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Music / Burnt Weeny Sandwich

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Fit for a holiday in Berlin

Burnt Weeny Sandwich is a 1970 album by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. It was released after Zappa had disbanded the Mothers a year earlier. It's a partial studio and Live Album and generally considered to be one of Zappa's more minor works, never reaching the same classic status as some of his other works. Still most Zappa fans enjoy it, especially for the long instrumental jams and melodious orchestrations. Fan favorites like "Holiday in Berlin", "Aybe Sea" and "The Little House I Used To Live In" debuted on this record.


Side One

  1. "WPLJ" (3:02)
  2. "Igor's Boogie, Phase One" (0:40)
  3. "Overture to a Holiday in Berlin" (1:29)
  4. "Igor's Boogie, Phase Two" (0:35)
  5. "Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown" (6:27)
  6. "Aybe Sea" (2:45)

Side Two

  1. "The Little House I Used To Live In" (18:42)
  2. "Valarie" (3:14)


  • Frank Zappa: vocals, guitar, composition.
  • Lowell George: vocals, guitar.
  • Roy Estrada: vocals, bass
  • Don Preston: keyboards, mini Moog
  • Ian Underwood: keyboards, clarinet, piano
  • Buzz Gardner: trumpet
  • Bunk Gardner: woodwinds
  • Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood: vocals, saxophone
  • Art Tripp: drums, percussion
  • Jimmy Carl Black: vocals, drums, trumpet
  • Sugar Cane Harris: violin
  • Janet Ferguson: background vocals on "WPLJ"

Burnt Weeny Tropes

  • Audience Participation: Unintentionally. Near the end of "The Little House I Used To Live In" we hear a man in the audience shout and cause commotion because he noticed some guards in uniform maintaining the safety during the concert. Zappa then returns to the stage and addresses him:
    'Man in the audience: (keeps yelling nevertheless)
    Zappa: "You'll hurt your throat, stop it!"
  • Bilingual Bonus: "WPLJ" has Spanish lyrics near the end.
  • Book Ends: "Igor's Boogie", which has a phase one and two.
  • Bottle Episode: "Holiday in Berlin".
  • Break Up Song: "Valarie", where the singer feels comfortable with the fact that his loved one left him, because he is confident she will come back to him.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • "Holiday in Berlin" would later reappear again in a different arrangement (as "Semi-Fraudulent/Direct-From-Hollywood Overture" and "Would You Like A Snack?") of 200 Motels (1971) and "The Little House I Used To Live In" on Fillmore East, June 1971 (1971).
    • "Holiday in Berlin" also appears on Zappa's "Ahead Of Their Time" (1993).
    • The album cover makes use of hands, something that would return often on other Zappa album cover art, including Over-Nite Sensation (1973) and One Size Fits All (1975).
    • "WPLJ" is a song about wine, which ties in with "Wonderful Wino" from Zoot Allures (1976).
  • Cover Album: Not really, since there are only two covers songs but they happen to be the only tracks with lyrics on this predominantly instrumental album.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: The original version of "Valarie" by Jackie & The Starlites is far more melo-dramatic, with Manly Tears and screams of agony. Zappa sounds more calm and knowlingly confident while singing it.
  • Cover Version: "WPLJ", a cover by The Four Deuces, and "Valarie", a cover by Jackie & the Starlites.
  • Dead Pan Snarker: Zappa's comments to the shouting man in the audience near the end of The Little House I Used To Live In
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover was designed by Cal Schenkel, but originally intended for a Eric Dolphy record.
  • Doo-wop: "Valarie" is a doowop cover.
  • Epic Rocking: "The Little House I Used To Live In", which takes 18:42 minutes!
  • Everything Is an Instrument: "Igor's Boogie, Phase Two" has sounds of tiny autohorns.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "Aybe Sea".
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Near the end of "WPLJ".
  • Instrumental: "Igor's Boogie, Phase One" & "Igor's Boogie, Phase Two", "Overture to a Holiday in Berlin", "Theme From Burnt Weeny Sandwich", "Holiday in Berlin, Full Blown", "Aybe Sea" and "The Little House I Used To Live In".
  • Left Hanging: Zappa thanks the audience near the end of "The Little House I Used To Live In" and promises to "make an attempt to perform "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" note , but nothing comes of this because of a man in the crowd shouting about some guards in uniform and causing a stir.
  • Location Song: "Holiday In Berlin", inspired by the band's performance in this city. See Real Life Writes the Plot below.
  • Live Album: Some portions were lifted from concerts, but not as many as on Weasels Ripped My Flesh.
  • Location Song: "The Little House I Used To Live In", a melancholic instrumental piece, supposedly about Zappa's home from his youth.
  • Love Will Lead You Back: "Valarie".
    I know you're gonna need again
    Oh, you will need me while I'm away
  • Obsession Song: "Valarie".
    Although you don't want me anymore
    You're gonna haunt me some more
  • Ode to Intoxication: "WPLJ" about a white port and lemon juice wine.
  • One-Woman Song: "Valarie".
  • One-Word Title: "WPLJ"
  • Pun-Based Title: "Aybe Sea" note 
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "Holiday In Berlin" was based on an incident during a 1968 concert by Zappa and the Mothers in Berlin. At the time student protests were everywhere and some youngsters in the crowd tried to encourage Zappa to lead them into a revolution against the government. The politically engaged Zappa didn't like ''revolution'' as much as evolution and wasn't up for the offer, believing that college students would be better off getting their diploma and change society in that way. The audience didn't like that answer and got tumultous. Things started getting ugly when angry people threw stuff at Zappa and the band and tried to climb the stage. Zappa and his musicians were forced to churn out ugly and harsh deafening sounds to keep them at a distance while they prepared to fled the stage.
  • Repurposed Music:
    • "Overture To A Holiday In Berlin" consists mostly of music Zappa originally composed for the B-movie The World's Greatest Sinner. Parts of the score would later be rearranged as "Semi-Fraudulent/Direct-From-Hollywood Overture" and "Would You Like A Snack" for the soundtrack of 200 Motels.
    • The lead guitar in "Theme from Burnt Weenie Sandwich" is a solo from an unused longer take of "Lonely Little Girl" intended for the earlier Mothers album Only In It For The Money, Art Tripp having added various percussion bits to it some time after replacing Billy Mundi. (The original solo, with original percussion, is presented in the bootleg "Money Demos" note , following "Lonely Little Girl" proper, entitled "Burnt Weenie Sandwich Side Two" )
  • Shout-Out: "Igor's Boogie" is a reference to one of Zappa's musical gurus Igor Stravinsky.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Valarie", which is typical Doo-wop silliness.
  • Spelling Song: "WPLJ"
    The W is the White,
    The P is the Port,
    The L is the Lemon,
    The J is the Juice
    White Port & Lemon Juice,
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Valerie".
  • Title Track: "Theme From Burnt Weeny Sandwich".
  • Trademark Favorite Food and Word Salad Title: The album was named after a snack that Zappa enjoyed eating, namely a burnt hot dog with mustard.