"Freak Out!" by The Mothers of Invention Is Released
Freak Out! is the debut album by American experimental rock band The Mothers of Invention, released June 27, 1966 on Verve Records.
Though often cited as one of rock music's first concept albums, the real unifying theme of the album is not musical, but a satirical attitude based on frontman Frank Zappa's unique perception of American pop culture. It was also one of the earliest double albums in rock music.
The album was produced by Tom Wilson, who signed The Mothers, formerly a bar band called the Soul Giants. Zappa said many years later that Wilson signed the group to a record deal in the belief that they were a white blues band. The album features vocalist Ray Collins, along with bass player Roy Estrada, drummer Jimmy Carl Black and guitar player Elliot Ingber, who would later join Captain Beefheart's Magic Band under the name Winged Eel Fingerling.
The band's original repertoire consisted entirely of cover songs. When Zappa joined the band, he not only changed their name but expanded its music to include a wide range of original material. The musical content of Freak Out! ranges from rhythm and blues, doo-wop and standard blues-influenced rock to orchestral arrangements and avant-garde sound collages. Although the album was initially poorly received in the United States, it was a success in Europe. It gained a cult following in America, where it continued to sell in substantial quantities until it was discontinued in the early 1970s.
The album influenced the production of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In 1999, it was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award, and in 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it among the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2006, The MOFO Project/Object, an audio documentary on the making of the album, was released in honor of its 40th anniversary.