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 posthumous releases and remasters of the back catalog. His family remain in the industry, his wife Gail Zappa (aka Pumpkin (5)) the figurehead of the ZFT; 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).
Frank Zappa Discography
- 8 Remix
- 117 Vocals
- 198 Instruments & Performance
- 772 Writing & Arrangement
- 12 Featuring & Presenting
- 75 Conducting & Leading
- 219 Production
- 59 Technical
- 33 Visual
- 52 Acting, Literary & Spoken