Willie the Pimp

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"Willie the Pimp"
Song by Frank Zappa
from the album Hot Rats
ReleasedOctober 10, 1969
Songwriter(s)Frank Zappa
Producer(s)Frank Zappa

"Willie the Pimp" is a song from Frank Zappa's 1969 album Hot Rats. It features an idiosyncratic Captain Beefheart vocal and one of Zappa's classic guitar solos. It is the only track that is not instrumental on the album, though the track features a long guitar solo.

The song appeared as an instrumental on Zappa's Fillmore East – June 1971, originally split as the last track on side one (2'50") and continued on the first track on side two (1:54) of the LP. Another short instrumental version appeared on You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 4 as a 2'06" segue between "My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama" and "Montana".

The album title Hot Rats comes from a lyric of Willie the Pimp. The origin of the song was explained in a conversation Zappa recorded in 1969. This interview recording was later released as "The Story of Willie the Pimp" on the Zappa album Mystery Disc.

The song was ranked number 75 on the list of "The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time" of Rolling Stone.[4]


Hot Rats version[edit]

Fillmore East[edit]

You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 4[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

  • Juicy Lucy covered "Willie the Pimp" on their 1970 release Lie Back and Enjoy It, their version was included in Andy Votel's compilation Vertigo Mixed, released in 2005.
  • Aynsley Dunbar recorded a 14'55" version with his band Blue Whale in 1971. Dunbar was the drummer for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention at the time the album was released.
  • Stack Waddy on their 1972 album Bugger Off!.


  1. ^ O'Neal, Sean (November 21, 2017). "Can you be a fan of Frank Zappa but not his music?". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  2. ^ Farber, Jim (December 13, 2019). "'He was a musical warlock': reflecting on Frank Zappa's greatest album at 50". The Guardian. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  3. ^ Greene, Doyle (2016). Rock, Counterculture and the Avant-Garde, 1966-1970: How the Beatles, Frank Zappa and the Velvet Underground Defined an Era. McFarland. p. 122. ISBN 978-1-4766-2403-7.
  4. ^ "The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 29, 2010. Retrieved March 7, 2021.