200 Motels

FZ album(s) in which song has appeared


Tour(s) on which song is known to have been performed (main source: FZShows, v. 7.1)



"200 Motels" (Contempo 70, May 15, 1970)

FZ: Hello? OK. I would like to make an announcement about this orchestra piece that uh, the Los Angeles Philharmonic is gonna crank off for you now . . . Uhm, first of all, I'll tell you about the one that they aren't gonna crank off for you now. It seems that uh, Mr. Powell has left and he took the tape with him, and uh, so, they aren't going to play Immobiles 4. However, they are going to play 200 Motels, and the story on that is, it's a collection of sketches that was orchestrated uh, recently, the sketches having been written over a pair of years when uh, I thought it'd be fun to be a composer, and then during the past week I got to listen to them playing the stuff here at rehearsals. And I saw all the horrible errors that I made. Too late to change it! You get to hear all the mistakes too. And it's not really a great piece of music, but we might be able to get off a couple of times in it. So . . . All right, Zubin, hit it!

UCLA Committee on Fine Arts Productions, May 15, 1970

"200 Motels," excerpts of which comprise the evening's final presentation, is an origin al Zappa-composed orchestral choral- ballet which full blown runs approximately two and a half hours. The lengthy second movement featuring Chunga, the powerful but obliging industrial vacuum cleaner, will not be included. Most of the music was composed in the motels of the United States and their European counterparts while Zappa was on the road with the Mothers. Following each evening's concert, Zappa would return to his color-coordinated room with the twin beds, sit at the formica counter by the television, and put down the musical ideas that suggested themselves during the performance. "200 Motels" is based on all that came out of that briefcase following three years of concert touring. The final orchestration of the piece as it now stands was put together over a period of three months at the end of 1969 and the beginning of 1970.


The music played

Special thanks to Charles Ulrich and Javier Marcote.

Los Angeles,
May 15, 1970
01:12-02:42 Pound For A Brown
02:42-05:57 (guitar solo)
05:57-06:58 ?
06:58-07:37 Oh No/?
07:37-08:05 Envelopes (LSO 2:17-2:37)
08:05-08:12 Like It Or Not (0:10-0:21)
08:12-08:54 ?
08:54-09:50 Like It Or Not (0:10-0:59)
09:50-11:48 Like It Or Not (0:59-2:21) aka Redneck Eats (1:06-2:49) aka Piano/Drum Duet
11:48-12:41 Undaunted, The Band Plays On (1:10-1:48)
12:41-13:43 Little House I Used To Live In (Part 1) (0:00-0:50)
13:43-13:57 Centerville (1:14-1:44)
13:57-16:20 ?
16:20-17:51 Little House I Used To Live In (Part 1) (0:50-1:43)
17:51-19:48 World's Greatest Sinner (Final Theme)
19:48-22:31 Holiday In Berlin
22:31-24:55 Inca Roads Vamp
24:55-25:31 Strictly Genteel (4:13-4:49)
25:31-26:17 ?
26:17-27:19 Duke Of Prunes
27:19-34:51 Who Need The Peace Corps? (incl. piano & guitar solo)
34:51-36:32 Pound For A Brown
36:32-36:59 What's The Name Of Your Group?
36:59-38:10 Dance Of The Rock'n'Roll Interviewers
38:10-39:00 ?
39:00-41:25 Touring Can Make You Crazy
41:25-42:00 The Lad Searches The Night For His Newts (0:00-0:37)
42:00-42:29 ?
42:29-42:44 Lucy's Seduction Of A Bored Violinist (0:19-0:27)
42:44-43:36 ?
43:36-45:08 The Pleated Gazelle (200 Motels—The Suites) (19:44-21:02)
45:08-45:22 Tuna Fish Promenade (2:15-2:30)
45:22-46:55 Oh No
46:55-47:59 ?
47:59-48:06 Oh No/Pound For A Brown (Capitol Lumpy Gravy Part One 7:36)
48:06-50:17 Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue


Edmund Hõbe, June 25, 2023

I've identified one small bit. It's the bit just before "Oh No" with the band and the orchestra kicks in. 45:08 - 45:22 corresponds to the closing seconds on "Tuna Fish Promenade", the "just a tuna sandwich from another catering service" section (2:15-2:30).


Conceptual Continuity



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This page updated: 2023-07-12