Valley Girl

Album: Ship Arriving To Late To Save A Drowning Witch (1982)
Charted: 32
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  • Frank Zappa released 62 albums in his lifetime (many more appeared after his death), but "Valley Girl" is his only song to crack the US Top 40. Hearing him on playlists alongside Rick Springfield and Journey was shocking to Zappa fans, who were accustomed to his subversive tunes and caustic attitude toward mainstream music.

    "Valley Girl" got the attention of radio program directors (Zappa's nemesis) as a quirky novelty song that listeners could easily digest. "'Valley Girl' is innocuous enough that they'll play it," Zappa said in Creem. "They figure everyone will just have a little laugh and that's it. No real information is conveyed. There is definitely an anti-information syndrome as far as radio is concerned. No real content is ever allowed on the airwaves anyplace."
  • The song makes fun of Valley Girl talk, an early '80s trend that started in California and led to teenage girls around the country saying things like "Gag me with a spoon." It pokes fun at what Zappa believed were spoiled rich girls living in the San Fernando Valley of California. Laraine Newman was doing variations on the Valley Girl character on Saturday Night Live at the time.
  • This features Zappa's daughter, Moon Unit Zappa, as the Valley Girl. She was 14 when they recorded it.

    Moon was also an inspiration for the lyrics, as she would come home from bar mitzvahs repeating the Valley Girl talk she heard and covering topics like a grody English teacher and a place to get her toenails done. She got a co-writing credit on the song for coming up with many of the lines. Moon didn't consider herself a Valley Girl, but learned how to talk like one.
  • Leave to Frank Zappa to get a song on the radio that discusses S&M, albeit from the perspective of a girl who wants nothing to do with it. "Could you like just picture me in like a leather teddy?" she asks.
  • Moon Unit Zappa got a taste of stardom with this song, suddenly becoming very popular at school. In Creem, she said the kind of thing you would expect a 14-year-old girl with a flash of fame to say: "I don't want to be recognized. But I feel I know what it's like to be a handicapped person now. You know, when you go by someone in a wheelchair you kind of stay away."

    Moon stayed in the corner of the public eye, making appearances as a VJ on MTV and showing up in various TV shows and movies. Her most famous role is playing Rusty's love interest in the 1985 film National Lampoon's European Vacation.
  • In 2000, a California man named Timothy Brownfield sent letters to the FBI threatening to kill Moon Unit Zappa because he thought she stole the lyrics from him.
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Comments: 31

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaWould have loved to have gagged them with a spoon! Got so tired of some of those phrases i wanted to shoot someone (not litterely)
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxI was working in a department store when this song was out and the twerp in the music department played it so damn many times that I finally went over and hid the stupid thing.
  • Dodge from Casper, WyFrank Zappa's band during the modern rock phase of his career in the late 70's and 80's was comprised of members of the New Wave band Missing Persons. Valley Girl was hilariously performed on the popular music TV show Solid Gold, introduced by an incredulous Dionne Warwick.
  • Thegripester from Wellington, New Zealand...and another thing - before you take credit for paying more attention in class, maybe you should actually look things up on zappa.com - Moon was 14. I remember the promos and articles from the time vividly. That was the whole thing that was remarkable about it, duhhhh, she was only 14, she was kidding around her Valley Girl classmates.

    If I were from New York, I'd be embarrassed to have you stick up for me.
  • Thegripester from Wellington, New ZealandUh - David in Syracuse - "What's gotten into you lately?" The only thing you're proving is your rudeness, not any song facts.

    FYI, it was Zappa and Moon who told the story that the vocals were done at 3:00 am. Nobody doubts them, and it is an accepted piece of Zappa family history.
  • David from Syracuse, NyFrank was a genius, no doubt. Moon did a great job helping him with the words of a Valley Girl. I find it hard to believe she was 14...perhaps 16?
    I doubt she was dragged out of bed at 3 am to help her dad with this, she would have been pissed and groggy, fool cale in atlanta. Who told you that? Another Valley Girl who was jealous, and was gagged with a spoon?
    Jeepers...
    Yeah -Zappa wasn't into commercialism, he detested it, as Kyle from Brooklyn notes.
    Why are people from NY, so intuitive, and correct?
    I know...they pay attention in class, and graduate, and they usually go to college, too, and if they don't go to college, they are usually
    smarter than most people from other states anyway.
  • Mike from Matawan, Nj "....the Surf Punks who released "Locals Only" in 1980 we're preaching the downfall of society due to the spoiled rich kids and the suburban dreggs coming from the valley even in '80, light years before Zappa."

    Uhhhh, 'Light Years', Mark? I wasn't aware that two years is considered 'Light Years'. So five days must be like a parsec to you, huh?
  • Jason from Tampa, FlValley Girl was the only Zappa song to reach the Top 40.
  • Dave from Liverpool, United KingdomSan Bernadino or San Fernando, them girls live everywhere
  • Madison from Norway, MeI hear Catholic Girls played every so often on satellite.
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkAnd nobody mentioned going to Montana to raise dental floss? The same year this song came out somebody in Alaska made a parody about Mat-Su Valley Girls, (Matanuska-Susitna Valley is the size of several Rhode Islands and the breadbasket of Alaska. Denizens are called VallieBillies by Anchoragites). It was a local hit.
  • John from Montclair, NjFrank had only three charting songs on the Billboard Hot 100: "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow", #86; "Dancin' Fool", #45; and "Valley Girl". "Girl" is his only top 40 song, which under the general rules of the Billboard Hot 100 qualifies him as a one-hit wonder. That's why people are saying it's his only hit, or his most popular song.
  • Billy from Palm Harbor, FlFrank didn't need commercial "success". He was brilliant and fans all over the world (especially Europe). The "funny" songs that most people are aware of very small portion of his music. He was more conductor/arranger than performer and his real music love (according to his book) was jazz. If you ever have a chance to listen to the song "Blessed Relief" from the album "The Grand Wazoo", take it. It's one of the most beautiful, moving pieces of music I've ever heard.
  • Mark from Meridian, IdIt's important to note that Frank and The Mother's of Invention were not chart topping superheroes but their contribution to modern alternative rock is significant. One other observation, the Surf Punks who released "Locals Only" in 1980 we're preaching the downfall of society due to the spoiled rich kids and the suburban dreggs coming from the valley even in '80, light years before Zappa. And they did it better than this, check out the album "Locals Only" you won't be disappointed.
  • Jack from Newark, DeSomeone is confusing different songs...Valley Girl WAS abou the San Fernando Valley, while San Ber'dino was about San Bernadino, or as many call it, San Berdu. Frank not only went out of his way to criticize mainstream music, he wrote against mainstream politics and social mores,( Disco Boy, Dirty Love...and my personal favorite The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing, where he sings "And all those politicians down in Washington, Are just lookin' out for number 1, And number 1 ain't you, You ain't even number 2. I mean, if that doesn't describe Americas political problem to a T, I don't know what does!
    peace
  • Mike from Newark, NjOnly hit??? What about Dancing Fool, you fool!!!
  • Jim from Somewhere, PaIf you folks want to hear funny, check out "Joe's Garage" acts,1,2 and 3. Its a real scream. One his best works in my opinion.
    Jim.
  • Joe from Bellingham, WaAmen! Zappa is the best and this song is so true! I like to play it everytime some movie like Mean Girls or Clueless comes on. but I totally agree. this isn't zappa's only popular song, it's the only one that charted. Zappa has a ton of spactacular songs.
  • Don from Newmarket, CanadaI think the reference to Zappa's only popular song means it's the only song that charted. Frank has a ton of great songs but only true fans know them!
  • Andrew from West Covina, CaI love this song...I have not seen the movie yet. but Valley girl reminds me of the clueless scene, married with children kids, heavy metal chicks, and teen movies I have seen in the 80's. Since I lived in Los Angeles, the valley girl scene didn't go away to early 90's and I think it all went down to the britney spears era. I still some valley girls, but they come and go.
  • Dennis from Chicagoland Burrows, IlI love valley girl, the movie is good too!
  • Marc from Niagara Falls, CanadaI love bobby brown the songs hilarious
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InLove this tune. Valley Girls didn't last long and I was a little young to care about them at the time.
  • Kyle from Brooklyn, NyZappa didnt need to be commercialy successful to be the genious musician he was. By the way i think Dancing Fool was probably bigger than this song because he did perform it on Saturday Night Live. And by the way James and Jenny the song was called San Ber'dino not San Bernadino.
  • Scott from Ionia, Mihis only popular song!?!? what about titties 'n beer; dynamo hum; fox hole; bobby brown; jewish princess; flakes; illinois enema bandit(with Don Pardo); and the list goes on....
  • Cale from Atlanta, GaFrank got his daughter out of bed at 3am and had her just talk into a mike.
  • Charlie from Thomaston, Cthis only popular song?! check out yellow snow
  • James from San Bernardino, CaWhat song about San Bernardino??
  • Jenny from Hartsville, Wizappa did sing a song about san bernardino though.
  • Ken from Phoenix, Az"I've never heard of any spoiled rich kids in the San Bernardino Valley. Are there any?"

    Maybe in Redlands
  • Kenneth from Castaic, CaCorrection to one of the posts above: Its about spoiled rich girls in the San Fernando Valley, NOT the San Bernadino Valley. There is a clear reference to living "in a real good part of Encino" in the song. Besides, I've never heard of any spoiled rich kids in the San Bernardino Valley. Are there any?
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