Great Forgotten Songs #41 – Frank Zappa “Camarillo Brillo”
“Camarillo Brillo” was first included on Zappa’s 1973 LP Over-Nite Sensation. The song’s lyrics include many colloquialisms and made-up words. The title itself is a pun; Zappa incorrectly pronounces Camarillo, the name of a city in California, to rhyme with Brillo, a trade name associated with cleaning pads.
Hear the song below:
“Camarillo Brillo” by Frank Zappa
Over-Nite Sensation (1973)
“Camarillo Brillo” is in the key of E major, though the key briefly changes to D major during the chorus. The song employs liberal use of brass instruments and a wide range of percussion techniques. It ends with a short coda played on piano.
There are two versions of this song, the first being in a slower tempo and the second being a much shorter up tempo version played later in Frank Zappa’s career. The shorter version can be heard on You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 6. The reason for changing the song’s pace was discussed in an interview with Zappa in which he states that the song was “boring” so they sped it up in future performances.
In 1975, “Muffin Man” was introduced to Zappa’s live repertoire, and “Camarillo Brillo” was subsequently played as a medley with the former. Performances of this variety appear on several Zappa releases, including FZ:OZ, Halloween, You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 6, and the concert film Baby Snakes.
This song also references quadrophonic speakers and the album on which it appeared; Over-Nite Sensation was recorded and released in quad on the Disc-Reet label.
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