Frank Zappa

Birth Name Frank Vincent Zappa
Born December 21, 1940 Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Died December 4, 1993 (aged 52)
Genres Rock, blues, experimental, jazz, classical, pop, avant-garde, doo-wop
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass synclavier, synthesizer keyboards, piano,
drums, percussion
Associated acts The Mothers of Invention, Captain Beefheart

Frank Vincent Zappa[nb 1] (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American multi-instrumentalist musician, composer, and bandleader. His work is characterized by nonconformity, free-form improvisation, sound experiments, musical virtuosity, and satire of American culture. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works, and produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist.

Video Playlist
1/3 videos
Montana (A Token of His Extreme)
Montana (A Token of His Extreme)
Watermelon in Easter Hay
Watermelon in Easter Hay
Bobby Brown
Bobby Brown

Zappa also directed feature-length films and music videos and designed album covers. He is considered one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse rock musicians of his era.

As a self-taught composer and performer, Zappa’s diverse musical influences led him to create music that was sometimes difficult to categorize. While in his teens, he acquired a taste for 20th-century classical modernism, African-American rhythm and blues, and doo-wop music. He began writing classical music in high school, while at the same time playing drums in rhythm and blues bands, later switching to electric guitar. His 1966 debut album with the Mothers of Invention, Freak Out!, combined songs in conventional rock and roll format with collective improvisations and studio-generated sound collages. He continued this eclectic and experimental approach, irrespective of whether the fundamental format was rock, jazz or classical.

Zappa’s output is unified by a conceptual continuity he termed “Project/Object”, with numerous musical phrases, ideas, and characters reappearing across his albums. His lyrics reflected his iconoclastic views of established social and political processes, structures and movements, often humorously so, and he has been described as the “godfather” of comedy rock. He was a strident critic of mainstream education and organized religion, and a forthright and passionate advocate for freedom of speech, self-education, political participation and the abolition of censorship. Unlike many other rock musicians of his generation, he personally disapproved of drugs but supported their decriminalization and regulation.

Top 3 Frank Zappa Recordings




How To Play Guitar Like Frank Zappa

The Real Frank Zappa Book: Autobiography

Recounts the life and career of the inventive and controversial rock musician, and includes information on his philosophies on art, his opinions on the music industry, and his thoughts on raising children.



The Big Note

A Guide to the Recordings of Frank Zappa. The Big Note is the complete guide to the music of Frank Zappa —, providing detailed notes about 1800+ tracks on 100 albums recorded over 35 years, backed up by more than 1,600 citations. The Big Note provides the liner notes that every album in the protean and prolific composer’s oeuvre cries out for.