Freak Out!

What To Get: Purists will say the two-CD "MoFo" for the vinyl mix of the album, but the regular CD of Freak Out (any) will be okay for most people.

Summary: All non-MoFo CD versions contain identical digital audio data; some tracks are remixed, while others have been re-equalized and treated with digital reverb. The MoFo set (either one) contains the original stereo LP version of "Freak Out!" The mono LP is a unique mix that is not on CD.

ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: Mono vinyl, stereo vinyl or MoFo version (either one), plus any standalone CD version. Crazy ultra-completists may want to add a single-LP version. [completist's guide]


Current Version Track-listing (links to Román's stupendous lyrics rundown)

  1. Hungry Freaks, Daddy 3:27
  2. I Ain't Got No Heart 2:33
  3. Who Are The Brain Police? 3:33
  4. Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder (FZ/Collins) 3:39
  5. Motherly Love 2:43
  6. How Could I Be Such A Fool 2:11
  7. Wowie Zowie 2:51
  8. You Didn't Try To Call Me 3:16
  9. Any Way The Wind Blows 2:54
  10. I'm Not Satisfied 2:38
  11. You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here 3:38
  12. Trouble Every Day 5:49
  13. Help, I'm A Rock 4:43
  14. It Can't Happen Here 3:55
  15. The Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet 12:16

Original Vinyl

The original 1966 stereo mix has recently made a re-appearance on MOFO.

From Biffy the Elephant Shrew:

If your copy is a first pressing, it will have a box above the triangle-shaped photo in the lower right corner of the inside spread with an advertisement for the "Freak Map." Later copies have a blank, empty space where the "Freak Map" ad was.

From Greg Russo (author of Cosmik Debris):

I have a few US copies of Freak Out! - a mono (V-5005), and two stereos - one shown as V6-5005-2 and the other as V6-5005-2X (note the additional "X"). The "X" is shown only on the cover, as the records just say V6-5005-2. At this point, I cannot tell a difference between the two covers other than the number on the front - otherwise, they appear to be the same inside and out.

Canadian Version

From Steve "Cindy" Jones:

I have a pressing from Canada. The bottom right of the cover has "printed litho in Canada". Inside the gatefold on the right side it has the ad for the freak-out hot spots and below that in the corner it has "buy canadian" in a circle. At the bottom it has "manufactured and distributed in Canada by Quality Records Limited 380 Birchmount Road, Toronto, Ontario."

Now for the records and label. The records are like this: side 1 is backed with side 4 and side 2 is with side 3. The label is different, it has "stereophonic" and "living sound fidelity" under the Verve label.

Mono Vinyl

This album is so old it was issued both in mono and stereo. Of course, the mono version is a bit different: it's clearly a different mix and a couple of songs are longer. The British single vinyl was also issued in both stereo and mono versions. Some or all mono versions had sides 1 and 4 on one record, and 2 and 3 on the other. While the mono version is presumably a different and distinct mix, few major variations have been reported.

From Splat:

"You Didn't Try to Call Me" has a longer fade-out, revealing Ray Collins plaintively exclaiming "Girl!" Also, "Trouble Every Day" is longer by exactly one snare hit at the beginning of the song. [Ed: The stereo vinyl version of "You Didn't Cry to Call Me" ends cold as well]

Unknown Version

From Chris Maxfield:

My copy does not have the Freak Map ad inside. It does have Verve Records on the LP labels, but the label is black with silver writing on "record one" and white with silver writing on "record two." There does not seem to be any writing on the inner "blank groove space" on either of the LPs. The labels say V6-5005-2 on them. There's a big Verve Logo and the spiky "T" thingy. The bottom part of the LP labels say: "MGM RECORDS - A DIVISION OF METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER INC. - Made In U.S.A." but there's no address. Seems like a strange hybrid.

From Jawmo:

My copy, pu***ased in the mid-70s, has blue Verve labels (both discs), silver print and reads "Manufactured by MGM Records, Inc. 7165 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, Calif. 90046." Same V6/5005-2, also appears on the "groove space." I don't know what the "Freak Map ad" is, so obviously it's not there. I have seen other versions of Freak Out!, but not the specific one you describe. Hope this helps!

Single Vinyl Versions

  • UK version (Verve SVLP 9154 in stereo, VLP 9154 in mono, March 1967)
  • German version (Verve 710003)
  • Mexican version (sighted in Utrecht, April 1988)

The original British vinyl version was cut down to fit onto one disc. There was both a stereo (Verve S VLP9154) and a mono version (Verve VLP9154), and it was later re-issued in Britain as the double Verve Select 263004, in stereo only. The single-LP version contained these tracks:

1. Trouble Comin' Every Day
2. Help, I'm a Rock
3. The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet

4. Hungry Freaks, Daddy
5. I Ain't Got No Heart
6. Who Are the Brain Police?
7. Motherly Love
8. Wowie Zowie
9. You Didn't Try to Call Me
10. I'm Not Satisfied
11. You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here

The eliminated tracks were "Go Cry on Somebody Else's Shoulder", "How Could I Be Such a Fool?" and "Any Way the Wind Blows". "Trouble Comin' Every Day" was shorter (02:35). The sides were pretty long, which must have compromised pressing sound quality.

From Patrick Moore:

The LP was pressed by EMI, and has an old "Emitex" ad on the back cover. The cover is a single pocket, and, as you might guess, a bunch of stuff was cut. Aside from the deletion of three tracks, "Trouble Comin' Every Day" is most likely the single version. I may be wrong on this, for I have never heard the true 45 version of "Trouble Comin' Every Day". The version here is a lot shorter than the US version.

Single-album versions are also reported from Mexico and Germany. So far, they all seem the same.

Record Club of America Cassette

Record Club of America cassetteAs the picture on the right should hint, there was at least one Record Club of America issue of Freak Out! on cassette. The picture is not perfect, and was taken from an auction at And that's all I have to say, about that.

White MGM Label Vinyl Re-issue

From Ryan Davenport:

One of my copies of Freak Out! has a white label with the MGM logo (with the lion) on the left side and the Verve logo on the right side. I don't think it has the original cover, so I can't say for sure what country the release comes from. The lion looks to be a more recent, stylized guy than the ones I remember seeing on singles from mid/late '60s. For what it's worth, the MGM/Verve release has an extra catalog number and extra matrix number in the vinyl (MGS 296). I haven't checked yet to see if the recording is different in any way.

From TFalcouner:

According to Neal Umphred's "Goldmine Price Guide to Collectible Albums" (4th edition), this variation on the Verve label was used from 1972-1975. I've only seen one example of this variation myself - a copy of Absolutely Free with the album title and contents filling out the top and bottom regions of the label in simple thin, black lettering, and the lower wraparound MGM address being the same Sunset Blvd-Hollywood address used on their 1970's releases.

British Double Vinyl Re-Issue

From Record Collector magazine #94, May 1987 (quoted by Mikael Agardsson):

With the inclusion of the three "missing" tracks, Freak Out! was at last made available in Britain as double album with its intended sleeve. In common with nearly all the '70s re-issues, the cover had a matte finish as opposed to the laminated sleeves of the original UK pressings. All the re-issues also carried a "Marketed by Polydor" logo on the sleeves.

The Old Masters Vinyl

Freak Out! was one of the albums re-issued in the Old Masters box 1. "Help, I'm a Rock", which was "a suite in three movements" on the original LP, appears as two tracks: "Help, I'm a Rock" and "It Can't Happen Here". On the original CD, it was one track; on the 1995 CD it was once again two. In the Old Masters booklet, just as on the ZAPPA 1 vinyl re-issue label from 1985, "Return of the Son of Monster Magnet" is listed as "Cream Cheese".

Has a (printed) handwritten text over the Freak Map ad (which is greyed but still there, including the address) saying: "Do Not hurry! Do NOT send money to MGM! The map & the L.A. you want to visit does not exist!"

On the Old Masters I Sampler, the tracks from Freak Out! appear to be the original vinyl mixes. Question: Does the Old Masters version of Freak Out! use the CD remix or the original vinyl mix (or a "tweezed" version thereof)? Help out us!

Answer: Joe Travers confirms that the Old Masters LP used the original mixes.

"Facsimile Bootleg" Vinyl

From Román García Albertos:

Well, I call 'em "facsimile bootlegs", because they reproduce the cover and the label and the vinyl of the original releases. But they aren't. They don't sound very good (well, they sound good, but they're at least second generation), and the covers seem to be xerocopies of the originals. When the original releases were impossible to find and the CD era hadn't come yet, I think this was the only way to hear the records.

From Kristian Kier:

The main differences between the counterfeit and the original are the covers and the matrix numbers. The covers show some damages which weren't caused by handling, they were copied (xeroxed might be the wrong terme, since they seem to be printed professionally) due to photo transfer. Best examples: We're Only In It for the Money and Zappa in New York.

The matrix numbers on the counterfeits are all hand-written. Original records by Verve/Polydor don't have hand-written numbers! That's the easiest way to check wether it's a fake, or not!

From Hasi:

The "hand-written rule" is valid only for European Verve/Polydor pressings, not for Verve US pressings. So if the record you are interested in has a V(6)/5045 number, it should have hand-written matrix numbers.

Kier continues: 

Another clue: Most of these counterfeits do not have track separation between the songs.

I do have the fakes of Freak Out!, Absolutely Free, We're Only In It for the Money, Cruising with Ruben & the Jets, Lumpy Gravy and Zappa in New York (with "Punky's Whips"), all coming from Italy. I remember having seen Roxy & Elsewhere, too.

My Freak Out! fake has blue Verve labels, and is mono, since the bootleggers only copied the left channel to the disc. [!!!] But the real stereo version was available, too, with black labels.

British 1985 Vinyl Re-Issue

From Hasi:

I have a copy of Freak Out! (Zappa Records ZAPPA 1, 1985), but not in the standard gatefold cover - it comes in a single, non-fold-out sleeve. The labels and matrix numbers are identical to the well-known gatefold issue. Front and back cover are also the same as the gatefold, but the artwork from inside the gatefold is printed on high-quality inner sleeves. I don't know if this version had been available in shops or if this was a test or something else. Anyway, I bought it last week (together with test-pressings of Zappa in New York, Roxy & Elsewhere, Burn't Weeny Sandwich and Ship Arriving too Late to Save a Drowning Witch) from the second-hand list from G&S Music. I asked G&S about the single-sleeve Freak Out!, and here is their answer:

Our story is that we think no-one knew about this when it happened - except us! At the time, when we could order new copies of Freak Out! 2-LP gatefold version on Zappa Records ([distributed by] Music for Nations), we made a normal order and received a supply of these records. Most retailers would never know/care/notice this type of discrepancy. We held on to these odd versions, told them about it, and they checked their warehouse stock - it would appear that this was just a small problem and there were a handful that had not been returned to the manufacturer - they weren't really sure, but we had all of the remaining odd-ball units. We immediately re-ordered the proper version also, which they were able to supply immediately, and we put away and actually forgot that we had the odd versions for some time. Anyway, you most likely have quite a collector's item, as there were possibly not that many made and sold - who knows! We do not have any more of these left.

From Román García Albertos:

On the UK Zappa Records vinyl (ZAPPA 1, 1985) the label of side four lists: "1. CREAM CHEESE 12:20" ... so now we know the real name of the son of Monster Magnet :) [It also appeared this way in the Old Masters box 1 booket - Ed.]

Has a (printed) handwritten text over the Freak Map ad (which is greyed but still there, including the address) saying: "Do Not hurry! Do NOT send money to MGM! The map & the L.A. you want to visit does not exist!"

Original CD

partial Re-mix (some obviously re-mixed tracks--like "hungry freaks, daddy"--along with variations on the 1966 stereo mix)

"Hungry Freaks, Daddy," "Who Are the Brain Police," and possibly one or two other songs are remixed from the multi-tracks. The rest of the album is re-equalized, treated with digital reverb, and has its stereo spectrum narrowed.

Extra note from Gary Horowitz:

One of the reasons Zappa so fondly welcomed and embraced the digital medium was because of its promise of a broad dynamic range, which extended to +96 db. So now his albums, freed from the constrictions of vinyl, no longer needed to have the life squeezed out of them by compression.

Compression was used heavily to squash dynamic range on LPs, especially in 1966. Stereo was relatively new and the mastering engineers simply did know how, or did not want to deal with rock and roll, so they just set the disk cutters on "auto-pilot" and walk away until the album side was finished. All bass frequencies below 100 Hz were channeled into the center becuase it would otherwise make the stylus (phonograph needle) jump out of the groove. Ask anyone who has put months of hard work into perfecting the sound of an album, only to be horrified when they hear how the final pressing had butchered and mangled the glorious sounds they had recorded into a thin, lifeless and muddy sounding piece of garbage!

I guess that the record companies didn't mind either because they figured the records would be heavily compressed anyway when played over the air for radio broadcast. This was done to prevent over-modulation in the transmitters. But go figure how often Zappa's records would be played on the radio in the first place! [Ed: Ironically, Zappa seemed all too fond of compression during the later stages of his reissue programmes...]


The first CD was also missing some artwork from the vinyl; this was restored on the 1995 re-issue.


The CD doesn't credit Ray Collins as a co-writer on "Go Cry on Somebody Else's Shoulder", but the original vinyl does. The Old Masters vinyl doesn't.

1995 CD

Official Ryko statement:

New master. New timing sheet. Clicks removed. Restored artwork. "Help, I'm a Rock", which was a "suite in three movements" on the original Verve LP, and was one track on the first CD, is now two tracks - "Help, I'm a Rock" and "It Can't Happen Here." (It appeared this way on the Old Masters LP too.) [full statement]

1995 CD versus the Old CD

The "Hot Poop" Ryko press-release claims that the 1995 Freak Out is a "new master," with a new timing sheet and with "clicks removed." As the '95 disc is still the '80s digital remix, it's hardly surprising to discover that the discs are, in fact, exactly the same. The spacing between tracks does differ slightly. As an aside, where exactly where these "clicks" that were supposedly corrected? I didn't hear any of them. (Versions compared: old Ryko disc, new Ryko disc)


Contains the original stereo mix of "Freak Out!", among countless other goodies. If you want the original LP version of "Freak Out!," this is the one to get.

Japanese Paper-Sleeve Version (2001-2002)

Starting in 2001, Video Arts Music released a limited-edition series (2000 copies each) of Zappa CDs in paper sleeves - miniature LP sleeves. There was nothing special about this series other than the covers, which were very well done - inserts and "bonuses" were reproduced, the albums that originally had gatefold covers got little miniature gatefolds, and cover track lists were exactly as on the corresponding LPs, even in cases where the CD has bonus tracks or a different track order. Included in this series were some entries that never had "proper" LP issues, i.e. Läther. Additionally, some rarities--like the "green/gold" cover of Chunga's Revenge--were reproduced as special items in this run.

We need to stress that the sound quality of these discs matches the US Ryko issues, which they are clearly derived from. These are collectors items, not new remastered editions.

Late-2012-update: It appears as if the Japanese may be warming up the mini-LP ovens for a new batch based on the 2012 UMe remasters. We'll let you know if this happens.

1995 Cassette

From James Kelly:

The modern cassette of Freak Out! is apparently identical to the [1995] Ryko CD. I have owned Freak Out! on cassette, CD and vinyl so I would know if there were differences.  The cassette has the original track order up to "Trouble Every Day" on side 1 and then begins with "Help, I'm a Rock" on side 2.

To me, "Help, I'm a Rock", "It Can't Happen Here" and "Return of the Son of Monster Magnet" should all go together, because that is the way I originally heard them (the cassette was my first copy of Freak Out!). Thus I was very surprised when I got a 1966 pressing of the vinyl, and "Help, I'm a Rock" was at the end of side 3! To me, that totally screwed up the continuity - that is, the continuity was screwed up from the beginning. I much prefer the later arrangement.

One thing I hated was the lop-sided playing times. Side 1 was 40:00 long, but side 2 was only 24:00. Thus there was 16:00 of blank tape at the end of side 2. For years I had nothing but a

Freak Out 2012

Walkman, so I learned to HATE this feature of certain cassettes. I was glad that both sides of Broadway the Hard Way were the same length.

2012 UMe CD

Freak Out! was reissued in 2012 when the catalog passed to UMe. The artwork is different, but the audio is reported to match the previous, non-MoFo CDs; in other words, it's the partial remix. However, Laservampire notes:

I've found a couple of differences between the Ryko and 2012 CDs of FO and Money, in the form of low level digital errors, probably resulting from deterioration of the digital master tapes. Fortunately the errors are so small they are inaudible.

Vaultmeister Joe Travers explains:

[T]he 1630 masters were in wretched shape by the time we transferred them in 2008. That Ampex tape stock is so problematic, they had to be baked in order to retrieve the data. FYI, we also had to do that for almost all of the 1630 Digital House Masters that the catalog lived on. It took almost a year to treat & save all of those tapes. UGH.

Román points out some side-effects of re-type-setting the booklet:

On my European copy, the last name of the big "Contributors" list, i.e., "PAUL BUFF," is deleted.

Also, there is one "I" missed in "COMPOSITIONS," so it reads:


2013 Zappa Records 180 Gram LP Reissue

(deets and reviews forthcoming)

HUNGRY FREAKS Bootleg Single-LP Picture Disc

This album has also been bootlegged, on one picture disc, under the title Hungry Freaks.


The Freak Out! album once appeared on a misprinted CD of The Raspberries' Greatest Hits. Stephen Bagger tells the story:

While shopping at the used CD store, I went to preview the handful of CDs I'd taken from the racks. By chance, the previous shopper had left a CD labeled "The Raspberries Greatest Hits" in the player. I didn't know that more than two Raspberries hits existed, so I decided to listen to the disk. Imagine my surprise when I heard the opening bars to "Hungry Freaks, Daddy" - surely this was a mistake? Yes, it was - the jewel case contained a bee-yootiful picture of Eric Carmen & The Raspberries in full pouty regalia, and the disk itself was silkscreened with a tracklist of Raspberry songs, but was encoded with the lovely skank of the MOI.

$6.00 (US) later, I was the proud owner of this musical bastard. I even called 818-PUMPKIN to ask if anyone there knew about someone selling ripoffs. The gentleman who answered seemed perturbed that I'd called to inform him of such unpleasantry as it had invaded his naptime (and I wasn't making a pu***ase).

This pressing was issued by ZAP! records in England. Has anyone else encountered this anomaly?

Harald Langer answers that, and has even more to add:

Yes. On Zappa's birthday last year [1995] there was a small party in Wetzlar/Germany hosted by Harald Koob, a CD dealer specialized in Zappa-related and "progressive rock" stuff. He organized a quiz where you could win some prizes (Zappa-related, you guessed it). When he announced the "Raspberries" CD as a last prize at the end of the party, he set up an evil grin and asked for the name of the orchestra that played on Lumpy Gravy. I smiled at him and replied that fierce grin and stammered the words "Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra & Chorus" from my memory - and got the CD.

What's different is that my CD came (not shrinkwrapped) with the normal booklet and back cover, like the official Zappa Records CD. The CD has the following printed onto it (notice the spelling):

The Raspberries
Overnight Sensation
The Very Best Of The Raspberries
Made in France by MPO
Original Sound Recordings
All Tracks published by MCPS.

(Plus a tracklist.) Harald told me that this CD came to life due to an accident in the press factory. The very first Freak-Out! copies were wrongly labelled and they soon discovered the mistake.


  • Where are these "clicks" on the original CD?
  • Any more cassette details?
  • Any 8-track details?
  • Anything particular about the Old Masters version?
  • Any regional differences?

Additional Informants

Neil in the UK, Remco Takken, Brian J. Bernstein, Patrick Moore, Blackbirdr/PG, Robert Cloos, Mikael Agardsson, Victor Dubiler, Gonçalo, Arno 2000, Harry de Swart, Spencer of G&S Music

home - vinyl vs CDs - weirdo discography - bootlegs - misc - hot lynx - e-mail us at zappa dot patio at gmail dot com 2006-04-22 20:02

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