Frank Zappa

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Frank Vincent Zappa, born on December the 21st, 1940, passed away on December the 4th, 1993, he was an American musician, songwriter, composer, record producer, actor and filmmaker.

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed Rock n Roll, Jazz, Jazz Fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works, and produced almost all of the more than sixty albums he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers.

Zappa was a self-taught composer and performer, and his diverse musical influences led him to create music that was often difficult to categorize. While in his teens, he acquired a taste for 20th-century Classical composers such as Edgard Varèse, Igor Stravinsky, and Anton Webern, along with 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; later switching to electric guitar. His 1966 debut album with the Mothers of Invention, Freak Out!, combined songs in conventional Rock n Roll format with collective improvisations and studio-generated sound collages. He continued this eclectic and experimental approach, irrespective of whether the fundamental format was Rock, Jazz or Classical.

His lyrics reflected his iconoclastic view of established social and political processes, structures and movements, often humorously so. 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.

He was a highly productive and prolific artist and gained widespread critical acclaim. He had some commercial success, particularly in Europe, and worked as an independent artist for most of his career. 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. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 71 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and in 2011 at No. 22 on its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".


Official albums

Released Title Peak chart positions Certification
Year Month Billboard 200 UK Albums Chart
Germany Norway Sweden Switzerland Austria
1966 Jun Freak Out! 130
1967 Apr Absolutely Free 41
Aug Lumpy Gravy 159
1968 Mar We're Only in It for the Money 30 31
Nov Cruising with Ruben & the Jets 110
1969 Mar Uncle Meat 43
Mar Mothermania
Oct Hot Rats 173 9
1970 Feb Burnt Weeny Sandwich 94 17
Aug Weasels Ripped My Flesh 189 28
Oct Chunga's Revenge 119 43
1971 Aug Fillmore East – June 1971 38
Oct 200 Motels (soundtrack) 59
1972 Mar Just Another Band from L.A. 85
Jul Waka/Jawaka 152
Nov The Grand Wazoo
1973 Sep Over-Nite Sensation 32 15 US: Gold
1974 Mar Apostrophe (') 10 6 US: Gold
Jul Roxy & Elsewhere 27 14
1975 Jun One Size Fits All 26 5
Oct Bongo Fury 66 11
1976 Oct Zoot Allures 61 16 17 UK: Silver
1978 Mar Zappa in New York 57 55 6 24
Sep Studio Tan 147 30
1979 Jan Sleep Dirt 175 16 19
Mar Sheik Yerbouti 21 32 5 4 6 CAN: Gold
May Orchestral Favorites 168
Sep Joe's Garage Act I 27 62 1 2 8 CAN: Gold
Nov Joe's Garage Acts II & III 53 75 3 4 9
1981 May Tinsel Town Rebellion 66 55 13 8 9
Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar
Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar Some More
Return of the Son of Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar
Sep You Are What You Is 93 51 12 22
1982 May Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch 23 61 20 26
1983 Mar The Man from Utopia 153 87 23
Baby Snakes (soundtrack) 67
Jun London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. I
1984 Aug Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger
Oct Them or Us 53 22
Nov Thing-Fish
Francesco Zappa
The Old Masters, Box I
1985 Nov Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention 153
1986 Jan Does Humor Belong in Music?
Nov The Old Masters, Box II
Jazz from Hell
1987 Sep London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. II
Dec The Old Masters, Box III
1988 Apr Guitar 82 25
May You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
Oct You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 2
Broadway the Hard Way
1989 Nov You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 3
1991 Apr The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life 30
Jun You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 4
Make a Jazz Noise Here
1992 Jul You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 5
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 6
Nov Playground Psychotics
1993 Mar Ahead of Their Time
Oct The Yellow Shark 61 30
Posthumous albums
1994 Dec Civilization Phaze III 87
1996 Feb The Lost Episodes 54
Sep Läther 50
Oct Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute
1997 May Have I Offended Someone?
1998 Sep Mystery Disc
1999 Dec Everything Is Healing Nicely
2002 Aug FZ:OZ
2003 Feb Halloween
2004 May Joe's Corsage
Oct Joe's Domage
2005 Dec Joe's XMASage
2006 Jan Imaginary Diseases
Dec The MOFO Project/Object (2-CD set)
The MOFO Project/Object (4-CD set)
Oct Trance-Fusion
2007 Apr Buffalo
Aug The Dub Room Special (soundtrack)
Oct Wazoo
2008 Jun One Shot Deal
Sep Joe's Menage
2009 Jan Lumpy Money
Dec Philly '76
2010 Apr Greasy Love Songs
Sep Congress Shall Make No Law...
Nov Hammersmith Odeon
2011 Sep Feeding the Monkies at Ma Maison
Oct Carnegie Hall
2012 Oct Road Tapes, Venue #1
Oct Understanding America
Dec Finer Moments
Dec Baby Snakes (soundtrack)
2013 Oct Road Tapes, Venue 2
Nov A Token Of His Extreme (soundtrack)
2014 Jan Joe's Camouflage
Mar Roxy by Proxy
2015 Jun Dance Me This
Oct Roxy – The Movie (Soundtrack CD)
Dec 200 Motels: The Suites (LA Philharmonic-Conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen)


Released Title Peak chart positions
Year Month Billboard 200
1982 May Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar (Box Set)
1987 May Joe's Garage Acts I, II & III
1991 Jul Beat the Boots
1992 Jun Beat the Boots II
1995 Apr London Symphony Orchestra, Volumes I & II
2009 Jan Beat the Boots III

Compilation albums

Released Album details Peak chart positions
Year Month Billboard 200 UK GER
1968 Oct The **** of the Mothers
1970 Jul The Mothers of Invention
1971 Mar Worst of the Mothers 201
1987 Jun The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa
1995 Aug Strictly Commercial 45 51
1997 May Strictly Genteel
1998 Feb Cucamonga
Apr Cheap Thrills
1999 Apr Son of Cheep Thrills
2006 Dec The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle (2006)
2008 Dec The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAAA Birthday Bundle (2008)
2010 Dec The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAAAA Birthday Bundle 2010
2011 Dec The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAAAAAM Birthday Bundle 2011
2014 Dec The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAA Birthday Bundle 21.12.2014


Singles on
Maxi Singles on
Year Single (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Peak Chart positions Album
Billboard Hot 100
U.S. Rock
1966 "How Could I Be Such a Fool?"
b/w "Help I'm A Rock (3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here)"
Freak Out!
"Trouble Comin' Every Day"
b/w "Who Are The Brain Police?"
1967 "Big Leg Emma"
b/w "Why Don't You Do Me Right?"
Non-album tracks (later issued on CD version of Absolutely Free)
"Son of Suzy Creamcheese"
b/w "Big Leg Emma"
Absolutely Free
"Lonely Little Girl"
b/w "Mother People"
We're Only In It For The Money
1968 "Motherly Love"
b/w "I Ain't Got No Heart"
Freak Out!
b/w "Jelly Roll Gum Drop"
Cruising with Ruben & the Jets
"Anyway The Wind Blows"
b/w "Jelly Roll Gum Drop"
1969 "WPLJ"
b/w "My Guitar" (from Weasels Ripped My Flesh)
Burnt Weeny Sandwich
" (Original version)
b/w "Dog Breath" (45-only version w/o lyrics)
Non-LP tracks ("My Guitar" later issued on "You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 5" CD)
1970 "Peaches en Regalia"
b/w "Little Umbrellas"
Hot Rats
"Tell Me You Love Me"
b/w "Will You Go All The Way For The U.S.A.?" [sic]
Chunga's Revenge
1971 "Tears Began To Fall" (remix)
b/w "Junier Mintz Boogie" (non-album track)
Fillmore East – June 1971
"Magic Fingers"
b/w "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy"
200 Motels
"What Will This Evening Bring Me This Morning"
b/w "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy"
1972 "Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus"
b/w "Eat That Question"
The Grand Wazoo
1973 I'm The Slime" (single mix with different guitar solo)
b/w "Montana"
Over-Nite Sensation
1974 "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow Suite"
b/w "Cosmik Debris"
86 Apostrophe (')
1975 "Du Bist Mein Sofa"
b/w "Stink Foot" (from Apostrophe ('))
One Size Fits All
1976 "Find Her Finer"
b/w "Zoot Allures"
Zoot Allures
"Disco Boy"
b/w "Ms. Pinky"
1979 "Dancin' Fool"
b/w "Baby Snakes"
45 Sheik Yerbouti
"Bobby Brown"
b/w "Stick It Out" (from Joe's Garage Acts II & III)
4 5 2 1 1
"Joe's Garage"
b/w "Central Scrutinizer"
4 14 Joe's Garage Act I
"Stick It Out"
b/w "Why Does It Hurt" (from Joe's Garage Act I)
Joe's Garage Acts II & III
1980 "I Don't Wanna Get Drafted"
b/w "Ancient Armaments"
103 71 3 Non-album tracks
1981 "Love Of My Life"
b/w "For The Young Sophisticate"
Tinsel Town Rebellion
"Harder Than Your Husband"
b/w "Dumb All Over"
You Are What You Is
"You Are What You Is"
b/w "Pink Napkins" (from Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar)
"Goblin Girl"
b/w "Pink Napkins" (from Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar)
1982 "Valley Girl"
b/w "You Are What You Is" (from You Are What You Is)
32 12 Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
1983 "The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou"
b/w "Sex"
The Man From Utopia
"Cocaine Decisions"
b/w "Sex"
1984 "Baby Take Your Teeth Out"
b/w "Stevie's Spanking"
Them Or Us
"In France"
B-side unknown
"The Girl In The Magnesium Dress"
b/w "Outside Now, Again"
Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger
1988 "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace"
b/w "Watermelon In Easter Hay"
"Zomby Woof"
paired with "You Didn't Try To Call Me"
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
1991 "Stairway To Heaven"
paired with "Bolero"
9 The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

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