Frank Zappa Photography

Frank Zappa

Throughout his 30-year career, there was never an easy way to classify Frank Zappa—singer/songwriter, musician, producer, filmmaker, actor, activist. Leading the Mothers of Invention in the 1960s and ’70s, followed by extensive solo strides, this prolific performer released more than sixty albums spanning rock, jazz, classical, and avant-garde genres.

Although never very successful commercially, this social and politically conscious songwriter made major waves within critical and creative communities. He influenced a diverse crop of contemporaries, including Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, George Clinton, and even the Beatles, right up through newer alternative favorites such as System of a Down, Phish’s Trey Anastasio and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ John Frusciante.

Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and earned a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award two years later. He is survived by children Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet, and Diva—all of whom entered the arts—with Dweezil specifically paying tribute to his pops through his “Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa” tribute tour.

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