Has there even been a more challenging 'rock' artist in the history of the music than Frank Zappa? Possibly not, although the man himself would always rail against the conventions of what he saw as a ridiculously limited genre. Tagging Zappa as a rock artist proves absurdly reductionist, with his influences spanning from doo-wop, through pop to jazz and avant garde classical music. Aside from his musical adventures, Zappa was also one of the great satirists of his age. Poking a bony finger into the pretensions of the hippie era with his great band The Mothers Of Invention, he would continue to prove a thorn in the side of anything he disapproved of, most notably as an anti-censorship campaigner during the 80s. At times Zappa could strain the patience of even his most dedicated fans, notably with some of his smuttier material in the mid-70s. It is a testament to his lasting influence that long after his death in 1993 his work continues to be pored over by critics and fans, while numerous bootlegs (official and unofficial) continue to flood the market each year.
Followers: Modest Mouse, Earth Monkeys, Trey Anasasio, Dweezil Zappa
Influenced By: Edgard Varèse, Muddy Waters, Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson, The Penguins
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