Frank Zappa

Guitarist, Singer and Composer Frank Zappa

Full Name: Frank Zappa
Profession: Guitarist, Singer and Composer

United States of America

Biography: Frank Zappa had a varied and multi-talented career as an experimental musician, singer-songwriter, composer, bandleader and filmmaker.

He released his first album as part of the band Mothers of Invention in 1965. Titled "Freak Out it was, unusually for a first album, a double-sided release. The band recorded four albums for the label Verve before Zappa set up his own record label Bizarre Records with Herb Cohen in 1968. Alice Cooper would be the only successful act to be released by the label.

Zappa went on to record a large number of albums - over 60 across his career, while also touring extensively, mainly in the US and Europe. His musical style was diverse, incorporating a wide range of styles such as Doowop, Jazz, R&B and classical modernism. His lyrics often took a satirical and humorous view of society and he was a strong advocate for the freedom of speech. In 1985 he testified before a Senate Committee against the Parents Music Resource Center, that advocated the banning of lyrics with sexual or satanic content.

Zappa died at just 52 of prostate cancer in 1993. He was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and awarded Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 1997.

Born: December 21, 1940
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Generation: Silent Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Dragon
Star Sign: Sagittarius

Died: December 4, 1993 (aged 52)
Cause of Death: Prostate cancer

Married Life

  • 1960-12-28 American musician Frank Zappa weds Kathryn J. Sherman; divorce in 1964
  • 1967-09-21 American musician Frank Zappa weds American secretary Gail Sloatman in civil ceremony in NYC, until his death

Historical Events

  • 1958-06-13 Frank Zappa graduates from Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, California
  • 1969-06-27 Denver Pop Festival opens; 50,000 attend; Frank Zappa, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Jimi Hendrix headline; other performers include Three Dog Night, Tim Buckley, Big Mama Thornton, Johnny Winter, Joe Cocker, and Poco
  • 1971-02-08 Royal Albert Hall cancels scheduled concert featuring Frank Zappa, due to concerns about indecent lyrics
  • 1971-06-06 John Lennon and Yoko Ono appear for an unannounced performance, joining Frank Zappa on stage at Fillmore East in NYC
  • 1971-10-29 Frank Zappa's musical mockumentary "200 Motels", starring The Mothers of Invention, Theodore Bikel, and Ringo Starr premieres in Beverly Hills, California
  • 1972-06-12 Apple Records releases John Lennon and Yoko Ono's political album "Sometime in NYC" in US; includes studio recordings of songs "Woman is the Nigger of the World", "Attica State" and "Luck of the Irish"; and some live tracks from 1971 concert with Frank Zappa
  • 1972-09-15 Apple Records releases John Lennon and Yoko Ono's political album "Sometime in NYC" in UK, delayed by publishing rights dispute; includes some live tracks from 1971 concert with Frank Zappa
  • 1979-05-26 CBS Records releases Frank Zappa's "Dancin' Fool" single from his album "Sheik Yerbouti"; it peaks at #45, his biggest hit at the time
  • 1992-09-17 Frank Zappa conducts The Ensemble Modern in portions of his classical work "The Yellow Shark" in Frankfurt, Germany; receives a 20 minute standing ovation in what is his last public appearance