Frank Zappa

~ Person


The Mothers of Invention have their own entry. Please do not add CDs by the Mothers to this artist.

Annotation last modified on 2013-10-20 17:56 UTC.

Also performs as: Kansas J. Kanzus


Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American musician, composer, songwriter, producer, guitarist, actor, and filmmaker whose work is characterized by nonconformity, free-form improvisation, sound experiments, musical virtuosity, and satire of American culture. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works, and produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. Zappa also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. He is considered one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse rock musicians of his generation.

As a self-taught composer and performer, Zappa's diverse musical influences led him to create music that was sometimes difficult to categorize. While in his teens, he acquired a taste for 20th-century classical composers such as Edgard Varèse, Igor Stravinsky, and Anton Webern, along with 1950s rhythm and blues music. He began writing classical music in high school, while at the same time playing drums in rhythm and blues bands; later switching to electric guitar. His 1966 debut album with the Mothers of Invention, Freak Out!, combined songs in conventional rock and roll format with collective improvisations and studio-generated sound collages. He continued this eclectic and experimental approach, irrespective of whether the fundamental format was rock, jazz or classical.

Zappa's output is unified by a conceptual continuity he termed "Project/Object", with numerous musical phrases, ideas, and characters reappearing across his albums. His lyrics reflected his iconoclastic views of established social and political processes, structures and movements, often humorously so. He was a strident critic of mainstream education and organized religion, and a forthright and passionate advocate for freedom of speech, self-education, political participation and the abolition of censorship. Unlike many other rock musicians of his era, he personally disapproved of and seldom used drugs, but supported their decriminalization and regulation.

During Zappa's lifetime, he was a highly productive and prolific artist, earning widespread acclaim from critics and fellow musicians. He had some commercial success, particularly in Europe, and worked as an independent artist for most of his career. He remains a major influence on musicians and composers. His honors include an induction into the 1995 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the 1997 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at number 71 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and in 2011 at number 22 on its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1967 Lumpy Gravy Frank Zappa 3.5 8
1969 Hot Rats Frank Zappa 4.55 11
1970 Chunga’s Revenge Frank Zappa 5
1972 Waka/Jawaka Frank Zappa 5 6
1974 Apostrophe (’) Frank Zappa 4 6
1976 Zoot Allures Frank Zappa 4 7
1978 Studio Tan Frank Zappa 3 6
1979 Sleep Dirt Frank Zappa 3 5
1979 Sheik Yerbouti Frank Zappa 4.5 12
1979 Orchestral Favorites Frank Zappa 7
1979 Joe’s Garage: Act I Frank Zappa 3.5 3
1979 Joe’s Garage: Acts II & III Frank Zappa 3.75 4
1981 You Are What You Is Frank Zappa 5 11
1981 Return of the Son of Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar Frank Zappa 1
1981 Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar Some More Frank Zappa 1
1982 Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch Frank Zappa 3.5 8
1983 London Symphony Orchestra, Volume 1 Frank Zappa 1
1983 The Man From Utopia Frank Zappa 5 6
1984 Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger Frank Zappa 8
1984 Them or Us Frank Zappa 5 7
1984 Francesco Zappa Francesco Zappa; Frank Zappa 3
1984 Thing‐Fish Frank Zappa 3.5 5
1985 Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention Frank Zappa 7
1985 We’re Only in It for the Money / Lumpy Gravy Frank Zappa 2
1986 Apostrophe (’) / Over‐Nite Sensation Frank Zappa 2
1986 The London Symphony Orchestra Frank Zappa 1
1986 Jazz From Hell Frank Zappa 4.35 6
1986 London Symphony Orchestra Frank Zappa 1
1987 Joe’s Garage: Acts I, II & III Frank Zappa 6
1987 London Symphony Orchestra, Volume II Frank Zappa 1
1987 Blood on the Canvas Eric Bogosian & Frank Zappa 1
1988 The Man From Utopia / Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch Frank Zappa 1
1994 Civilization Phaze III Frank Zappa 5 2
1995 London Symphony Orchestra, Volume 1 & 2 Frank Zappa 2
1996 Läther Frank Zappa 2
1996 Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute Frank Zappa 1
1998 Mystery Disc Frank Zappa 2
1999 Everything Is Healing Nicely Frank Zappa 1
2003 Ensemble Modern Plays Frank Zappa: Greggery Peccary & Other Persuasions Frank Zappa; Ensemble Modern, Jonathan Stockhammer 3
2004 Joe's Domage Frank Zappa 1
2005 Joe’s XMasage Frank Zappa 1
2006 The Making of Freak Out! Project/Object Frank Zappa 2
2006 The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle Frank Zappa 1
2008 One Shot Deal Frank Zappa 1
2009 The Lumpy Money Project/Object: An FZ Audio Documentary Frank Zappa 1
2010 “Congress Shall Make No Law…” Frank Zappa 1
2011 Feeding the Monkies at Ma Maison Frank Zappa 2
2012 Finer Moments Frank Zappa 1
2013 A Token of His Extreme Frank Zappa 1
2014 Roxy by Proxy Frank Zappa 1
2014 Perfect Strangers Heiner Goebbels, Frank Zappa; The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Thomas Søndergård 1
2015 Dance Me This Frank Zappa 1
2015 The Muffin Man Goes to College Frank Zappa featuring Captain Beefheart 1
2016 Frank Zappa for President Frank Zappa 1
2016 The Crux of the Biscuit Frank Zappa 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1981 Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar Frank Zappa 10
1985 The Old Masters Zappa 1
1987 The Old Masters, Box Three Frank Zappa 1
1988 Cucamonga Frank Zappa 4
1988 You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore (sampler) Zappa 1
1995 Strictly Commercial: The Best of Frank Zappa Frank Zappa 6
1995 Kill Ugly Radio Some More Frank Zappa 1
1996 The Lost Episodes Frank Zappa 2
1996 Return of the Son of Kill Ugly Radio Frank Zappa 1
1997 Have I Offended Someone? Frank Zappa 2
1997 Strictly Genteel: A Classical Introduction to Frank Zappa Frank Zappa 1
1997 Cucamonga Years: The Early Works of Frank Zappa (1962–1964) Frank Zappa 1
1998 Son of Cheep Thrills Frank Zappa 1
1998 Cheap Thrills Frank Zappa 1
1998 How's Your Bird? Frank Zappa 1
2000 Threesome No. 2 (Hot Rats / Waka/Jawaka / The Grand Wazoo) Frank Zappa 1
2002 Zappa Picks – by Larry LaLonde of Primus Frank Zappa 1
2002 Zappa Picks—by Jon Fishman of Phish Frank Zappa 1
2004 The Best Of Frank Zappa 1
2004 Joe's Corsage Frank Zappa 1
2008 Broadcast Rarities Frank Zappa 1
2010 The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAAAA Birthday Bundle 21.Dec.2010 Frank Zappa 1
2012 Understanding America Frank Zappa 1
2012 Baby Snakes the Compleat Soundtrack Frank Zappa 1
2014 Joe's Camouflage Frank Zappa 1
The Sheik's Rehearsals Frank Zappa 1
Threesome No. 1 (Freak Out! / Absolutely Free / We're Only in It for the Money) Frank Zappa 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1977 Zappa in New York Frank Zappa 8
1978 Saarbrücken 1978 Frank Zappa 3
1981 Tinsel Town Rebellion Frank Zappa 9
1982 Baby Snakes Frank Zappa 6
1986 Does Humor Belong in Music? Frank Zappa 3
1988 Guitar Frank Zappa 5
1988 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Volume 1 Frank Zappa 4
1988 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Volume 2 Frank Zappa 3
1988 Broadway the Hard Way Frank Zappa 5
1989 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Volume 3 Frank Zappa 3
1991 The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life Frank Zappa 5
1991 Make a Jazz Noise Here Frank Zappa 5
1991 You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Volume 4 Frank Zappa 4
1991 Anyway the Wind Blows Frank Zappa 2
1991 As An Am Frank Zappa 1
1991 Freaks & Motherfu*#@%! Frank Zappa 1
1992 Conceptual Continuity Frank Zappa 1
1992 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Volume 5 Frank Zappa 3

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