Frank Zappa's
Memories of El Monte

Frank Zappa

“Memories of El Monte” was written by Frank Zappa and Ray Collins before they were in the Mothers of Invention.

In 1960, Art Laboe released one of the first oldies compilation, “Memories of El Monte”. A collection of songs by bands that used to play at the dances Laboe organized at El Monte Legion Stadium in El Monte, California.

At some point in the next few years Ray Collins visited Frank Zappa at his house in Ontario California Frank told him that he and a friend had thought of writing a song entitled “Memories of El Monte.” Ray had been at the dances at El Monte Legion Stadium and had played there with tenor saxophonist Chuck Higgins. Ray sat down at Frank’s piano, played the “Earth Angel” chord changes and immediately came up with the first lyrics for “Memories of El Monte”. Frank Zappa took the song to Art Loboe, who loved it. Laboe came up with the idea of adding a section that named doo-wop groups and having the Penguins impersonate their songs. The song functions as a de facto advertisement for the collection “Memories of El Monte” when it references songs on the compilation.

Although, the track is credited to the Penguins featuring Cleve Duncan, and Zappa claimed it was recorded by “a bunch of guys from the car wash,” it was actually sung by Cleve Duncan of the Penguins, backed by the Viceroys.

It was one of the first songs that Frank Zappa wrote the he was able to get released. It is a doo-wop style song. Zappa’s contention was that the music that was happening during the 50’s was one of the finest things in American music. “Memories of El Monte” was popular on the radio sold well in a variety of markets but it did not chart nationally. It was a local hit, and led Cleve Duncan to reform the Penguins who had broken up around 1959. It is now considered perennial favorite.

Source: Wikipedia

Memories of El Monte

I'm all alone
Feeling so blue
Thinking about you
And the love we once knew
And each time I do
It brings back those memories
Of El Monte

Remember the dance
I held you so tight
The Satins were singing
In the still of the night
You gave me your heart
And your love undying
Now I'm alone . . .
I'm sitting here crying

If only they have
Those dances again
I'd know where to find you
And all my old friends
The Shields would sing . . .
"You cheated. You lied . . ."
And the Heartbeats . . .
"You're a thousand miles away . . ."
And the Medallions with "The Letter" and . . .
"Sweet words of his mortality . . ."
Marvin and Johnny with . . .
"Cherry Pie . . ."
And then, Tony Allen with . . .
"Night owl . . ."
And I, Cleve Duncan, along with the Penguins will sing . . .
"Earth Angel
Earth Angel
Will you be mine?"
At El Monte

If I could go back
To those days of the past
I'd show you a love . . .
A love that would last
Oh, I remember
Those wonderful dances
In El Monte
In El Monte
"Earth angel
Earth Angel
Will you be mine?"
At El Monte

Dog breath, in the year of the plague

Please, hear my plea!

Cucuroo carucha (chevy '39)
Going to el monte legion stadium
Pick up on my weesa (she is so divine)
Helps me stealing hub caps
Wasted all the time

Fuzzy dice
Bongos in the back
My ship of love is
Ready to attack

Primer mi carucha (chevy '39)
Going to el monte legion stadium
Pick up on my weesa (she is so divine)
Helps me stealing hub caps
Wasted all the time

Fuzzy dice
Bongos in the back
My ship of love
Ready to attack
Won't you please hear my plea

Primer mi carucha (chevy '39)
Going to el monte legion stadium
Pick up on my weesa (she is so divine)
Helps me stealing hub caps
Wasted all the time

Fuzzy dice
Bongos in the back
My ship of love
Ready to attack