December 21: Frank Zappa was born in 1940

A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.
~Frank Zappa

My best advice to anyone who wants to raise a happy, mentally healthy child is: Keep him or her as far away from a church as you can.
~Frank Zappa

….although he led groups that could be called rock & roll bands for much of his career, he used them to create a hybrid style that bordered on jazz and complicated, modern serious music, sometimes inducing orchestras to play along. As if his music were not challenging enough, he overlay it with highly satirical and sometimes abstractly humorous lyrics and song titles that marked him as coming out of a provocative literary tradition that included Beat poets like Allen Ginsberg and edgy comedians like Lenny Bruce.
~William Ruhlmann (

From January 12, 1995, Lou Reed inducts Frank Zappa into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame:

From Wikipedia:

Birth name Frank Vincent Zappa
Born December 21, 1940
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Died December 4, 1993 (aged 52)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Rock, jazz, classical, experimental
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician, conductor, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, synclavier, drums
Years active 1955–93
Labels Verve, Bizarre, Straight,DiscReet, Zappa, Barking Pumpkin
Associated acts The Mothers of Invention
Captain Beefheart


Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, singer-songwriter, guitarist, recording engineer, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. Zappa produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released with the band The Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. 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; he later switched to electric guitar.

Let us include a full show, the incredible, An Evening With Frank Zappa from 1981:

Set list:
Black Napkins – Montana – Easy Meat – Beauty Knows No Pain – Charlie’s Enormous Mouth – Fine Girl – Teen-age Wind – Harder Than Your Husband – Bamboozled By Love – We’re Turning Again – Alien Orifice – Flakes – Broken Hearts Are For Assholes – You Are What You Is – Mudd Club – The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing – Dumb All Over – Heavenly Bank Account – Suicide Chump – Jumbo Go Away – Stevie’s Spanking – The Torture Never Stops – Strictly Genteel – The Illinois Enema Bandit

Please check out that great finale: The Illinois Enema Bandit at 1:45


Muffin Man – Live 1977:

Zappa was a self-taught composer and performer, and his diverse musical influences led him to create music that was often difficult to categorize. His 1966 debut album with the Mothers of Invention, Freak Out!, combined songs in conventional rock and roll format with collective improvisations and studio-generated sound collages. His later albums shared this eclectic and experimental approach, irrespective of whether the fundamental format was rock, jazz or classical. His lyrics—often humorously—reflected his iconoclastic view of established social and political processes, structures and movements. 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.

One of Frank’s last interviews, conducted by NBC’s Jamie Gangel for the Today Show (1993):

He was a highly productive and prolific artist and gained widespread critical acclaim. He had some commercial success, particularly in Europe, and for most of his career was able to work as an independent artist. 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. Zappa was married to Kathryn J. “Kay” Sherman from 1960 to 1964. In 1967, he married Adelaide Gail Sloatman, with whom he remained until his death from prostate cancer in 1993. They had four children: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen.

Album of The Day:

Hot Rats (1969):



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