Frank Zappa

Real Name:
Frank Vincent Zappa
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 origins, his grandfather having arrived in America from Partinico, Sicily. Frank Zappa grew to be one of the most accomplished composers of the rock era, 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 also a prolific record-maker in his time, astutely producing massive amounts of music on his own labels of Bizarre Records, Straight & 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 then 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 Zappa Family Trust continues to this day with his wife Gail Zappa (aka Pumpkin (5)) as the figurehead of the ZFT until her death in 2015. The Zappa Family Trust produced numerous posthumous releases and remasters of the back catalog. The children inherited the ZFT and remain in the industry, Dweezil Zappa the force behind "Zappa Plays Zappa" as well as an accomplished guitarist in his own right; Moon Zappa, Diva Zappa and the more reserved Ahmet Zappa.

Inducted into Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 (Performer).
In Groups:


Frank Zappa - Lumpy Gravy album art Frank Zappa Lumpy Gravy (Album) Capitol Records US 1967 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Lumpy Gravy album art Francis Vincent Zappa*, The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus* Francis Vincent Zappa*, The Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus* - Lumpy Gravy (Album) Verve Records Germany 1968 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Hot Rats album art Frank Zappa Hot Rats (Album) Bizarre Records, Reprise Records US 1969 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Chunga's Revenge album art Frank Zappa Chunga's Revenge (Album) Bizarre Records, Reprise Records Portugal 1970 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - 200 Motels album art Frank Zappa 200 Motels (Album) United Artists Records US 1971 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - The Grand Wazoo album art Frank Zappa And The Mothers Frank Zappa And The Mothers - The Grand Wazoo (Album) Reprise Records, Reprise Records, Reprise Records Netherlands 1972 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Live Jam album art John & Yoko* / Plastic Ono Band* With Elephant's Memory* And Invisible Strings, Mothers of invention*, Frank Zappa John & Yoko* / Plastic Ono Band* With Elephant's Memory* And Invisible Strings, Mothers of invention*, Frank Zappa - Live Jam (Album) Parlophone, Parlophone Israel 1972 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Waka / Jawaka - Hot Rats album art Frank Zappa Waka / Jawaka - Hot Rats (Album) Bizarre Records, Reprise Records UK 1972 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Over-Nite Sensation album art Frank Zappa And The Mothers Frank Zappa And The Mothers - Over-Nite Sensation (Album) Discreet Australia 1973 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Apostrophe (') album art Frank Zappa Apostrophe (') (Album) Discreet Canada 1974 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Roxy & Elsewhere album art Zappa* / Mothers* Zappa* / Mothers* - Roxy & Elsewhere (Album) Discreet US 1974 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - One Size Fits All album art Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention* Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention* - One Size Fits All (Album) Discreet US 1975 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Bongo Fury album art Zappa* / Beefheart* / Mothers* Zappa* / Beefheart* / Mothers* - Bongo Fury (Album) Discreet US 1975 Sell This Version
4/1/75 Frank Zappa - Kendun Recorders 4/1/75 album art Frank Zappa Kendun Recorders 4/1/75(LP, S/Sided, TP) Kendun Recorders 4/1/75 US 1975 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Zoot Allures album art Zappa* Zoot Allures (Album) Warner Bros. Records Japan 1976 Sell This Version
Series #4, Show #12 Frank Zappa - Innerview album art Frank Zappa Innerview(LP, Transcription) Innerview Series #4, Show #12 US 1976 Sell This Version
RL 20-6 Frank Zappa - Bongo Fury / Another Live album art Zappa* / Beefheart* / Mothers* / Todd Rundgren's Utopia* Zappa* / Beefheart* / Mothers* / Todd Rundgren's Utopia* - Bongo Fury / Another Live(LP, Transcription) AFRTS RL 20-6 US 1976 Sell This Version
NNC-20 Frank Zappa - 1976 Backstage Special album art Frank Zappa, Jimmy Roach (3) Frank Zappa, Jimmy Roach (3) - 1976 Backstage Special(LP, Transcription, Rad) Music Special Program 20 NNC-20 US 1976 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Zappa In New York album art Frank Zappa Zappa In New York (Album) WEA, Discreet US 1977 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Studio Tan album art Frank Zappa Studio Tan (Album) Discreet Australia 1978 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Sheik Yerbouti album art Frank Zappa Sheik Yerbouti (Album) Zappa Records, Zappa Records UK 1979 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage Act I album art Zappa* Joe's Garage Act I (Album) Zappa Records US 1979 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Sleep Dirt album art Frank Zappa Sleep Dirt (Album) Discreet New Zealand 1979 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Orchestral Favorites album art Frank Zappa Orchestral Favorites (Album) Reprise Records, Discreet Greece 1979 Sell This Version
Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage Acts II & III album art Frank Zappa Joe's Garage Acts II & III (Album) Zappa Records US 1979 Sell This Version

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January 29, 2019
As hard as it is to pick favorite albums from the vast Zappa catalouge, I do have to say I find "You cant do that on stage anymore Vol.2 The Helsinki concert" mindblowing! He had such a amzing band on tour at that time. Just to have Napoleon Murphy Brock, George Duke, Chester Thompson in the same band, playing at their best is just amazing. I highly recomend a listen to that CD.


October 12, 2018
edited 8 months ago
If you are unfamiliar with FZ, and are looking at which albums to delve into, it will all depend on your personal musical preferences, because Frank's music spans a wide range of musical styles.

If you like straight ahead rock, try 'Chunga's Revenge', 'Zoot Allures', 'One Size Fits All', 'Imaginary Diseases', 'Apostrophe', 'Hot Rats', 'Bongo Fury', 'You Are What You Is'.

If you like avant-garde, try 'Uncle Meat', 'Lumpy Gravy', '200 Motels', 'Orchestral Favourites'.

If you like rock mixed with bawdy humour, try 'Live In NYC', 'Joe's Garage', 'Sheik Yerbouti', 'Does Humour Belong In Music'.

If you like Jazz Rock, try 'Grand Wazoo', 'Waka Jawaka', 'Yellow Shark', 'Make A Jazz Noise Here'.

If you like Doo-Wop, try 'Cruising with Reuben & The Jets', 'Cucamonga'.

If you like social satire, try 'Freak Out', 'We're Only In It For The Money', 'Absolutely Free'.

If you like guitar instrumental workouts, try the 'Shut Up & Play Your Guitar' series of albums.


September 22, 2018
Thanks for the all the below help for the "newbies" - which I am. I have avoided Zappa for decades, simply because there is too much, at the same time knowing I would like some (but what?).

So, now I am diving in, with the help of the below. Cheers!


May 12, 2018
A lot of Zappa's releases have been either wrongly listed or duplicated - if you are interested in this problem please consult the post i created on The Mothers master page


April 16, 2016
Check Zappa playing a bicycle on TV in the early 60s via you tube , Frank was hitting on something which amused and also confused his host and audience . Recommended viewing.


April 13, 2016
All of these statements are true below. Frank was a true original. I am a big fan but some of Frank's stuff is just hard on my palette. I feel the real gold nuggets of Frank lie in his sense of arrangement and guitar playing. Unlike some of his contemporaries Frank could really play and his bandmates could too. If you want to be blown away with just sheer musical masterpieces I would start with Zoot Allures and move on to Joe's Garage. Some of the earlier records get weighed down with the weirdo Marimba jazz and off the cuff comedy. But in my opinion Frank really had a composer mind in a rock and roll body. At least on some of his records. And well most of the records were produced and engineered to sound tip top by even by todays standards. The problem with Zappa are that many get turned off by focusing on a couple records. You really have to listen to a lot to find what you like about Zappa. But trust me there is a record for you.....


November 9, 2013
edited over 2 years ago
Frank Zappa was one of rock music's true originals, and one of the very few geniuses to emerge from the rock era.The sheer amount of material this guy was responsible for can be daunting for someone new to his world of musical wonders, so here's a few tips for the "newbies" ! 1.) If you don't have a good sense of humour, then just forget it ! Zappa ain't for you ! 2.) Best to start light, leave the heavier stuff for later ! I'd go for "Apostrophe", "Overnight Sensation" "Hot Rats", or if you fancy being a wee bit adventurous on your first go, the double LP's "You Are What You Is" or "Sheik Yerbouti" would be a good start. 3.) Once you've got a bit of a feel for what he's about, then I'd give The Mothers Of Invention's "We're Only In It For The Money" and "Absolutely Free" a spin. 4.) After all that lot you're fit for "Uncle Meat", "The Grand Wazoo" and "Roxy And Elsewhere" and then you're good to go ! There's a lifetimes worth of musical magic in those Zappa grooves ! So have fun. I did !


July 5, 2009
Frank Zappa's work represents a unique duality of uncompromising note-perfect pieces, from serious instrumental and vocal compositions, to the theater of the aurally and visually absurd- in which was usually hidden a serious underlying message, such as "Thing Fish". This duality can firstly be viewed as a presentation of hugely diverse 'straight' works, touching on his influences and inspirations in doo wop, R & B, blues, musique concrete, classical and the theatre. Secondly, as a range of works interspersed with 'bizarre' pieces of acidic sociopolitical parody that go beyond the superficial expression "novelty record" to publicly expose his acute observations of the seamy underbelly of our oft dysfunctional society.

Zappa adroitly used both these forms, right from his first album in 1966 to the end of his life, maintaining the fact that he was an unparalleled artist who moved with the times and consistently pushed the envelope of musical possibility. He never suffered fools gladly and, as a member of his band, artists needed to be both drug-free and on the money with their chops. An astounding array of artists have worked with Zappa through his career and collectors of these alumni should, without doubt, have these performances with the maestro in their files.

If Zappa had a vice, other than a surfeit of cigarettes and a scorched weeny sandwich habit, it was work. Rather than sticking his money up his renowned nose he spent a huge deal of it on his UMRK home & mobile studios, his instrumentation and his special-effects equipment, each adding to his ability to precisely capture the work in hand. From very early on Zappa would individually record his artist's performances on stage, enabling him to cut or mix selected pieces into a final recording. Later works would also reveal his skills in the art of Xenochrony, as a hitherto unrealized compositional tool. Zappa served his apprenticeship in the area of production as early as 1963 at the Pal Recording Studio in Cucamonga, which he eventually purchased and re-named "Studio Z". It was here that much of the thrust of Zappa's musical direction was formulated working alongside Paul Buff, who produced the surf sounds of The Surfaris & The Chantays among others, and where his future creative associations with artists such as the Magic Band, the Gardner brothers, Euclid James Sherwood, Ray Collins and Don Preston were truly forged. Much of this early material can be found on "The Lost Episodes" CD.

An innate humor and mischievousness, both vocal and instrumental, exists in the overview of Zappa's work. There are many reoccurring "project/object" themes to be discovered, often referred to as his "conceptual continuity", in a list that encompasses the subjects of groupies, dogs, religion, cheapness, mud sharks and sex-aids, to name but a few. By having his entire recorded catalog to hand, Zappa has been able to interject or modify such themes as an additional enjoyment for collectors of his work to mythologize over.

Should you ever find yourself twisted enough to be searching the database for artists such as Edgard Varèse, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Charles Ives, Hubert Sumlin, Baby Ray & The Ferns, Don Van Vliet, Igor Stravinsky, Kurt Weil, Arnold Schoenberg, Conlon Nancarrow, Pierre Boulez, and Nicolas Slonimsky you must also, for the sake of posterity, utter the mantra "And Frank Zappa". An exemplary artist, composer, lyricist, and one of the greatest guitar-players in the history of music, who recorded in excess of 50 albums, and who's work will continue to inspire for generations to come.

Check out a recording in your father's toolshed, on the tour bus, in a closet, or simply on the sofa, today!

January 15, 2006
edited over 13 years ago
A genious composer of music that was litteraly everything and anything. You can't, and will never put a specific stamp on Zappa of what he did at the time of his career. He visited every camp of musical style you can imagine from rock'n roll to funk, soul, jazz, fusion and even Disco. Sometimes he blended styles to give things a more interesting approach and result.
He really took his music seriously from the very beginning when he started his band The Mothers, and had a strong leadership troughout his career to the very end based on strict rules. Like for instance, if you played in his band and used drugs or showed up drunk before a live show, you got fired on the spot. Quite strange and paradoxal in that period around the 60's and 70's were drugs pretty much florished in rock bands at that time.
His live performances was something very unique as well. In the very beginning of the Mothers period it was quite normal to find band-members crawling around on stage and speakers in vivid frenzy DURING the concert, and STILL be able to perform music. And sometimes inviting audience up on stage to sing, talk or do whatever madness they could imagine. These acts are perfectly represented on the 'You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore' Live series. And that stuff never really happens on stage anymore really to be honest. So in a way, Zappa struck a chord with that title.
Frank Zappa also had pretty much control on everything he put his hands on, on stage, in studio and definatly his recordings and licencing rights. After some time, he took complete control over the rights to his recordings.
And when Zappa didn't spend time in the studio, he toured. Music took up every single day of the year non-stop during his most productive period. And get this: Every single live performance he did was recorded. and those recordings are stored in a vault courtesy controled by his wife Gail. So even though Zappa is gone, there are tons of pre-released stuff yet to see the day. Some people has estimated that it would take years to completely go trough the vault of his recordings. It's just up to Gail to decide what to do with everything.
Shame he didn't write a complete autobiography of his career either. He really saw it all, did it all. And he played and collaborated with the best musicians out there. Therefore he rightfully deserve my biggest respect for his music and compositions.


January 30, 2004
God created all men equal. Some men are just a little bit more equal than others. These men are still way behind Frank Zappa. He's an absolute legend for his song writing, stage antics, genius guitar playing, political and social views, humour and beard. For those unlucky souls who have never heard the man do yourselves a favour and take a listen to HotRats, ZootAllures, 200 Motels, Apostrophe or The Yellow Shark.

It's a sin that he died, of prostate cancer, before he could become the president but the world will always be that little bit weirder now that we had him.

Just remember "Don't you eat that yellow snow!"

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