Frank Zappa

Dancin' Fool

Composed by Frank Zappa

Song Review by

A pastiche that reiterated the idea found in the 1976 song "Disco Boy," but this time over a genuine disco beat, "Dancin' Fool" became a surprise hit single in American and European discotheques and one of the most largely known Frank Zappa songs.

While "Disco Boy" focused on the egomania and sex life of the disco crowd, this song's topic is (you guessed it) dancing. The main character cannot resist a disco beat; it makes him instantly jump on the dancefloor. The problem is that he has "got no natural rhythm." So, "When [people] see me comin'/They all steps aside/They has a fit while I commit/My social suicide." How this song making fun of disco dancers became a hit, inspiring some crazy dance moves to fit the topic, remains another pop culture mystery -- Doctor Demento's fondness for it may have helped it survive for so long. Zappa's only other song to have a similar impact in the pop world would be "Valley Girl."

"Dancin' Fool" was premiered on-stage around Halloween 1977 but stayed in the live set only for three months. During this period it was often performed early in the show, right after the ultra-complex opener "Approximate" (the man loved such ludicrous contrasts). After the disco craze faded out, Zappa brought it back for the 1982, 1984, and 1988 tours. A very commercial tune indeed, it appeared on the "best-of" set Strictly Commercial.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Sheik Yerbouti 1979 Universal / Zappa Records
No Image 1979 Lunar Toones 3:48
No Image 1981 Mud Shark
Does Humor Belong In Music? [Video/DVD] 1991 EMI Music Distribution
No Image 1991 Foo-Eee Records / Rhino
Saarbrucken 1979 1991 Rhino/Warner Bros. 3:42
No Image 1992 Rykodisc
Strictly Commercial: The Best of Frank Zappa 1995 Rykodisc 6:17
Halloween 2003 DTS Entertainment / Vaulternative 4:35
Hammersmith Odeon 2011 Frank Zappa Catalog / Universal 3:43
Dutch Courage 2016 Hobo
Zappatite: Frank Zappa's Tastiest Tracks 2016 Zappa Records 3:42
blue highlight denotes editor's pick