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Captain Beefheart (Composer)

Born: 15th January 1941, Glendale, California, United States

Died: 17th December 2010, Arcata, California, United States

Nationality: American

Don Van Vliet was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and visual artist best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. Conducting a rotating ensemble called Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, known separately as "the Magic Band", he recorded 13 studio albums between 1964 and 1982. His music blended elements of blues, free jazz, rock, and avant-garde composition with idiosyncratic rhythms, absurdist wordplay, and his wide vocal range. Known for his enigmatic persona, Beefheart frequently constructed myths about his life and was known to exercise an almost dictatorial control over his supporting musicians. Although he achieved little commercial success, he sustained a cult following as a "highly significant" and "incalculable" influence on an array of new wave, punk, and experimental rock artists.

An artistic prodigy in his childhood, Van Vliet developed an eclectic musical taste during his teen years in Lancaster, California, and formed "a mutually useful but volatile" friendship with musician Frank Zappa, with whom he sporadically competed and collaborated.

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