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Frank Vincent Zappa[1] (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, singer-songwriter, electric guitarist, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. Zappa produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released with the band The Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. While in his teens, he acquired a taste for percussion-based avant-garde composers such as Edgard Varèse and 1950s rhythm and blues music. He began writing classical music in high school, while at the same time playing drums in rhythm and blues bands; he later switched to electric guitar.

He was a self-taught composer and performer, and his diverse musical influences led him to create music that was often impossible to categorize. 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. His later albums shared this eclectic and experimental approach, irrespective of whether the fundamental format was one of rock, jazz or classical. His lyrics—often humorously—reflected his iconoclastic view of established social and political processes, structures and movements. 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.

Zappa was a highly productive and prolific artist and gained widespread critical acclaim. He had some commercial success, particularly in Europe, and for most of his career was able to work as an independent artist. He also remains a major influence on musicians and composers. Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Zappa was married to Kathryn J. "Kay" Sherman from 1960 to 1964. In 1967, he married Adelaide Gail Sloatman, with whom he remained until his death from prostate cancer in 1993. They had four children: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Gail Zappa manages the businesses of her late husband under the name the Zappa Family Trust.

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Frank Zappa is one of the most known and most prolific composers of the modern age. He always wanted to be, and though of himself primarily as, a Classical composer, although he realized that if he actually wanted to have his music heard, he'd have to do Rock music -- though he didn't seem to have much beef with Rock as some classical-type guys -- after all, the experimental nature of some forms of Rock and the acceptance of studio experimentation in that genre more than others allowed Frank Zappa to do the types of things he wanted to do anyway -- the only real concession he had to make was to add lyrics for the American Pop Music Consumer to listen. Given time, though, he was able to do straight Classical compositions as well as Jazz and Rock. Shortly before his death, he collaborated with Johnny "Guitar" Watson and Hun-Huur-Tu with a combination of each of their styles, but outside of a brief appearnace in a documentary film for UK TV, the sessions have not been released.


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