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The Mothers of Invention


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(1966 – 1969)

The Mothers of Invention were an American band active from 1966 to 1969. Throughout, their output was primarily directed by composer and guitarist, Frank Zappa (1940–1993). Their albums combined a broad span of genres and utilised diverse instrumentation. Their lyrics were generally humorous, with frequent style-parodies of contemporary music (with doo-wop love ballads endlessly lampooned), bountiful surreal imagery, cartoonish vocals and oblique, satirical protest songs. Their diversity and insincerity makes their classification difficult, but Zappa’s increasingly ambitious and compositions towards the end of the 1960s share many features of and music.

Zappa disbanded the original Mothers of Invention line-up in 1970 to create music under his own name, but shortly reformed an entirely new band sometimes known as “The Mothers”. This new incarnation had a strong vaudeville style and were much bawdier than before, with new vocalists Flo & Eddie, previously of the Turtles, taking the lead. After Zappa was pushed offstage in the Rainbow Theatre in 1971, he broke up this second band and concentrated on a jazzier style with a short-lived big band called the Grand Wazoo, but returned with a third lineup of the Mothers in 1973. This reformed group retained musical similarities to the previous group and the chamber music of the late ’60s Mothers, but with a tighter, funkier sound; George Duke’s soulful vocals being perhaps the most memorable addition.


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