Frank Zappa Is Born in Baltimore, Maryland

Frank Zappa was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on December 21, 1940 to Francis Vincent Zappa (born in Partinico, Sicily) who was of Greek and Arab descent, and Rose Marie Colimore who was three-quarters Italian and one-quarter French.

He was the eldest of four children, and had two brothers and a sister. The family moved often during Zappa's childhood because his father, a chemist and mathematician, had various jobs in the US defense industry. After a brief time in Florida in the mid-1940s, the family returned to Maryland, where Zappa's father worked at the Edgewood Arsenal chemical warfare facility at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. Due to their home's proximity to the arsenal, which stored mustard gas, gas masks were kept in the house in case of an accident. This had a profound effect on the young Zappa: references to germs, germ warfare and other aspects of the defense industry occur throughout his work.