Frank Zappa (US musician, composer, activist & filmmaker)

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The Mothers of Invention have their own entry. Please do not add CDs by the Mothers to this artist.

Annotation last modified on 2013-10-20 17:56 UTC.

Also performs as: Kansas J. Kanzus


Frank Vincent Zappa ( ZAP; December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American musician, composer, and bandleader. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works; he also produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. His work is characterized by nonconformity, improvisation sound experimentation, musical virtuosity and satire of American culture. Zappa also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. He is considered one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse musicians of his generation.

As a mostly self-taught composer and performer, Zappa had diverse musical influences that 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 simultaneously playing drums in rhythm and blues bands, later switching to electric guitar. His debut studio album with the Mothers of Invention, Freak Out! (1966), combined satirical but seemingly conventional rock and roll songs with extended sound collages. He continued this eclectic and experimental approach throughout his career.

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 disapproved of recreational drug use, but supported decriminalization and regulation.

Zappa was a highly productive and prolific artist with a controversial critical standing; supporters of his music admired its compositional complexity, while detractors found it lacking emotional depth. He had greater commercial success outside the US, particularly in Europe. Though he worked as an independent artist, Zappa mostly relied on distribution agreements he had negotiated with the major record labels. He remains a major influence on musicians and composers. His many honors include his posthumous 1995 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the 1997 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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1967Lumpy Gravy (1967 original Capitol version)Frank Zappa43
1968Lumpy Gravy (1968 Verve new edit)Frank Zappa49
1969Hot RatsFrank Zappa4.317
1970Chunga’s RevengeFrank Zappa48
1972Waka/JawakaFrank Zappa4.3511
1974Apostrophe (’)Frank Zappa4.2511
1975One Size Fits AllFrank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention4.3514
1976Zoot AlluresFrank Zappa4.3510
1978Studio TanFrank Zappa38
1979Sleep DirtFrank Zappa39
1979Sheik YerboutiFrank Zappa3.8522
1979Orchestral FavoritesFrank Zappa13
1979Joe’s Garage: Act IFrank Zappa3.755
1979Joe’s Garage: Acts II & IIIFrank Zappa3.755
1981You Are What You IsFrank Zappa513
1981Return of the Son of Shut Up ’n Play Yer GuitarFrank Zappa31
1981Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar (single LP)Frank Zappa31
1981Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar Some MoreFrank Zappa31
1982Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning WitchFrank Zappa39
1983London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. IZappa; London Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano42
1983The Man From UtopiaFrank Zappa56
1984Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect StrangerFrank Zappa410
1984Them or UsFrank Zappa511
1984Them or UsFrank Zappa1
1984Francesco ZappaFrancesco Zappa; Frank Zappa4
1984Thing‐FishFrank Zappa7
1985Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of PreventionFrank Zappa10
1986Jazz From HellFrank Zappa4.3510
1987London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. IIZappa; London Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano2
1987Blood on the CanvasEric Bogosian & Frank Zappa1
1994Civilization Phaze IIIFrank Zappa53
1994Zappa / Lutosławski / Lupone / PärtZappa, Lutosławski, Lupone, Pärt; Diego Conti, Monica de Matteis1
1995Songs and DancesPersichetti, Gilmore, Zappa, Gillingham, Schmitt; Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony, Eugene Migliaro Corporon2
1996LätherFrank Zappa2
1999Everything Is Healing NicelyFrank Zappa1
2010Greasy Love SongsFrank Zappa1
2010“Congress Shall Make No Law…”Frank Zappa1
2011Feeding the Monkies at Ma MaisonFrank Zappa2
2014Joe’s CamouflageFrank Zappa1
2014Perfect StrangersHeiner Goebbels, Frank Zappa; The Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Thomas Søndergård1
2015Dance Me ThisFrank Zappa11
2023Funky NothingnessFrank Zappa2

Album + Compilation

1969Frank Zappa and The Mothers of InventionFrank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention1
1971Pop History, Vol. 7Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention1
1971Pop HistoryFrank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention / The Velvet Underground featuring Nico1
1973Dolf Hartmann präsentiert Die Frank Zappa StoryFrank Zappa1
1975Frank Zappa & The Mothers of InventionFrank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention2
198120 Years Of Frank ZappaFrank Zappa2
1982Shut Up ’n Play Yer Guitar (complete set)Frank Zappa11
1983F. Zappa’s 10¢ Rare Meat – Feb. ’62Frank Zappa1
1983Rare MeatFrank Zappa1
1985Mystery DiscFrank Zappa1
1985The Old Masters, Box OneZappa2
1985The Old Masters, Box One SamplerFrank Zappa1
1985We’re Only in It for the Money / Lumpy GravyFrank Zappa4
1986Apostrophe (’) / Over‐Nite SensationFrank Zappa4
1986The London Symphony OrchestraZappa; London Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano1
1986The Old Masters, Box TwoFrank Zappa1
1987Joe’s Garage: Acts I, II & IIIFrank Zappa415
1987The Old Masters, Box ThreeFrank Zappa1
1988CucamongaFrank Zappa4
1988The Man From Utopia / Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning WitchFrank Zappa1
1991Beat the Boots!Frank Zappa1
1992Swiss Cheese / Fire!Frank Zappa’s Mothers1
1994Rare Meat: Early Works of Frank ZappaFrank Zappa2
1995London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. I & IIZappa; London Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano4.52
1995Strictly Commercial: The Best of Frank ZappaFrank Zappa13
1995Kill Ugly RadioFrank Zappa1
1995Kill Ugly Radio Some MoreFrank Zappa1
1995No Commercial PotentialFrank Zappa1
1995Original Recordings – Steve Vai – Arch. Vol. 2Frank Zappa2
1996The Lost EpisodesFrank Zappa2
1996Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa: A Memorial TributeFrank Zappa1
1996Return of the Son of Kill Ugly RadioFrank Zappa1
1997Have I Offended Someone?Frank Zappa3
1997Strictly Genteel: A Classical Introduction to Frank ZappaFrank Zappa1
1997Cucamonga Years: The Early Works of Frank Zappa (1962–1964)Frank Zappa1
1998Son of Cheep ThrillsFrank Zappa2
1998Mystery DiscFrank Zappa3
1998Cheap ThrillsFrank Zappa1
1998How’s Your Bird?Frank Zappa1
2000Threesome No. 2 (Hot Rats / Waka/Jawaka / The Grand Wazoo)Frank Zappa1
2002For Collectors OnlyFrank Zappa1
2002Threesome No. 1 (Freak Out! / Absolutely Free / We're Only in It for the Money)Frank Zappa1
2002Zappa Picks – By Jon Fishman of PhishFrank Zappa1
2002Zappa Picks – By Larry LaLonde of PrimusFrank Zappa1
2004Joe's DomageFrank Zappa1
2004The Best of Frank ZappaFrank Zappa3
2004Joe’s CorsageFrank Zappa1
2005Joe’s XMasageFrank Zappa1
2006The MOFO Project/ObjectFrank Zappa3
2006The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday BundleFrank Zappa1
2008Broadcast RaritiesFrank Zappa1
2008The Frank Zappa aaa·fnr·aaa Birthday Bundle 21.Dec.2008Frank Zappa1
2009The Lumpy Money Project/ObjectFrank Zappa2
2009Beat the Boots! III: Disc OneFrank Zappa1
2009Beat the Boots! III Disc TwoFrank Zappa1
2009Beat the Boots! III Disc ThreeFrank Zappa1
2009Beat the Boots! III Disc FourFrank Zappa1
2009Beat the Boots! III Disc FiveFrank Zappa1

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