty”, probably the closest Zappa came to his jazz side on this album. And “Camarillo Brillo” is a perennial favorite of Zappa fans.

“I’m the Slime” began a sort of theme with Zappa, much like Ian Anderson had with his Willy tunes, so that makes this a sort of landmark record for him in that respect. And “Zomby Woof” has some truly wicked keyboard riffs that almost defy logic at times.

So this is a pretty decent album, and probably one of the more accessible from a guy that was never really known for that. I still hardly ever play it, but surprisingly one of my kids has started getting into Zappa lately, especially the guitar since he plays one himself and can appreciate Frank’s talents there.

I can’t say this is an essential recording, not even for Frank Zappa fans. But it’s decent, so three stars is probably the right place to rate it. No recommendations though, since most Zappa fans I know are far more intimate with his catalog then I’ll ever be. Hopefully they don’t crucify me for not being among his flock of true-believers.


Review by Flucktrot
4 stars Quirky, perverted, bizarre, and usually rewarding, Over-Nite Sensation is a great combination of Zappa's weirdness and his ability to make quality music. There are just a number of things about this album that are so uniquely Zappa that they defy adequate description as well as comparison. And you know what? When something is this unique and still undeniably good, it's also a quality progressive rock album, regardless of your personal idiosyncratic definition of the genre.

The first side is generally the better of the two in my esteem. The Mothers get off to a great start, with three succinct yet irresistably catchy tunes. Unlike much of Zappa's work, these actually ROCK, with plenty of great guitar fills and very solid work by the rhythm section of Fowler and Humphries (bass and drums, respectively). And of course we have the lyrics. In Camarillo Brillo we have the unusual rhyme of the word poncho with the following line: We did it 'till we were unconcho. I don't know if this is being creative or lazy, but I have to crack a smile every time I hear it. Or we also have this line from Dirty Love: I'll ignore your cheap aroma and your little-bo-peep diploma. I'll just put you in a coma with some dirty love. Disgusting yet strangely interesting, these kinds of things litter the entire album, for better or worse.

Then we move to Fifty-Fifty, the musical version of Seinfeld: the song about nothing. That's OK, because the outrageously over-the-top vocals more than make up for the lack of deeper meaning. Pony also delivers a nice violin solo to fit with the disco beat. Zomby Woof keeps up the great music, infusing some funk and killer guitar from Zappa.

Then things begin to go downhill, as Dinah-Moe Humm is just a bit to vulgar and disgusting to keep me interested. In addition, Zappa's low, I Am the Slime voice returns and takes up way too much time--sure, it's entertaining the first time, but it gets old quickly. Montana is much less disgusting, but no less weird. At least the music is better than Dinah-Moe, with more funk. I suppose these two songs represent my Zappa limit. Most people have one, and now I know where mine is.

After listening to this album, I always ask myself, What did I just listen to? And I can only say that I listened to Zappa, and that I liked it (something I can't say about probably half of his output). Everyone should own at least some Zappa, and I would put this up there with Hot Rats on the most essential list.

Review by LiquidEternity
4 stars This is one of Zappa's more popular albums, due in part to its higher level of commercial digestibility and due in part to some of Zappa's more memorable lyrical exploits.

The first three tracks are all solid and entertaining, featuring some weird vocals here and there and some splendid guitar chops. All three are fairly upbeat--a classification that can likely be applied to the entire album here, when comparing it to previous Zappa albums. Fifty-Fifty features some screaming vocals that, as far as I have been able to find, are some of the earlier occurrences of such stylings. It works very well with the musical aim, I think, and it is not unlistenable like so many bands are who try such screaming. One of Frank's most intense guitar solos kicks in partway through the track and proves that this band is not just any common sort of angsty act.

Zomby Woof, one of Over-Nite Sensation's most catchy songs, features his usual sexually-undertoned (okay, so usually it's his usual sexually-overtoned) lyrics. Another classic jam in the middle sets up the final chorus, a melody that I find stuck in my head more often than any other Zappa tune. Dinah-Moe Hum is a live classic, I've been told, and while the music is pretty laid back and mellow, the lyrics feature some of his most explicit discussions of sex. If you enjoy Frank's twisted sense of humor, then you will certainly enjoy this song. The closing track, Montana, features some nicely progressive twists on a country song. It's hard, in truth, to dislike any song expressing the performer's desire to become a dental floss tycoon. It wraps up the album quite solidly.

In all, this is one of Frank Zappa's stronger releases. It's not even a terrible place to start, especially if you are a fan of more easily accessible prog. It gives a good taste both of the instrumental prowess of the band and the usual lyrical fare.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Over-Nite Sensation from 1973 marked a notable change in Frank Zappaīs sound and it also meant that he had his first really well selling album. Over-Nite Sensation is the first album where Frank Zappa began to show commercial potential. The avant garde and jazz/ rock parts are toned down on Over-Nite Sensation and what we get here is high energetic, funny and entertaining rock music. Of course with a lot of twists and turns as weīre used to from Frank Zappa. Hardcore avant garde fans might not find this album very entertaining but for those of us who love the silly/ humourous side of Frank Zappa this is a brilliant album.

The album is very short. The playing time is only 34:25 minutes but what sweet minutes that are. From the moment I put this album on to the moment it finishes Iīm in Frank Zappa heaven. Iīm laughing, Iīm intriguied and I canīt help singing along or playing along to the many solos that are featured on this album. Iīm one big smile when the album ends. Over-Nite Sensation is without a doubt one of the most entertaining albums I have ever heard.

The albums starts with the pop/ rock song Camarillo Brillo. Itīs a very simple song but the silly lyrics are hilarious. I'm The Slime moves into more serious territory lyric wise and the arrangements in the song is a bit more elaborate than in Camarillo Brillo. Itīs in Iīm the Slime that weīre presented with Frank Zappaīs close-mike teqniques for the first time. Something that he would use many times later on in his career. Itīs also the song where we hear the backing vocals from The Ikettes (Tina Turner, Debbie & Lynn) for the first time. Female soul singing on a Frank Zappa album. Oh yeah thatīs quite different from anything else he ever made. A great solo from Frank Zappa ends that song. Dirty Love is another song sung by Frank Zappa with a great guitar solo. A simple rocker and a live favorite. Some really dirty lyrics acompany this song. Fifty-Fifty is a great rock song which in addition to featuring the great Ricky Lancelotti on vocals also feature both an organ solo from George Duke, a guitar solo from Frank Zappa and an electric violin solo from Jean-Luc Ponty. I read an interview with Ricki Lancelotti where he said that Frank Zappa asked him to sing as crazy as possible on Fifty-Fifty and I think it shows.

Zomby Woof is one of the more challenging songs on Over-Nite Sensation and again Ricki Lancelotti absolutely shines. Great backing vocals from The Ikettes. Frank Zappa also sings on this song but itīs his outstanding guitar playing that takes the price here. What a great guitar solo. There are also some great brass arrangements and a few violin parts that contributes in making this such a special song. When I first started getting interested in Zappaīs music Zombie Woof was one of the first songs I really liked and I still like it as much today as I did then. Frank Zappa never made a song like it again IMO. Dinah-Moe Humm is another classic Frank Zappa track. The dirty lyrics of course takes the price but note the funky rythm section and the clever vocal arrangements on this one too. Montana ends the album and itīs another great track. Note the vocal arrangement in the middle section of the song. Interesting part that one. The Yippy-Ty-Os that end the song is sung by Kin Vassy.

The musicianship is outstanding on Over-Nite Sensation and Frank Zappa proves yet again that he knows how to pick the right musicians for his projects. One of the biggests assets on Over-Nite Sensation is the incredible Ricky Lancelotti on vocals. He is one of my favorite vocalists. His voice is not easily imitated. He was a very skilled musician. Full of fierce power. Seldom have I heard a singer with more attitude. Unfortunately Ricki Lancelotti refused to tour with Frank Zappa and got fired from his band after the Over-Nite Sensation recording sessions. Ricky sadly died in 1980 due to complications after a car accident.

The production is wonderful. Warm and powerful. A real seventies production.

Over-Nite Sensation is one of my favorite albums and of course it deserves 5 stars. If Iīm having a bad day I can always take out Over-Nite Sensation and itīll turn my mood around. If Iīm having a good day it will only get better if I put on Over-Nite Sensation. I only have one grudge and thatīs the fact that Wino Man with Ricki Lancelotti on vocals were not included on the original album ( or re-issues for that matter), even though it was recorded at the same sessions. Wino Man would appear a couple of years later on Zoot Allures with Zappa on vocals but the more raw version with Ricki on vocals would first see a release on The Lost Episodes album many years later. That song would have fit perfectly on Over-Nite Sensation and made the playing time just a bit longer. Over-Nite Sensation is perfect as it is though and fully deserves the 5 stars that I will rate it. For newcomers to the Zappa universe this is one of the best places to start IMO.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The seventies was certainly a golden era for Zappa and Over-Nite Sensation while up against some stiff competition in his back catalogue is one of his best albums ever. The humour in well intact while having a band of far superior musicians to early Mothers Of Invention albums. It's also by Zappa's standards a fairly accessible record. Despite its underlying complexities it comes across as an album of immediately likeable rock songs, done in his own inimitable style of course though with fusion thrown in here and there. It also happens to be one of his best albums to showcase his excellent lead guitar playing which is all over the place, none better than his extended workout on closing track Montana.

The albums short and sweet; only 34 minutes in total, nothing longer than six and a half minutes, but most tracks are Zappa classics including the hilarious though very naughty Dinah-Moe-Hum (don't play this to your Mum), the stunning complexities of Zombie Woof and his put down of rubbish Tv and the way it can be used to manipulate people with I'm The Slime.

With over 40 Zappa records in my collection Over-Nite Sensation is one of his albums I revisit most often, never tiring of the excellent songs and brilliant musicianship of one of his finest line-ups. An excellent place to start discovering the great man and an essential part of any Zappa collection.

Review by Sinusoid
2 stars Ever have that moment where one of your friends tells this ''funny'' joke and everyone surrounding that friend absolutely laughs up a storm and you just force a few ''ha-has'' to look cool even though you really don't get it. Translate that feeling to my rating for this album and you'll understand what I mean.

OVER-NITE SENSATION is much more focused on the humour rather than the music, and that's where it suffers at least in my eyes. Much of the music sounds like sleazy pop music serving no purpose other than provide a template for the funny stuff. ''Fifty Fifty'' and ''Zomby Woof'' have some instrumental workings and ''I'm the Slime'' has a nice funky riff at the beginning, but that's really about it. I find ''Dinah-Moe Humm'', ''Camarillo Brillo'' and ''Dirty Love'' to be completely useless musically.

I'm not laughing and I'm not impressed. OVER-NITE SENSATION has a few moments of bliss, but I prefer the Mothers of Invention humour over this as the Mothers just sounded more natural and had interesting music underneath everything.

Review by The Quiet One
5 stars Perfect line-up, perfect sensation....

Over-Nite Sensation is the turning-point of Zappa's career to a more rock-driven band incorporating some jazz and funk elements, while before this album, the band was the other way round, more jazz-oriented and incorporating the rock substance, pretty much a jazz-rock band with avant-garde leanings. However Zappa's music does not loose it's complexity either virtuosic musicianship with this album, and as a bonus(for some that may not be), his humour is even more present than previous releases. However on a second thought this surely is because previous releases were almost entirely instrumental, but what the hell.

Despite of what the length of the songs seem to offer, this record satisfies your complex, yet accessible and entertaining, needs perfectly. Clear example of this is the fifth song, Zomby Woof, which offers all what you expect from Zappa and The Mothers(from the 70's); very complex structure, with constant swift-change of melodies and tempos, plus different, though unique, vocalists exchanging outrageous lyrics, and of course a middle instrumental section featuring a outstanding guitar solo from Frank Zappa with a incredible rhythm backing him up. Definitely one of the finest songs Zappa ever did within the 5 minutes mark.

The reason why some may call this a more commercial album is understandable from a certain point of view, with songs like Camarillo Brillo introducing a Zappa album may disappoint you, but once you understand this album is a more rock-driven album rather than a jazz-one like The Grand Wazoo or Waka/Jawaka, you'll find the opener pretty enjoyable and surprisingly up-lifting. Then I'm The Slime may be another that brings doubts to Prog fans, but with it's waterfall-dropping guitar intro and again featuring silly and entertaining lyrics, what else do you want for a accessible Zappa tune? Finally the most mainstream song would be the semi-famous Dirty Love, with it's ''abusive'' sex-themed lyrics and it's simple structure, though it's pretty much a good continuation to I'm The Slime.

Now to the rest of the highlights: 50/50(fifty/fifty) opens up with George Duke's marvellous keyboards and then moving to a funky rythm with Ricky Lancelotti's funny and great vocals. The song later evolves into a massive duel of solos, first being George with his outstanding, yet uplifting keyboard, then Jean-Luc Ponty delivering a out-of-this-world violin solo, and finally concluding with Zappa's blasting guitar. To sum it up Fifty/Fifty is more of a show-off for the already mentioned musicians, however the structure of the song while not managing to be one of his most complex either very elaborated, it's still very enjoyable.

Then would come the highly acclaimed Montana, with it's once again fantastic musicianship and elaborated composition showed in Zomby Woof, however this one shows as a bonus a fascinating complex vocal passage with Ruth's fast and lovely vibes following it, very much like they would in Inca Roads. Definitely a must-hear for Zappa fans.

The song that I'm missing is Dinah-Moe Humm, which I don't find either very good nor really bad, just okay. It's very lyric-themed, probably the main issue, the musicians barely do anything other than a funky rythm which bores after 3 minutes. Frank could have added a lot of entertaining passages in that eternal lyric-''speech'' in the middle section. Oh well, if this had been 3 minutes shorter, probably wouldn't skip quite often. Though I repeat, it's not bad, just not entertaining enough after the first 3 minutes.

Over-Nite Sensation ends up being the mark of a new ''era'' for Zappa, the one of leaving the focus on jazz, and moving to new territories like funk, soul, as well featuring the already stated outrageous humour, however always keeping the elaborated song-writing you expect from a man like Frank as well as top-notch musicians. Accessible? Well yeah, compared to The Grand Wazoo, Hot Rats, Uncle Meat. But this and the following 3(Apostrophe, Roxy & Elsewhere and One Size Fits All) are still to be considered classics, and in this case also to be considered a masterpiece because of it's incredible fusion of humour and complex and at the same time accessible songs.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The music of FRANK ZAPPA is an acquired taste, no question about that. A taste that I haven't been able to acquire, I must say.

For the sake of brevity, I'll just say that I can feel there's a genius at work when I listen to this album (and most of ZAPPA's music, especially "Hot Rats") but I can't lie and say it's something that gets to me, to what makes me tick. The strong americana flavor, the excessive humour, the disdain for singing (extremelt related to the last point), I'm not sure what it is that stops me from enjoying this artist's offer. I can detect the jazz, I can detect the knowledge of music and the use of dissonances and complex time signatures, and I appreciate all of that.

I just can't see a song in all of this. And as in any kind of music that bears the word rock in its title, I always want to find a song hidden beneath the sounds. There's a few here that barely hit the mark, but the humour and excess just kills them for me.

We all need to hear some ZAPPA if we want to really understand and learn more about rock music; that we all will like it, now I'm not so sure about that.

Anyway, I can't rate it higher because I just can't like it. But I can't rate it lower, as the art and the genius is here. So, a 3-star rating will do.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I'm sure everybody has one or more Zappa-aficionados amongst his friends and relations. I for one have always known a few that tried to get me into his music. Usually with varying degrees of success. Zappa always seemed to come at the wrong moment for me, mostly when I was into entirely different types of music. Also the goofy humour never seemed much of an alluring feature.

The Overnight Sensation album is the first in a series of 4 more accessible albums that finally did the trick for me. It is crammed with inspired fusion-flavoured rock, standout musicianship from all band members, catchy grooves, great guitar solos and very intricate arrangements.

Overnight Sensation is remarkable for finding a balance between the huge portion of weirdness in this music and an accessible and smooth elegance that has the potential for attracting many music fans. You couldn't call it commercial of course, it's still vintage Zappa and sounds like nothing else really, it's rooted in jazz-rock and avant-garde, but it flows into just anything that seems appropriate: funk, soul, blues and sex obviously. A bit similar maybe to the equally eclectic adventures of Gentle Giant.

I'm the type of person that never bothers to read the lyrics on a rock album, so obviously I will never get to comprehend Zappa's music to its full extent. But maybe one day I will, as it is very disconcerting that whenever we play a Zappa album in the house, my wife start rolling over the floor from laughter. Obviously I want to join her there! So I guess I'll really need to check out those lyrics one day. I'm sure that on that day, this will turn into a 5 star.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Overnite Sensation' - Frank Zappa (6/10)

With this album (and it's follow-up 'Apostrophe,') Zappa would wander into a realm that many progressive artists find themselves too afraid to venture forth into, the land of pop music. Taking his trademark inventiveness and melding it with the more conventional objectives of popular music; the result is a ridiculously fun mess that is soaked in equal parts quirk and musical intelligence.

It was this risk that actually brought Zappa into the mainstream eye. While the conventions of pop might be peaking their heads through the music here, this is still certainly not what would be considered 'pop' by most people. There are multiple vocalists here, and plenty of different instruments at work; occasionally doing some very technically proficient things. Despite the fact that Zappa manages to incorperate so many sounds (ranging from xylophone to motown vocals to classical violin,) the beating heart of 'Overnite Sensation' is still the idea of the 'upbeat pop ditty.'

An otherwise fun and intelligent collection of songs, 'Overnite Sensation' does has it's faults. It is clear that the man was checking out new territory in his music career, so it was inevitable there would be problems to work out. First among these issues are the vocals. While Zappa's singing is functional, it is on some of the guest vocal work that really weakens some of the otherwise great music. Shrieky male soul vocals from the throat of trumpet player Ricky Lancelotti are very unpleasant to listen to. While it may have been an intended effect for the singing to sound so strained and abrasive, it ends up ruining a few tracks ('50/50,' for example) that could have otherwise been alot more listenable.

Another problem is the lyrical content itself. While Frank was never a man to take himself seriously, one might wish at times that he would let the music drown out the words. While comedy can certainly make music more enjoyable (Zappa does have a few funny moments in his career,) this is not very good humour; in fact, it is simply bad humour. With a considerable portion of 'Overnite's lyrical content being derived from the topic of off-key sexual encounters, ental floss, it feels like the album could have been much more enjoyable if Frank had left his questionable taste in comedy out of the picture.

With 'Apostrophe' thankfully, Zappa would correct alot of the issues that 'Overnite Sensation' suffers with. This album is certainly musically sound; a few parts even amount to being incredible. However, many problems (including a lack of cohesion between tracks) make 'Overnite Sensation' a much less enjoyable experience than it could have been.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The ever-changing Frank Zappa shifted sounds and styles like no other during the '70s and Over-Nite Sensation was not an exception to that artistic approach. Featuring merely 7 songs and a total playtime of about 35 minutes, this release has been generally accepted as a good introduction album for anyone interested in exploring Zappa's discography. For me, this release marked my second step into the realms of Frank Zappa and it wasn't really what I expected after Chunga's Revenge! The biggest change this time around is that this is a very stable album that is based around the concert acts that Zappa and his band du jour were notorious for. The opening Camarillo Brillo is basically Over-Nite Sensation in a nutshell --- loud, energetic and filled with Zappa's famous humor. Unfortunately this was where I began to realize that this style really can get tiresome in length, even if we're talking about 35 minutes worth of material. There isn't really anything to tie these songs together other than the idea that this is how a Zappa performance could sound like if experienced live.

The style of these tunes is very accessible sound, featuring very straightforward song numbers but with a few touches of Zappa's typical challenging moments and unusual instrumental arrangements. The songs I like the most also so happen to be circling around other themes than those of immature sex jokes and/or social commentary, which in this case are only Fifty-Fifty and Montana. These are really the only moments where Zappa lets the music do the talking without having to rely on shocking imagery to satisfy the audience.

Over-Nite Sensation is probably one of the easiest albums to get into but that doesn't mean that you'll get a fair representation of what this artist was capable of. Even as an introduction album you'll probably be better off listening to Chunga's Revenge or any of the early The Mothers of Invention albums. As for this release, it's good, but I'd hesitate calling it essential.

***** star songs: Fifty-Fifty (6:09)

**** star songs: Camarillo Brillo (3:59) I'm The Slime (3:35) Dirty Love (2:59) Montana (6:35)

*** star songs: Zomby Woof (5:11) Dinah-Moe Humm (6:02)

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars Another year, another radical change of direction, but this time Frank's new direction would largely define his musical approach for well over a decade. And you know what, it's a change I'm glad he made. Oh, the argument could be made that going from a "serious" discipline such as jazz fusion to making relatively normal (at least, by Zappa standards; this album and others that would follow are miles away from normal by most other artists' standards) music was a step down, even a "sell out" by Frank. Thing is, though, my overall view of Zappa is that he was a commentator/satirist first and a composer second, and in my mind it's much easier to be an effective satirist of pop culture when you're actually making something vaguely resembling "pop" music, as opposed to when you're doing ultra-serious jazz fusion or ultra-stupid "comedy" music.

Zappa's new approach, from an overall theoretical perspective, is really freaking awesome. He takes "regular" rock (and related kinds) music, (seemingly) haphazardly smooshes in a solid dose of funk and whatever other genre strikes his fancy at the moment, writes ridiculously over-the-top entertaining (if not always memorable) melodies, uses all sorts of his old jazz fusion buddies to diversify the instrumentation beyond the standard guitar (which tends to go into some awesome solos at times), bass and drums setup, and sings lyrics that range from totally ridiculous to sharp satirical stabs at seemingly anything. The one major drawback to the new approach is that his lyrics would also, from this point forward, very often focus on the obsession that rock music has with sex, and his method of satirizing this would be to sing about sex in the crudest, bluntest ways imaginable. Strangely, I'm not as bothered when he engages in this kind of sexist pig shtick as I was when, say, he would let Flo and Eddie go off into their more intolerable rants; maybe it's because this kind of humor seems less like immature frat-boy humor and more like over- over-over-the-top attempts to rattle sensibilities on the part of somebody who knew just how to make people feel uncomfortable.

So anyway, there are but seven tracks on here, and only a slight letdown in the last two tracks (which are pretty lengthy) prevents this album from having a shot at a ***** rating "Dinah Mo Hum" is an incredibly offensive tale about a guy's attempts to bring a girl to climax, and how he succeeds only after he starts screwing her semi-retarded sister, but while it's tough for me to take an incredible amount of offense at something that's so blatantly tongue-in-cheek lyrically (the clearest indicator is that goofy synth line that pops up every so often after he says the name of the track), I'm very bothered at how uninteresting the piece is from a musical standpoint. I mean, it starts out alright, but once we get to the part in the lyrics concerning the screwings of the sisters, all that's left is a stripped-down generic porno background (which I think is the point, but that doesn't mean I have to like it), and this goes on seemingly forever and a half. Blech. The closing "Montana" is amusing lyrically ("moving to Montana soon, gonna be a dental floss tycoon"), but while it does have some pretty solid guitar passages, there really isn't that much of a melody to fall back on otherwise, which is a problem given that it's almost seven minutes long. Then again, I've gotta give Frank credit for being able to make the singing of, "YIPPIE AYE O KYE YAY!" in the background repetitively in the last minute or so sound so hilariously anthemic, so the song's not a total loss by any means.

The first five tracks are a total hoot, though. The opening "Camarillo Brillo" is a surprisingly straight-up country-western/Mexican number, but the lyrics are so ridiculously bizarre that nobody will make the mistake of thinking Frank's gone normal on us. "She had a snake for a pet, and an amulet, and she was breeding a DWARF, but she wasn't done yet" is a standout snippet, and the spoken monologue at the end, "Is that a real poncho ... I mean is that a Mexican poncho or is that a Sears poncho? Hmmm ... no foolin' ..." is tweaked in just that way that makes me like Zappa so much. "I'm the Slime" is even better, featuring Zappa singing/speaking lyrics about the corrupting influence of television, doing so in Frank's newfound (courtesy of the whacky fan who'd attacked him on stage) creepily lower-pitched voice. It's not just the lyrics that work here, though; the opening main theme is terrifically funky (and is proceeded by a nice aggressive guitar flourish), the female vocals that sing the "chorus" are fabulous, and the song structure is something that I find really neat. Instead of featuring an alternation of verses and chorus, with an instrumental break in the middle, like most rock songs have, the song is broken down simply into "Instrumental Intro"/"Verses"/"Chorus"/"Instrumental Outro." It may not seem like much to you, but for some reason it strikes me as rather amusing.

Next up is "Dirty Love," another piece of funky bliss, this time about sex with a poodle (!!!) and with Frank, from time to time, doing a great imitation of Barry White. Sheesh, what a great goofy song for such a gross topic. And then we have "50/50," with a great over-the-top screaming guest vocal delivery from Ricky Lancelotti, which well complements the over-the- top keyboard, violin and guitar solos. It's not really a "song" so much as it is an enormous instrumental wank-off, yes, but it's one heck of an entertaining instrumental wank-off. And finally, we have "Zomby Woof," which is a bit of a comedown (these incessant rhythm-shifts and weird vocals get a little old after a while), but it's a neat little "spook rock" pastiche, and it rounds out the album well.

Overall, then, this is a nice introduction to "mid-period" Zappa, and actually a good candidate for a first album to buy of his. Get it, especially if you can find it as part of the Apostrophe/Overnite Sensation two-fer disc.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Zappa seemed to be constantly reinventing his music. First there was the original Mothers Of Invention, playing twisted pop, experimental tunes, and bits of classical and jazz. Then there was his symphonic side, with albums like "Lumpy Gravy", and the orchestral sections of "200 Motels". There was the mostly comedy music with Flo & Eddie. Then he started his big band fusion phase, with "The Grand Wazoo" and "Waka Jawaka".

This album began Zappa's aggressive rock-jazz (because the rock side was more prominent) fusion. And, man-oh-man, what an album. With exceptional musicians, like Tom and Bruce Fowler, Ruth Underwood, Ralph Humphrey, even Jean-Luc Ponty, and more, Zappa created another work of perfection. Every song is a treasure, from Camarillo Brillo, where Humphrey is constantly adding Keith Moon-esque fills throughout, to the jaw-dropping virtuosity of songs like 50/50 (which, in my opinion, contains one of the hottest keyboard solos ever recorded) and the amazing Zombie Woof.

The only criticism I ever hear about this album concerns Zappa's lyrics, which, to the prudes out there, might at some points be considered obscene. In my opinion, and probably Zappa's, sex exists, and there is nothing wrong with writing songs about it. Especially if the songs are as good as these.

Review by Anthony H.
5 stars Frank Zappa: Over-Nite Sensation [1973]

Rating: 9/10

Have you guessed me yet?

Over-Nite Sensation marks the beginning of what was perhaps the most recognizable period in Frank Zappa's career. After two bombastic and ambitious big-band fusion albums, Uncle Frank recovered from his stage fall and began exploring his whimsical and wacky side yet again. Musically, this album is much more commercial than anything else Zappa had done before. Normally, such a description would be an automatic condemnation for prog fans like me. On the contrary, Zappa's foray into the more commercial side of rock created one of his best albums. To be fair, this isn't a mainstream album by most senses for the word. It's loaded with absurdist humor, complex arrangements, and varied instrumentation. Still, this is one of the most accessible pieces of work he ever released. It's short and sweet - only 34 minutes - but each and every track is an absolute Zappa classic.

"Camarillo Brillo" is a fairly simple rock song complemented with brass and piano arrangements, along with hilarious lyrics. This track, along with the entire album, immediately makes me happy whenever I listen to it. "I'm the Slime" is yet another classic; an unforgettable main riff, a great chorus, and excellent guitar soloing prove this. "Dirty Love" features what may be the funniest lyrics Zappa ever penned. The bass lines in this track are also notable. "Fifty-Fifty" is the most complex song here, and the one that's most heavily focused on instrumentation. Jean-Luc Ponty performs a ripping violin solo, George Duke tears the organ apart, and Zappa plays a blazing guitar solo that's actually somewhat akin to shred guitar. The big-band arrangements that Zappa had been exploring are slightly reprised on "Zomby Woof", another complex track. Everything about this song is great: the guitar playing, the arrangements, the vocals, and the lyrics. "Dinah-Moe Humm" is Zappa's take on funky R&B. This track foreshadows the off-the-wall sexual humor that would later dominate his 80s material. There's no need for me to discuss "Montana"; it's nothing short of a classic. I realize that I'm using that description quite a bit here, but it truly does apply to this album.

I don't want to write a dissertation on this album; over-analysis would be particularly stupid when applied to this piece of work. Anybody who appreciates both whimsy and complexity is likely to enjoy Over-Nite Sensation. That statement can be applied to Zappa's entire catalogue, but it is on this album - as well as on its successor Apostrophe (') - that Zappa captures the part of the essence of what made him such a memorable artist. Albums like this prove that fun music doesn't have to stupid; it demonstrates that stoic contemplation isn't necessary in order to enjoy musical variation and complexity. That alone makes this essential.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Zappa's first lyrically-focused album after the 1971 incident which saw him badly injured after being shoved off the stage by an aggressive audience member inaugurates the mid-1970s phase of the Mothers. As far as those lyrics go, the approach picks up where the Flo and Eddie years left off - a mixture of surreal humour and really filthy jokes dominates - but Zappa takes on more of the vocal duties himself, perhaps as a way of getting used to his new, deeper voice (a lasting consequence of his injuries).

However, unlike the Flo and Eddie years the comedy songs aren't partitioned off from the jazz-rock numbers: instead, the musical complexity and quality remains firm across the whole of the album, and the large band includes a range of talented instrumentalists (and, for this album only, Tina Turner and the Ikettes on backing vocals) whose soloing skills are showed off across the album.

In retrospect, I kind of feel that Over-Nite Sensation is the weakest of the albums that Zappa would make with this mid-1970s incarnation of the Mothers; later releases would be more musically interesting and substantially less sophomoric when it came to the jokes (though not completely so - this is Zappa, after all). It's still an interesting statement of intent despite this, as well as a substantial improvement over the Flo and Eddie years, which were by and large rather dreadful.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Are you ready to whip up some dragon lotion? Are you feeling just about as evil as a boogey-man can be?

If the answer to either is "yes", then you're ready to enjoy this immediately enjoyable and accessible Frank Zappa release. Over-Nite Sensation is deservedly one of Frank's most radio-friendly works, and one of his few albums you could play in the background at a party and not have people leave the room. These songs are light-hearted, fun, and have a great blend of fusion grooves and hard rockin' jams. What they are not, is impeccably composed or varied as most other Zappa music. Over-Nite Sensation will make you smile throughout, but you may not reach for it when the mood for Zappa strikes you.

That being said, anytime one of its songs comes on, you won't regret it. "Camarillo Brillo" bounces along playfully as tongue-in-cheek opener, while "I'm the Slime" drips with thick, greasy blues and monster guitar licks. Great stuff. Meanwhile, "Fifty-Fifty" and "Montana" sort of just become noise (for the former), or shoulder shrugging (for the latter). One thing that must be acknowledged though, is Over-Nite's Sensation outstanding guitar work. Frank is on his "A" game here, cranking out soloing that is frenetic, complex, and captivating. This is proverbial "mic drop" for guitar posers.

Great stuff overall, and perfect for some skewed, toe-tapping, sarcastic jamming. A worthy purchase for Zappa newcomers and fans alike, but there are even better gems of his out there to enjoy.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

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5 stars On this album, Zappa ditches Jazz fusion (even though elements of the genre are still there) for dirty funk. Also, he uses much more sexual innuendo to great effect, songs like "Dinah Moe-Humm" being the most obvious example. All of this makes Over-Nite Sensation the best "gateway drug" to Zappa ... (read more)

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Report this review (#971132) | Posted by Mr. Soot Gremlin | Tuesday, June 4, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Over-Nite Sensation, Joe's Garage, Sheik Yerbouti are probably my favorite Zappa albums. All the songs on here are classid only I don't care for Fifty-fifty, but that's just me. The best are I'm the Slime, Dinah-Moe Humm, Montana, Zomby Woof, and Camarillo Brillo. The Grand Wazoo was a much mor ... (read more)

Report this review (#462146) | Posted by FloydZappa | Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The problem with getting into Zappa is just where do you start? His vast discography is full of incredible guitar playing and albums that are household names in even the most contemporary of music catalogues. Over-Nite Sensation was the first Zappa album i listened to in full (after 1 or 2 failed ... (read more)

Report this review (#391254) | Posted by topographicbroadways | Monday, January 31, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One thing I will say about Frank Zappa-the man never ceases to surprise me. The first album I heard of his, Yellow Shark, was strictly classical music. The next one I heard, We're Only In It For The Money, was a mix of cutting satire and cacophonous, tape-manipulated horror. And this one, Over ... (read more)

Report this review (#299214) | Posted by 40footwolf | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars There's no doubt in my mind that Frank Zappa is an acquired taste. You either love him or hate him but there's no in between. And with this recording We found a comercial Zappa and in my opinion not a good one. There's no genius here, only a collection of songs, quirky ones, but ordinary. Good ... (read more)

Report this review (#283622) | Posted by steelyhead | Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album by Frank Zappa is a good starting point to discover this genius. Over-Nite Sensation is a catchy album almost sounding a bit commercial. With this album "classic" Frank Zappa music started. Music, which is not only known in the Prog underground, but by a lot people. Therefore, the P ... (read more)

Report this review (#275293) | Posted by Priamus | Monday, March 29, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Released in 1973, Over-Nite Sensation shows American music icon Frank Zappa in rare form. The performances are tight, the musicianship is ever-present, and the humor is over-the-top. With an assembly of studio musicians that includes George Duke, Jean Luc Ponty, Tina Turner, and the Ikettes, O ... (read more)

Report this review (#216509) | Posted by jimidom | Monday, May 18, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Over-night sensation was the first Frank Zappa album I had ever owned and being a 18 year old kid I thought it was pretty darn funny. Tweezers... 40 dollar bills... dental floss... auras and doras. The music was cool but the lyrics were the interesting feature to me at the time. I still get ... (read more)

Report this review (#197696) | Posted by Valdez | Wednesday, January 7, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Over-Nite Sensation...I love this me it is one of the best of Frank Zappa discography. The excellent musicians give an impeccable achievement to this record, in particular I appreciate the keyboards by George Duke, the violin virtuoso Jean-Luc Ponty... and of course the guitar of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#170172) | Posted by Civa | Wednesday, May 7, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is one of my favorite Zappa albums. To me it's clearly one of the most consistent albums. Dunno if it's because it only runs for 35 concentrated minutes, but this album is really good from start to finish. This album had a more commercial approach with it's shorter songs, more normal song s ... (read more)

Report this review (#169992) | Posted by Devnoy | Tuesday, May 6, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is truly an overnight sensation. I was not interested in Zappa for a long time, until I heard the disk ''Overnite Sensation'' (along with Apostrophe, but this is another review). It is a collection of songs which features crazy music and crazy lyrics, but is somehow accessible, a poin ... (read more)

Report this review (#169837) | Posted by Luke. J | Sunday, May 4, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Typing this up in biology class. Who needs an edumacation anyway! Overnight Sensation is one of the heights of Zappa's 70s normal rock era. The humor here is mostly a success, and holds up so well even still because of the excellent tunes behind the lyrics, something that the following Apostrophe ... (read more)

Report this review (#169550) | Posted by stonebeard | Friday, May 2, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Over-nite sensation, after the weirdness of WAKA/JAWAKA and THE GRAND WAZOO, was the start of FZ's most prolific period, a period in which he managed to attract the best musicians in the world, all of whom have claimed their stint with FZ was the most inspiring stretch in their careers. His 70ies ... (read more)

Report this review (#158607) | Posted by Arrakis | Monday, January 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The title of Zappa's '73 album Over-Nite Sensation was originally done as a joke as no one thought that this album would make him an over-nite sensation, but irony strikes again and it was a big commercial success, or as big as Zappa could've been. While I was glancing over the other reviews, ... (read more)

Report this review (#135272) | Posted by cookieacquired | Tuesday, August 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Zappa goes accesible! Camarillo brillo A fine pop rock track. Very melodic. Pretty straightforward a s well. Zappa plays a few nice understated guitar lines and his vocals are great. 5 stars Iīm the slime A rock track with funky influences and the horn section. Zappa doesnīt sing, he just ... (read more)

Report this review (#133213) | Posted by Peto | Wednesday, August 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is the first Zappa album I ever got to know.I remember to be smashed with disbelief.Never had I heard something like this before, although this isn't Zappa's weirdest album at all, but it has it's odd, typically Zappa moments.Listening to it more and more, it brought to me the appreciatio ... (read more)

Report this review (#62583) | Posted by thefalafelking | Saturday, December 31, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars ESSENTIAL Zappa! This is my personal favorite album from him (that I have heard) and one of the first of his I ever purchased. It's not as weird or eccentric as his albums with the Mothers and it's not quite as adventurous or "serious" musically as Hot Rats or The Grand Wazoo but the album h ... (read more)

Report this review (#29920) | Posted by dalt99 | Friday, April 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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