Frank Zappa (American musician, composer, activist and filmmaker)

~ 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 .

Also performs as: Kansas J. Kanzus


Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American musician, composer, activist and filmmaker. His 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 era.

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 and doo-wop 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. Zappa's often comedic lyrics led AllMusic to describe him as the "godfather" of comedy rock. 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 generation, he personally disapproved of drugs and never used them again after briefly trying marijuana, but supported their decriminalization and regulation.

During Zappa's lifetime, he was a highly productive and prolific artist with a controversial critical standing; supporters of his music admired its compositional complexity, while critics found it lacking emotional depth. 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 his 1995 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the 1997 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2000, he was ranked number 36 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. 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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Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
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 5 9
1978 Saarbrücken 1978 Frank Zappa 4
1979 Orchestral Favorites Frank Zappa 8
1981 Tinsel Town Rebellion Frank Zappa 10
1986 Does Humor Belong in Music? Frank Zappa 4
1988 Guitar Frank Zappa 6
1988 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Volume 1 Frank Zappa 4
1988 Broadway the Hard Way Frank Zappa 9
1988 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Volume 2 Frank Zappa 4
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 2
1992 Beat the Boots! II Frank Zappa 1
1992 Conceptual Continuity Frank Zappa 1
1992 You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Volume 5 Frank Zappa 5
1992 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Volume 6 Frank Zappa 5
1992 Playground Psychotics Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention 4
1992 Electric Aunt Jemima Frank Zappa 1
1993 The Yellow Shark Frank Zappa 5
1993 Zappa's Universe Frank Zappa 1
2002 FZ:OZ Frank Zappa 1
2003 Halloween Frank Zappa 1
2005 The Dub Room Special! Frank Zappa 2
2006 Imaginary Diseases Frank Zappa 1
2006 Trance-Fusion Frank Zappa 1
2007 Buffalo Frank Zappa 1
2007 Wazoo Frank Zappa 1
2007 Zappa in Barcelona Frank Zappa 1
2008 Joe's Menage Frank Zappa 1
2009 Philly '76 Frank Zappa 4 1
2010 Hammersmith Odeon Frank Zappa 1
2012 Road Tapes, Venue #1 Frank Zappa 1
2013 Road Tapes, Venue #2 Frank Zappa 1
2014 Roxy by Proxy Frank Zappa 1
2015 Roxy the Movie Frank Zappa & The Mothers 5 2
2015 200 Motels: The Suites Frank Zappa 1
2016 Road Tapes, Venue #3 Frank Zappa 2
2016 Chicago ’78 Frank Zappa 3
2016 Little Dots Frank Zappa 1
2017 Halloween 77 Frank Zappa 5 2
2018 The Roxy Performances Zappa / Mothers 5 1

Album + Soundtrack + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1982 Baby Snakes Frank Zappa 10
2012 Baby Snakes: The Compleat Soundtrack Frank Zappa 1

Album + Remix

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2004 QuAUDIOPHILIAc Frank Zappa 1

Album + Soundtrack

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1971 200 Motels Frank Zappa 3


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1979 Dancin’ Fool Frank Zappa 2
1980 I Don’t Wanna Get Drafted / Ancient Armaments Frank Zappa 1
1982 Valley Girl Frank Zappa 1
1984 True Glove Frank Zappa 1
1987 Peaches en Regalia Frank Zappa 1
1988 Montana (Whipping Floss) Frank Zappa 1
1988 Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Frank Zappa 1
1988 Zomby Woof Frank Zappa 1
1991 Bobby Brown Frank Zappa 2
1991 Bobby Brown Frank Zappa 1
1991 Stairway to Heaven Frank Zappa 1
2013 I’m The Slime Frank Zappa 1
Sharleena / Bognor Regis Frank Zappa 1

EP + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2014 The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle 21.12.2014 Frank Zappa 1

EP + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2017 Rollo / Portland Improvisation Frank Zappa 1

Other + Spokenword

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2004 The Classic Interviews Frank Zappa 1

Broadcast + DJ-mix

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1980 1980-01-27: Star Special, Radio One, BBC, London, UK Frank Zappa 1

Broadcast + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2018 Recorded Live in Munich, July 1980 Frank Zappa 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
Project-Object Frank Zappa 1
The Lost Solos Frank Zappa 1
The Return of the Son of the Lost Solos Frank Zappa 1
The String Quartet Frank Zappa 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1992 Early Works 1963–1964 Frank Zappa 1
1994 Rare Meat: Early Works of Frank Zappa Frank Zappa 2
1995 I Don't Wanna Get Drafted Frank Zappa 1
Strictly Bonus Frank Zappa 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1979 Baby Snakes Live in New York Frank Zappa 1
1988 Live – Over 20 Years Old Frank Zappa 1
2014 Providence College, Rhode Island, April 26th 1975 Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart 1

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