Frank Zappa is one of the most interesting artists I have met, and his live performances were like no other. Last week a 50th Anniversary collection of Frank Zappa’s celebrated 1970 Mothers line up was released, featuring an unreleased 70 song collection of studio and live recordings. The Mothers 1970 is available digitally and as a 4-disc Box Set. The Mothers of Invention line up was incredible, with Aynsley Dunbar on drums, George Duke on piano/keys/trombone, Ian Underwood on organ/keys/guitar, Jeff Simmons on Bass/vocals, and Flo & Eddie, aka Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman. This version of the Mothers ended in January 1971 when Jeff Simmons quit during the making of the 200 Motels movie.

Frank Zappa’s career had just started with the Mothers, he continued as a solo artist and performed for over 30 years until his death in December 1993 at age 52. He is still a major influence on musicians and composers. His many honors include induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and the 1997 Grammy Lifetime Achievement award. In 2004 Rolling Stone magazine in 2000 ranked him at number 71 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and in 2011 at number 22 of its 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. If you ever got to experience a Frank Zappa show, I am sure it is an event you will never forget. Grab a copy of the Mothers 1970 box set, it will take you back to the good crazy times of rock and roll. In a way that only Frank Zappa can do it.

(album cover courtesy Verve Records)

Here’s a flashback to Zappa and The Mothers of Invention 1970

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