That’s right. Today is officially “Frank Zappa Day” in the city of Baltimore, where Zappa was born on December 21, 1940.
To honor this American original, I’ve embedded a 16½-minute video clip of Frank Zappa on “The Steve Allen Show” in the early 1960s.
Zappa wasn’t brought on the show for any serious purpose. He was there to perform a sort of Stupid Human Trick: playing the bicycle as a musical instrument.
Even then, the boy wasn’t quite normal. But Allen had fun with it. And Zappa’s dry sense of humor was in full effect.
The video ends with a full-on avant-garde improvisation by Zappa with Allen and the show’s band. It is one of the coolest things on the internets.
Steve Allen was a musician himself, you know. Big-time jazz aficionado. It is often said that Mr. Allen composed more than 10,000 songs. (As a wise guy once remarked: “Name two.”)