July 18, 2021
Frank Vincent Zappa was an Italian American singer-songwriter, musician, activist, and filmmaker. His work is characterized by nonconformity, free-form improvisation, sound experiments, musical virtuosity, and satire of Italian American culture. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works, and produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. 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 era. Frank Zappa was born on December 21, 1940, in Baltimore, Maryland. His mother, Rose Marie (née Colimore), was of Italian (Neapolitan and Sicilian) and French ancestry; his father, whose name was anglicized to Francis Vincent Zappa, was an immigrant from Partinico, Sicily, Frank, the eldest of four children, was raised in an Italian-American household where Italian was often spoken by his grandparents
As a self-taught composer and performer, Zappa had diverse musical influences that led him to create music that was sometimes difficult to categorize.
Zappa was a highly productive and prolific artist with a controversial critical standing; supporters of his music admired its compositional complexity, while critics 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 honors include his 1995 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the 1997 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 1990, Zappa was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. The disease had been developing unnoticed for years and was considered inoperable.
Zappa died from prostate cancer on December 4, 1993, 17 days before his 53rd birthday at his home with his wife and children by his side. At a private ceremony the following day, his body was buried in a grave at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, in Los Angeles. The grave is unmarked. On December 6, his family publicly announced that “Composer Frank Zappa left for his final tour just before 6:00 pm on Saturday”.
Frank Zappa’s Website