Muffin Man is a song recorded live by Frank Zappa and The Mothers. It appears on his 1975 mostly live album Bongo Fury made with Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet). The song begins with studio-recorded spoken word lyrics delivered by Zappa and is followed by the chorus. The song was inspired by the traditional nursery rhyme, The Muffin Man. The song closes the album, as well as the compilation Strictly Commercial, and was also used as a finale in concerts for many years afterwards. The song's tone was compared to Jimi Hendrix's style.
In the Spring of 1975 Frank Zappa and his famed Mothers went on tour with long-time collaborator Captain Beefheart. The "mostly live" Bongo Fury came out in October of the same year. The album concludes with a bit of Zappa absurdity that would become a concert favourite in years to come.
Muffin Man consists of three separate segments, a studio-recorded preamble and a live chorus followed by an extended guitar solo. In it Zappa tells of the Muffin Man, more a muffin scientist than an ordinary muffin enthusiast, who takes a break from his important work at the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen to expound of the glories of his most beloved pastry. Of course Muffin Man's real greatness comes not from the amusing story, but from Zappa's transcendent guitar. Zappa was a legendarily talented and prolific artist who willed himself to the outer limits of popular music.
He is remembered for his humorous, crude and confrontational lyrics, dedication to the rights of free speech, and contempt for the musical mainstream, but is sometimes overlooked as a guitar player. With a devilish Gibson SG, he produced some of the most frantically explosive guitar work ever committed to vinyl. "Muffin Man" stands as the greatest testament to his virtuosity.