Broadway the Hard Way

Broadway the Hard Way is a live album by American musician Frank Zappa recorded at various performances along his 1988 world tour. It was first released as a 9-track vinyl album through Zappa's label Barking Pumpkin Records in October 1988, and subsequently as a 17-track CD through Rykodisc in 1989.

Broadway the Hard Way
Zappa Broadway The Hard Way.jpg
Live album by
ReleasedOctober 14, 1988 (LP)
May 25, 1989 (CD)
RecordedFebruary 9 June 9, 1988
GenreHard rock, progressive rock, art rock, jazz fusion
Length71:03 (CD)
LabelBarking Pumpkin
ProducerFrank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 2
Broadway the Hard Way
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 3
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]

Music and lyricsEdit

This album was compiled from Zappa's last tour in 1988, in a band format. Most of the songs are satirical of prominent contemporary figures, chiefly in the political sphere, and of current social and political trends. Zappa's individual targets include Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan on "Dickie's Such An Asshole" (written in 1973), Jesse Jackson on "Rhymin' Man", Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and Pat Robertson on "Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk", and Michael Jackson and his family on "Why Don't You Like Me?". In "Any Kind of Pain" (which Zappa's band had performed as an instrumental in 1976 and rehearsed in 1981, with slightly different melody and lyrics, but was not completed as a vocal work until 1988), he satirises the manner in which an imagined vapid model is exploited and despised by the men who employ her.

The album contains several covers, from the jazz standard "Stolen Moments" to the Police song "Murder by Numbers" (with a guest appearance by Sting). "Outside Now" is from Joe's Garage, and "Why Don't You Like Me" can be easily recognized as a remake of Zappa's 1970 title "Tell Me You Love Me." "Rhymin' Man" is filled with melodic quotes from evergreens such as "Happy Days Are Here Again", "Hava Nagila", "La Cucaracha" and "Frère Jacques". In "What Kind of Girl" there is a line from "Strawberry Fields Forever" and a segment from the "Battle Hymn of the Republic"; while "Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk" quotes "Louie Louie", "Rock of Ages" and Marius Constant's Theme from The Twilight Zone.

"Promiscuous", which takes aim at surgeon general C. Everett Koop, is delivered in rapped verse.[2]

Despite the title, Zappa did not intend the material for a theatrical production, but the album received a Grammy nomination in 1990 for Best Musical Cast Show Album, losing to Jerome Robbins' Broadway.

Track listingEdit

All tracks by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

Original LP
Side one
1."Elvis Has Just Left the Building"2:24
2."Planet of the Baritone Women"2:48
3."Any Kind of Pain"5:42
4."Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk"9:15
Side two
5."Dickie's Such an Asshole"6:37
6."When the Lie's So Big"3:38
7."Rhymin' Man"3:51
9."The Untouchables" (Nelson Riddle)3:05
CD version
1."Elvis Has Just Left the Building"2:24
2."Planet of the Baritone Women"2:48
3."Any Kind of Pain"5:42
4."Dickie's Such an Asshole"5:45
5."When the Lie's So Big"3:38
6."Rhymin' Man"3:50
8."The Untouchables" (Riddle)2:26
9."Why Don't You Like Me?"2:57
10."Bacon Fat" (Andre Williams, Dorothy Brown, Zappa)1:29
11."Stolen Moments" (Oliver Nelson)2:57
12."Murder by Numbers" (Sting, Andy Summers)5:37
13."Jezebel Boy"2:27
14."Outside Now"7:49
15."Hot Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel"6:40
16."What Kind of Girl?"3:17
17."Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk"9:15



External linksEdit