Frank Zappa

Don't Eat the Yellow Snow

Composed by Frank Zappa

Song Review by

"Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" is both the title of a suite and of its first part. The suite of four songs (which also include "Nanook Rubs It," "St. Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast," and "Father O'Blivion") appeared on the 1974 LP Apostrophe. The song was released as a single (DiscReet, 1974), backed with "Cosmik Debris."

The suite is a loose collection of musically independent songs, a technique Frank Zappa had already used in 1970-1971 for "The Groupie Routine" and the undocumented "Divan." One must understand the implications of the first line in "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow": "Dreamed I was an Eskimo." This is all a dream. It doesn't need to make sense -- and it doesn't. That's a clever way to tie together unrelated tunes. So we are in the North. An Eskimo boy named Nanook (Nanook of the North was the title of the 1922 Robert J. Flaherty documentary that introduced Inuits to the general public) wants to go to a show. His mother urges him to "Watch out where the huskies go/And don't you eat that yellow snow." The slow 7/8 piece then segues into the 6/4 "Nanook Rubs It."

The song was always performed together with the whole suite. It was featured extensively live in 1973-1974 and from 1978 to 1980. The version found on You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 (from 1979) is 20 minutes long and includes all four parts, plus audience participation (a poem recital) and an unreleased bombastic finale to replace the fade-out at the end of "Father O'Blivion" on the record. This one is the ultimate recording of the suite. (See the entries for the other songs for more analysis.)

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Apostrophe (') 1974 Universal / Zappa Records 2:05
No Image 1979 Lunar Toones 4:25
Apostrophe/Over-nite Sensation 1986 Ryko Distribution 2:06
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 1988 Zappa Records 20:18
No Image 1991 Foo-Eee Records / Rhino
Saarbrucken 1979 1991 Rhino/Warner Bros. 3:52
Strictly Commercial: The Best of Frank Zappa 1995 Rykodisc 3:34
Halloween 2003 DTS Entertainment / Vaulternative 2:25
Zappatite: Frank Zappa's Tastiest Tracks 2016 Zappa Records 3:35
blue highlight denotes editor's pick