Frank Zappa

Disco Boy

Song Review by

The rise of disco music and its accompanying trends could not leave Frank Zappa unaffected. The sadistic social commentator wrote two songs on the subject. The first one was "Disco Boy," devised in the studio sometime in 1976 and released on the LP Zoot Allures the same year. But unlike for the second one, "Dancin' Fool," he did not adopt the musical (life)style he wished to put down. Instead, the song followed the general aesthetic of the album: a slightly dark medium-tempo rock with soft-spoken vocals. Disco Boy (the character) thinks he is "outta sight," the "king of disco," and is very self-conscious -- pretentious and superficial, if you prefer: he "never go[es] doody." He loves to be worshipped: "Leave his hair alone, but you can kiss his comb." There is only one problem: no girl at the bar is willing to leave with him. In the end he is left thanking "the Lord that [he] still got hands" to empty his "disco sorrow." "Disco Boy" was released as a single in 1976 (b/w "Ms. Pinky") but it did very little in the charts -- the miracle would happen a couple of years later with "Dancin' Fool." The piece was performed live in 1977-1978, in 1982, and again in 1988, most of the time at a much faster tempo (an example can be heard on You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 4). Its easy rock format and obvious entertainment appeal (those high-pitched back vocals are funny) secured it a place on many Zappa "best-of" CDs, starting with Strictly Commercial.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Zoot Allures 1976 Rykodisc 5:11
Strictly Commercial: The Best of Frank Zappa 1995 Rykodisc 5:08
Have I Offended Someone? 1997 Rykodisc 4:23
Understanding America 2012 Universal / Zappa Records 0:00