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.
BORNDecember 21, 1940