Was school friends with Don Van Vliet (later to be known as Captain Beefheart).
Is known affectionately by his fans as FZ.
Has an enormous following in the former Communist countries of eastern Europe.
In July 1994, the International Astronomical Union named a Czech-discovered asteroid "Zappafrank".
The small town of Bad Doberan, Germany, holds an annual Zappanale festival, celebrating his life and music (first held in 1990).
His father, Francis Vincent Zappa, was born in Partinico, Sicily, and his mother, Rose Marie (Colimore), was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Italian parents.
Following his death, he was interred in an unmarked grave next to Lew Ayres at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
In 1995, a group of Lithuanian artists erected the world's first Zappa statue in Vilnius, the capital. Since then one has been erected in Bad Doberan, Germany (which Gail Zappa says does not look like him), and another (a copy of the bust in Vilnius) in Baltimore, Maryland.
In recent years, various reworkings of his songs have been recorded, including versions in Baroque instrumental and a cappella vocal stylings.
Inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
Zappa is the first, and so far only, artist to be inducted into both the Jazz and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.
In March of 2003 his 1979 album "Joe's Garage" came 20th in Classic Rock Magazine's list of the 30 greatest concept albums of all time.
Gave up his driver's license voluntarily, because he hated standing in line at the DMV.
Wrote his own copyright notice, that appeared on his later records, and was the first to specifically mention sampling. Also released the first 3-inch CD single, with a remix of "Peaches En Regalia", in the late 1980s.
Used a wah-wah with his onstage guitar setup, which he had usually leave set in one position as a filter, rather than rock it to get the wah effect.
Bought a small recording studio with the proceeds of his score for Run Home, Slow (1965); first came to public attention when he was arrested in a scandal involving the studio (he was later cleared).
Started out playing drums in his teens, then adopted his brother's f-hole acoustic guitar, trying to copy horn and guitar solos on blues and jazz records. Later studied Music Theory in college.
Included a warning-cum-guarantee on his late-1980s albums, deriding the Religious Right's attack on rock and pop music, and censorship in general, and concluding "If there is a Hell, its fires wait for them, not us.".
He was voted the 21st Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artists of all time by Rolling Stone.
Gene Simmons visited with the Zappa family at their home, socializing, some time before Zappa's death. During their visit, Zappa showed him something that proved how prolific Zappa was: hundreds of master tapes of unreleased music.
Zappa sponsored Hagstrom guitars early in his career. However, on his first three albums with The Mothers of Invention, he used a Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster. During the mid to late 1970s, he played a highly modified Gibson SG clone. He had one of Jimi Hendrix's guitars which was lit on fire by Jimi at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival.
"Cured" his kids of sibling rivalry by making a tape of them squabbling, then forcing them to listen to said tape while handcuffed together in the bathroom; this was to show them how dumb they sounded when bickering.
Despite his prostate cancer, Zappa continued to smoke. He told an interviewer he considered cigarettes to be "food", tobacco his favorite vegetable and did not believe cigarettes caused the reported health problems.
In an interview prior to his death, Zappa revealed he had had urination problems for years but that the prostate cancer wasn't caught until it was inoperable. He hinted this made him extremely bitter and advised others with urination problems to get multiple opinions.
Did not like being called "rock legend" and considered it a "pathetic" term. Also did not like being called a "test pilot pushing the edge" since he felt the term sounded too military. As far as being called an "eccentric genius", Zappa said in an interview prior to his death, "Eccentric, yes. Genius, maybe.".
Founded Barking Pumpkin Records in 1981. He also founded Zappa Records, Barfko-Swill [mail order distribution] and DiscReet (record company).
Subject of the song "Frank" by Wild Man Fischer.
Co-founded Bizarre Records in 1967.
Inducted into the International Mustache Hall of Fame in 2015 (inaugural class) in the category Music & Arts.