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Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

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.

Evening Standard, Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Evening Standard, Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Frank Zappa’s Estate Planning Major Series of Reissues, New Releases

Hold onto your wallets, Frank Zappa fans.

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Getty Images
Getty Images

47 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Releases His First Solo Album Away From Mothers, ‘Lumpy Gravy’

Frank Zappa's first solo album, Lumpy Gravy, was released in May 1968.

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Ron Case, Getty Images
Ron Case, Getty Images

46 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Mixes Genres on the Experimental ‘Uncle Meat’

By the time Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention released their fifth album, Uncle Meat, in April 1969, it was evident that he was a creative, prolific and adventurous force.

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Evening Standard, Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Evening Standard, Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Frank Zappa’s Last Album to Be Released in June

The last album Frank Zappa completed before his death from cancer on Dec. 4, 1993, will be released in June.

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Zappa Records
Zappa Records

36 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Releases ‘Sheik Yerbouti’

On many levels — creative, personal, and business-related — 1979 would go down as a banner year in the long and storied career of Frank Zappa.

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Bizarre / Reprise
Bizarre / Reprise

45 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Cooks Up a ‘Burnt Weeny Sandwich’

After guiding the Mothers of Invention to significant critical respect and even modest commercial success over the second half of the ‘60s, Frank Zappa welcomed 1970 as a newly minted solo artist.

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Frank Zappa
Evening Standard, Getty Images

43 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Pushed Offstage in London

Frank Zappa's live shows, much like his studio albums, were regarded as much for their irreverent playfulness as their technical virtuosity.

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Ron Case, Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Ron Case, Hulton Archive, Getty Images

45 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Puts the Mothers Behind Him

Several months after the release of the fifth Mothers of Invention album, 'Uncle Meat,' in March 1969, Frank Zappa pulled the plug, at least for now, on the band.

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Gary Merrin, Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Gary Merrin, Hulton Archive, Getty Images

35 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Makes Another Pointed Political Statement on ‘Joe’s Garage Act I’

Frank Zappa once referred to 'Joe's Garage' as a "stupid little story about how the government is going to do away with music."

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Frank Zappa

40 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Releases ‘Apostrophe (‘)’

Frank Zappa's most commercially successful album was released on March 22, 1974.

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