Frank Zappa

Dinah-Moe Humm

Song Review by

Included on the 1973 LP Over-nite Sensation, "Dinah-Moe Humm" is the song on that album with the most explicit sexual references. The title is a play on the female name Dinah and the humming (like a dynamo) and moaning she does while having sex. Written a few years before the cynical disco attempt "Dancing Fool," this song is Frank Zappa's answer to Isaac Hayes' "Theme From Shaft." The middle section is packed with horn-like female chorus lines, wah-wah rhythm guitar, slurry bass, and dancing drums. Dinah-Moe Humm offers the singer/narrator (Zappa himself, as on most of the album's tracks) 40 dollars if he can get her to orgasm. He gets to work, to no result, until he notices Dinah's sister watching them. He makes love to her and that gets Dinah's motor going. He'll finally push her to cloud nine by using "a pair of zircon-encrusted tweezers." The same tweezers appear in the next song on the album, "Montana."

Very similar in terms of subject and approach to "Camarillo Brillo," "Dinah-Moe Humm" was funny, but not really interesting. The studio version is obviously too long and lacks a really striking or catchy melody. Nevertheless, it remained a live favorite for Zappa who performed it regularly from 1974 to 1979 and again for the 1984 tour. A recording from that last year is included on You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 6. The first part of the song is played ludicrously fast, double-time redneck western style -- Ray White has trouble keeping up with the lyrics! Afterward it settles into a disco groove very similar to the middle part of "Dancing Fool." The song was not covered by the usual tribute bands (Band from Utopia, Muffin Men, etc.), which goes to say that Zappa probably enjoyed it more than his fans.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Apostrophe/Over-nite Sensation 1986 Ryko Distribution 6:03
Have I Offended Someone? 1997 Rykodisc 7:14
Understanding America 2012 Universal / Zappa Records 0:00