Frank Zappa was one of rock’s true oddballs, innovators and all-around contradictory guys. He made freak-out music but didn’t take drugs. He turned out tons of music every year but had little interest in being a star. And he developed a cult reputation while composing and playing music that never stayed in one place. He was born in Baltimore and came of age in the ’60s, when he recorded doo-wop music and other pop forms. By 1965 he had formed the Mothers of Invention, one of rock’s most influential groups. Their early albums were pointed, political affairs that also skewed pop culture and the mainstream that was consuming American youth. He made a couple movies, turned out solo albums that ranged from instrumental works to full-on rock operas and explored music from jazz and classical to pop and prog. He died of cancer at the age of 52 in 1993.
Born: December 21, 1940
Died: December 4, 1993
Selected Discography: 'Freak Out!' (1967), 'Absolutely Free' (1967), 'We're Only in It for the Money' (1968)
Like much of the material that came out under Frank Zappa's name in the late '70s, 1979's 'Sleep Dirt' has a complicated history. Also like much of the work that ended the artist's most prolific decade, 'Sleep Dirt' had its roots in a shelved, four-LP set that Zappa's record company refused to release.
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