Posted by themusicsover on December 24, 2012
November 19, 1936 – December 24, 2012
As a founding member of the Mothers of Invention, Ray Collins played a key role in the history of Frank Zappa. Having grown up outside of Los Angeles, Collins launched his music career by singing in various doo wop groups in the L.A. area during the late ’50s. In 1964, Collins formed the Soul Giants, an R&B cover band with Jimmy Carl Black, Ray Hunt, Roy Estrada, and Dave Coronado. Shortly thereafter, Collins replaced Hunt with Zappa on lead guitar and the band’s name was changed to the Mothers of Invention. Quickly making a name for themselves within the California underground rock scene, the band, now more-or-less being driven by Zappa, was signed to Verve Records. Their first album, 1966′s Freak Out!, is widely considered one of rock’s first concept albums. It proudly sits in the Grammy Hall of Fame and is #246 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Collins sang lead on Freak Out! as well as Absolutely Free and Cruising With Ruben & the Jets. In 1968, Collins quit the band over creative differences with Zappa and reportedly left the music business entirely. In later years, he worked as a cab driver in Los Angeles and dish washer in Hawaii. On December 24, 2012, Ray Collins died following a cardiac arrest he suffered a few days prior. He was 76.
Thanks to Bruce Kilgour of Slipped Disc Entertainment for the assist.