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Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

Ron Case, Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Ron Case, Hulton Archive, Getty Images

45 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Puts the Mothers Behind Him

Several months after the release of the fifth Mothers of Invention album, 'Uncle Meat,' in March 1969, Frank Zappa pulled the plug, at least for now, on the band.

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Frank Zappa

40 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Releases ‘Apostrophe (‘)’

Frank Zappa's most commercially successful album was released on March 22, 1974.

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Frank Zappa Sleep Dirt

35 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Releases ‘Sleep Dirt’

Like much of the material that came out under Frank Zappa's name in the late '70s, 1979's 'Sleep Dirt' has a complicated history. Also like much of the work that ended the artist's most prolific decade, 'Sleep Dirt' had its roots in a shelved, four-LP set that Zappa's record company refused to release.

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Frank Zappa

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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Smoke on the Water
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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

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.

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

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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Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa and Sly Stone Featured in Morrison Hotel Exhibit

Now running at New York City's Morrison Hotel Gallery is an exhibit by photographer and filmmaker, Norman Seeff.

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Frank Zappa

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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