Frank Zappa

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Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American musician, bandleader, songwriter, composer, recording engineer, record producer, and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. Zappa produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released with the band The Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. 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; he later switched to electric guitar.

Zappa was a self-taught composer and performer, and his diverse musical influences led him to create music that was often difficult to categorize. 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. His later albums shared this eclectic and experimental approach, irrespective of whether the fundamental format was rock, jazz or classical. His lyrics—often humorously—reflected his iconoclastic view of established social and political processes, structures and movements. 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.

He was a highly productive and prolific artist and gained widespread critical acclaim. He had some commercial success, particularly in Europe, and worked as an independent artist for most of his career. He also remains a major influence on musicians and composers. Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Zappa was married to Kathryn J. "Kay" Sherman from 1960 to 1964. In 1967, he married Adelaide Gail Sloatman, with whom he remained until his death from prostate cancer in 1993. They had four children: Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 71 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and in 2011 at No. 22 on its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".

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Discography

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Album

Year Title Rating Releases
1967 Lumpy Gravy 3.5 7
1969 Hot Rats 4.55 10
1970 Chunga’s Revenge 5
1972 Waka/Jawaka 5 6
1974 Apostrophe (’) 4 6
1976 Zoot Allures 4 7
1978 Studio Tan 3 5
1979 Sleep Dirt 3 5
1979 Sheik Yerbouti 4.35 11
1979 Orchestral Favorites 6
1979 Joe’s Garage: Act I 3.5 3
1979 Joe’s Garage: Acts II & III 3.75 4
1981 You Are What You Is 5 8
1982 Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch 3.5 7
1983 London Symphony Orchestra, Volume 1 1
1983 The Man From Utopia 5 6
1984 Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger 6
1984 Them or Us 5 6
1984 Francesco Zappa 3
1984 Thing‐Fish 3.5 4
1985 Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention 7
1985 We’re Only in It for the Money / Lumpy Gravy 2
1986 Apostrophe (’) / Over‐Nite Sensation 2
1986 The London Symphony Orchestra 1
1986 Jazz From Hell 4.5 6
1987 Joe’s Garage: Acts I, II & III 6
1987 London Symphony Orchestra, Volume II 1
1988 The Man From Utopia / Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch 1
1994 Civilization Phaze III 5 2
1995 London Symphony Orchestra, Volume 1 & 2 2
1996 The Lost Episodes 1
1996 Läther 2
1996 Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute 1
1998 Mystery Disc 2
1999 Everything Is Healing Nicely 1
2003 Ensemble Modern Plays Frank Zappa: Greggery Peccary & Other Persuasions (feat. conductor: Jonathan Stockhammer) 3
2004 Joe's Domage 1
2005 Joe’s XMasage 1
2006 The Making of Freak Out! Project/Object 2
2006 The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle 1
2008 One Shot Deal 1
2009 The Lumpy Money Project/Object: An FZ Audio Documentary 1
2010 “Congress Shall Make No Law…” 1
2011 Feeding the Monkies at Ma Maison 1
2012 Road Tapes Venue #1 1
2012 Finer Moments 1
2012 The Lost Episodes 1
2013 A Token of His Extreme 1
2014 Roxy by Proxy 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Rating Releases
1982 Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar Compilation 9

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