Twenty Small Cigars

Original version(s)


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)



Chris Hodenfield, "Chunga's Revenge," Strange Days, September 11-25, 1970

"20 Small Cigars", written in 1963, has soft showboat drumming and cocktail lounge guitar.

Bunk Gardner, quoted by Billy James, Necessity Is . . ., 2001, p. 41

Frank changed the names of the songs many, many times. When we first started rehearsing at the Lindy Theatre I remember a lot of the melodies that later Frank changed the titles of. Like "Transition" later became "20 Small Cigars," and "Never On Sunday" became "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance."

Steve Chennells, August 25, 2007

I went to see the Grandmothers at The Subterania' in London, uk (1993/08/09). Bunk Gardner announced a track as being one that some of them had played with Frank. He said it was named "Hot Rats." They went on to play "20 Small Cigars." Obviously, it was a while back now, but I remember it well as I was intrigued by a Frank track I did not know, and double intrigued when it turned out to be a different name for one of my favourites!

flambay, Zappateers, July 3, 2014

Interesting to point out that [in the London, August 9, 1993 concert] Don [Preston] is making these few comments around some of the older Zappa compositions and their 'former' titles:

"Twenty Small Cigars" seemingly was originally titled "Transition," and the original title to the song "Eric Dolphy Memorial BBQ" supposedly was "Hot Rats."

The Lyrics

Charles Ulrich

It sounds like it may just be Howard; I'm not sure if Mark is singing.
After "Daddy Daddy Daddy", Howard says:

"Well, listen honey, I don't care if you don't want to do it. I think you smell anyway, as a matter of fact, and I'd just as soon pull up the easy chair by the fire xxx over there and pass me that xxx of brandy there and this packet of..."

Twenty small cigars

Twenty small cigars

Twenty small cigars

The tape cuts off before the end of the song, so there may be a fourth
verse, which I imagine would run as follows:

Twenty small cigars

Charles Ulrich
Subject: more Twenty Small Cigars lyrics!

According to Nigey Lennon, this song "started life back in the Studio Z days as an insipid vocal that began, 'If you say goodbye/I know that I will surely die.' (Being Frank, p. 147)



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This page updated: 2022-09-24