Contact Us

45 Years Ago: The Mothers of Invention’s ‘We’re Only in It for the Money’ Album Released

Mothers of Invention We're Only in It for the Money
Verve Records

From the mocking cover art to the orchestral notes that grace the music to the loose thematic ties that link the songs, the Mothers of Invention’s ‘We’re Only in It for the Money’ turns ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ on its head. But it’s not so much the Beatles’ masterpiece — which was released nine months before the Mothers album — that Frank Zappa and his band of musical pranksters ruthlessly skewer; it’s the culture that fed and supported it.

The Mothers’ first two albums, 1966’s ‘Freak Out!’ and 1967’s ‘Absolutely Free,’ drew from a growing pool of avant-garde noise, free-form jazz, old-school doo-wop, distorted garage rock and psychedelic pop. They’re complicated, complex listens – far more challenging than most of the pop and rock that dominated airwaves at the time. When the Beatles began adding symphonic flourishes to their music and wrapping the entire package in a hazy kaleidoscopic hue, Zappa – never one to suffer fools or foolish hippie idealism easily – reacted the best way he knew how: with his music.

‘We’re Only in It for the Money,’ which was released on March 4, 1968, is even more unconventional than the previous two Mothers albums. Its 18 songs – ranging in length from the just-over-a-minute-long ‘What’s the Ugliest Part of Your Body?’ to the six-minute closer – take aim at nearly every corner of late-‘60s culture, from political blowhards to hippie simplicity. The music, a difficult but rewarding mix of intricately structured and played art-rock and symphonic pop, is just as biting.

Of course, it went over the heads of most of the general record-buying public. ‘We’re Only in It for the Money’ still managed to reach No. 30 – Zappa’s best showing until ‘Apostrophe’ became his only Top 10 album in 1974 – and build a small reputation as a counterculture classic. Several of its songs – including ‘Are You Hung Up?,’ ‘Who Needs the Peace Corps?,’ ‘Absolutely Free,’ ‘Let’s Make the Water Turn Black’ and ‘Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance’ – rank among Zappa’s best. The album, a companion piece to the era more than to ‘Sgt. Pepper’’s, stands as the Mothers’ finest. It’s not an easy record to get into, but its complexities reveal a strange, trippy masterpiece – just like the Beatles classic.

Next: Top 10 Frank Zappa Songs

Listen to the Mothers of Invention’s ‘Who Needs the Peace Corps?’

More From KOOL 98

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://98kool.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on KOOL 98 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Sign up for an account to comment, share your thoughts, and earn points to get great prizes.

Register on KOOL 98 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!