Sunday, December 21, 2008
"A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians. "
Frank Zappa, iconoclastic singer, composer, artist, electric guitarist, record producer, and film director, was born on this date 68 years ago.
Zappa was a highly productive and prolific artist and he gained widespread critical acclaim. Many of his albums are considered essential in rock history, and he is regarded as one of the most original guitarists and composers of his time; he remains a major influence on musicians and composers. He had some commercial success, particularly in Europe, and was for most of his career able to work as an independent artist. Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.
Zappa grew up influenced by avant-garde composers such as Varèse, Igor Stravinsky and Anton Webern, R&B and doo-wop groups.He frequently lampooned musical fads like psychedelia, rock opera and disco.
Most of Zappa's projects came to a halt in 1990, when he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. The disease had been developing unnoticed for ten years and was considered inoperable.
Frank Zappa died on Saturday, December 4, 1993 in his home surrounded by his wife and children. At a private ceremony the following day, Zappa was interred in an unmarked grave at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles.