December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993
Franks Zappa is one of the most influential musicians of the latter twentieth century, not just within the genre of rock and roll, with which he is most often associated, but also jazz, classical, and avant garde. In an era of popular mass appeal, Zappa continuously produced a hybridized mélange of musical styles which frequently satirized the status quo and was often impossible to categorize.
Self taught in music theory at an early age, he began composing and performing in earnest while still in high school, laying the groundwork for what would be his most famous work with the Mothers of Invention in the 1960s and early 70s. He continued to produce music of great critical acclaim until the time of his passing in 1993.
Zappa became more visible to those outside the music industry when he testified before the Senate against the Parents Music Resource Center, a group advocating the use of warning labels on music which contained content it felt unsuitable for younger listeners. Zappa elegantly argued that this was nothing short of censorship, although the PMRC ultimately won out.
The list of those influenced by Zappa is as long as it is varied, both within musician and across the artistic community. His name is synonymous with the highest standard of musical excellence and integrity, as well as with the unflagging pursuit of ones singular vision.