Ray Collins, one of the founding members of Mothers of Invention with Frank Zappa, died on Monday. The famous rock musician was 76.
Before starting his musical career with Zappa, Collins got his start doing backup vocals on doo-wop records in the Los Angeles area during the 1950s and 60s. It wasn’t until 1964 that he joined up with Jimmy Carl Black, Roy Estrada and Frank Zapp to form The Soul Giants. The band would later become known as Mothers of Invention.
Collins was the lead vocalist on the band’s early albums, including Freak Out!, Absolutely Free and Cruising With Ruben & The Jets. Collins quit the band soon after as he clashed with Zappa over creative differences. He did contribute to a few Zappa projects afterwards throughout the 70s though. Later in life, Collins supported himself through social security and songwriting royalties.
The singer was admitted to the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center on Dec. 18 for cardiac arrest. He died on Monday, December 24.[h/t: Today]