American composer, guitarist, producer and film director. In a career of 30 years he released more than 60 albums. His musical appreciation and influences stretch from contemporary classical (in particular composers such as Varese, Webern and Stravinsky) through 50s doo wop to guitar-heavy rock and his own music, with its often humorous lyrics, is often impossible to categorise. Zappa earned widespread critical acclaim throughout his career as one of the most original guitarists and composers of his time. His live performances showed him at his eccentric and musically astounding best.