Frank Zappa


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About Frank Zappa

Singer, guitarist, and composer Frank Zappa got his start writing avant-garde performance pieces for his high school orchestra in the ’50s, before turning to rock. ∙ Zappa and future bandmate Ray Collins cowrote “Memories of El Monte,” which became a doo-wop hit for The Penguins in 1963. ∙ In 1966, his band The Mothers of Invention released the satirical concept record Freak Out, rock’s first-ever two-disc debut album. ∙ The Mothers’ 1971 performance at the Montreux Casino inspired Deep Purple to write one of rock’s greatest anthems, “Smoke On the Water.” ∙ 1974’s Apostrophe (’)—featuring the Pop hit “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow”—peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart, giving the Mothers their only Gold record. ∙ “Valley Girl,” which Zappa recorded with his 14-year-old daughter, Moon, in 1982, was his first and only Top 40 hit. ∙ He won his first of two Grammy Awards in 1987, when Jazz From Hell was named Best Rock Instrumental Performance. ∙ In 1995, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Lou Reed, and his daughter, Moon, delivered the acceptance speech. ∙ Former New York Philharmonic director and composer Pierre Boulez released the critically acclaimed Boulez Conducts Zappa in 1998.

Baltimore, MD, United States
December 21, 1940
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