Unexpectedly, Texas became a popular sensation prior to the release of White on Blonde when Chris Evans made the soulful single "Say What You Want" the de facto theme song on his morning program on Radio 1. On the strength of his support, Texas was catapulted to previously unthinkable success, and the majority of the fans who thought the number one single was fine shouldn't have been disappointed with the full-length album. A combination of roots-rock and soul, White on Blonde occasionally has more style than substance, but Sharleen Spiteri's gorgeous vocals and the band's professionalism make the record a charming, ingratiating listen.
By the closing months of 1981 Frank Zappa had already released five albums during that productive year. Three of these records were his instrumental guitar collections - Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar, Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar Some More, and The Return of the Son of Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar - initially sold via mail order but later released through CBS. There was also the live double Tinseltown Rebellion and the 2-LP studio set You Are What You Is, released in September. Zappa also hit the road in September 81, performing a largely domestic tour that criss-crossed the US and took in a couple of shows in Canada between September and Christmas. On board for the tour were Frank s latest touring band, comprising Chad Wackerman on drums, Ed Mann on percussion, Tommy Mars on keyboards, Scott Thunes on bass, with Steve Vai and Ray White on guitar.