Frank Zappa

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About this artist

American composer, lyricist, songwriter, guitarist, vocalist, bandleader, conductor, producer, filmmaker.
Born 21 December 1940 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Died 4 December 1993 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Frank Vincent Zappa was of Italian origin, his grandfather having arrived in America from Partinico, Sicily. Frank Zappa grew to be one of the most accomplished composers of the rock idiom, his music combining an understanding and appreciation for such contemporary classical figures as Igor Stravinsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Edgard Varèse. These influences, coupled with an affection for late '50s doo-wop, rock & roll, and skillful guitar-heavy rock, dominated pop in the '70s. However, Zappa was also a keen satirist, whose reserves of scorn and parody seemed bottomless, and whose wicked sense of humor and absurdity continued to delight his numerous fans -- even when his lyrics crossed the broadest bounds of taste.

Zappa was a prolific record-maker, astutely producing massive amounts of music on his own labels of Bizarre Records, Straight, and Barking Pumpkin Records. And through distribution deals with Rykodisc and Rhino Entertainment Company. This after long unhappy associations with industry giants like Warner Bros. Records and the now-defunct MGM. In the '80s, Zappa gained the rights to his old albums and began to reissue them, first on his own and then through Rykodisc. Throughout his recording career Zappa stayed consistently at the forefront of technology, investing in equipment, home-studio facilities and vault storage that would enable the fullest control over production of his works.

In 1988 his official autobiography emerged and he embarked on a world tour. Sadly, that was the end of his live performing when, in late 1991, it was confirmed that Zappa was seriously ill with cancer. Nevertheless, his schedule of album releases continued to be rapid. The (ZFT) continued with his wife (aka ) as the figurehead of the ZFT, until her death in 2015. The ZFT produced numerous posthumous releases and remasters of the back catalog. The children inherited the ZFT and remain in the industry, the force behind "Zappa Plays Zappa" as well as an accomplished guitarist in his own right; , and the more reserved .

Inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 (Performer).