“Valley Girl” – Frank and Moon Zappa

Frank Zappa’s biggest “hit,” “Valley Girl” came about because his daughter Moon, wanted to spend time with her father, who was either always on the road or sequestered in his home studio.  According to Barry Miles’s biography of Frank, Moon slipped a note under Frank’s home studio door “addressed to ‘Daddy” (not ‘Frank,’ as he liked to be called). She introduced herself: ‘I’m 13 years old.  My name is Moon.  Up until now I have been trying to stay out of your way while you record.  However, I have come to the conclusion that I would love to sing on your album …  She gave the house telephone number and asked him to contact her agent, Gail Zappa, and suggested that she might do her ‘Encino accent’ or her “Surfer Dood Talk.’  ‘It was me saying ‘Pay attention to me!'”

Eventually, Frank woke his daughter Moon up in the middle of the night to record the conversations she had with her friends, phrases she picked up by living in the San Fernando Valley and going to various “parties, bar mitzvahs, and the (Sherman Oaks) Galleria.”  Per Frank, the song was NOT intended to be a celebration of the Valley, but an illustration of how vapid and depressing the area was.

The song first became a hit on KROQ-FM in Los Angeles when the station played the song during an interview with Moon.  The response from the public was phenomenal and the song was added to heavy rotation, prompting other stations to do likewise.  The song became a national hit, going as high as Number 32 on Billboard’s pop charts and Number 12 on the Mainstream Rock charts.  The song’s popularity was a thorn in Zappa’s side, because of the way people adopted “Valley-speak” and philosophy as a positive thing.

The clip here is Moon appearing on a pop music show performing “Valley Girl” with some dancers dressed in some hideous but spot-on 1980s style clothes. 

Moon has a lot of great stories to tell, some of which can be heard in this interview she did with Marc Maron back in 2013.

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