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Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa
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20 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Dies

Frank Zappa was one of the most innovative and versatile rock musicians of his generation, creating a vast body of work that encompassed almost every genre of music -- but he wouldn't have wanted to hear it. The mercurial genius actively resisted those kinds of labels and effusive public praise, focusing instead on the work itself in a career that spanned more than three decades. He died on Dec. 4, 1993 at the age of 52 after a long battle with prostate cancer.

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Category: History, Music News Tags:
Smoke on the Water
YouTube
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42 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Concert Fire Inspires ‘Smoke on the Water’

On Dec. 4, 1971, the small town of Montreux, Switzerland, became a place forever linked to rock history. A fire at the Montreux Casino during a concert by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention inspired Deep Purple's classic 'Smoke on the Water.'

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Ruben header
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45 Years Ago: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention Release ‘Cruising With Ruben & the Jets’

On Dec. 2, 1968, a mysterious group of pompadoured cartoon faces turned back the clock of music history to highlight the golden era of doo-wop with their self-referencing album ‘Cruising With Ruben & the Jets.’

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Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
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35 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Releases ‘Studio Tan’

If Frank Zappa was still alive, you can bet he'd be the last person who'd want to celebrate the anniversary of 'Studio Tan,' an album he didn't sanction, sequence, or even approve cover art for. He was caught in a legal battle with Warner Bros. Records and former manager Herb Cohen at the time. On top of that, none of the songs included on 'Studio Tan' were even recorded in 1978; most of the tracks allegedly date from sessions between 1974 and 1976, with a couple of cuts even going as far back as 1969.

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George Duke
Gallo Images / Getty Images
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George Duke of the Mothers of Invention Dies

Keyboard pioneer George Duke, whose long list of credits included a lengthy stint with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, has reportedly passed away at the age of 67.

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Category: Music News, News Tags:
Frank Zappa
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25 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Releases ‘You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 1′

One of the most confounding musicians ever to grace the rock genre, Frank Zappa had a penchant for taking what essentially amounted to full-blown avant garde compositions and arranging them for rock ensemble playing. His bizarre, conceptual live performances were an astonishing mix of exceptional musicianship, onstage theatrics and pop culture satire. On May 16, 1988 Zappa showcased some of the standout live tracks from various eras of his development by releasing a career-spanning double live album titled 'You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol 1.'

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Frank Zappa
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45 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Releases ‘Lumpy Gravy’

Frank Zappa is often regarded as one of the most brilliant, idiosyncratic musicians in rock music. But, looking back at his eclectic, monstrous body of work as a composer, guitarist, vocalist, and bandleader, Zappa really wasn't a "rock" musician. That fact is cemented on 'Lumpy Gravy,' Zappa's first official solo album, which was released 45 years ago today (May 13, 1968).

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Evening Standard/Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive, Getty Images
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Two Frank Zappa Albums To Be Reissued On Vinyl

The Zappa Family Trust, headed by Frank Zappa's widow Gail, has announced that select titles from the massive Zappa catalog will be finding their way to vinyl this summer. In June, Zappa's Barking Pumpkin label will put out editions of 1973's 'Over-Nite Sensation' and the 1966 classic 'Freak Out!,' joining the recently released 'Finer Moments,' a collection of live material from the early-'70s.

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Mothers of Invention
Evening Standard, Hulton Archive, Getty Images
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45 Years Ago: The Mothers of Invention’s ‘We’re Only in It for the Money’ Album Released

From the mocking cover art to the orchestral notes that grace the music to the loose thematic ties that link the songs, the Mothers of Invention’s ‘We’re Only in It for the Money’ turns ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ on its head. But it’s not so much the Beatles’ masterpiece -- which was released nine months before the Mothers album -- that Frank Zappa and his band of musical pranksters ruthlessly skewer; it’s the culture that fed and supported it.

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Frank Zappa
Evening Standard / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
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Frank Zappa’s ’200 Motels’ to Make Full-Length Live Orchestral Debut

More than 40 years after its initial release, Frank Zappa's '200 Motels' is scheduled to make its orchestral world premiere thanks to the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

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Frank Zappa
Evening Standard, Getty Images
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Frank Zappa’s ‘Roxy by Proxy’ to be Distributed by Fans

The career of Frank Zappa has been nothing if not innovative. Nearly 20 years after his death, his estate is continuing his tradition by coming up with a new way of licensing his music, by allowing his fans to serve as independent distributors.

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Frank Zappa
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‘From Straight to Bizarre’ DVD Documents History of Frank Zappa’s Early Record Labels

When Frank Zappa parted ways with Verve Records in 1968, he knew what was best for his career moving forward, and that was starting his own label.

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Category: Movies, Music Tags: ,

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