An extract on #shotaward
Zappa's output is unified by a conceptual continuity he termed "Project/Object", with numerous musical phrases, ideas, and characters reappearing across his albums. He also called it a "conceptual continuity", meaning that any project or album was part of a larger project. Everything was connected, and musical themes and lyrics reappeared in different form on later albums. Conceptual continuity clues are found throughout Zappa's entire uvre.
Zappa earned widespread critical acclaim in his lifetime and after his death. The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004) writes: "Frank Zappa dabbled in virtually all kinds of musicand, whether guised as a satirical rocker, jazz-rock fusionist, guitar virtuoso, electronics wizard, or orchestral innovator, his eccentric genius was undeniable." Even though his work drew inspiration from many different genres, Zappa was seen as establishing a coherent and personal expression.
In 1971, biographer David Walley noted that "The whole structure of his music is unified, not neatly divided by dates or time sequences and it is all building into a composite". On commenting on Zappa's music, politics and philosophy, Barry Miles noted in 2004 that they cannot be separated: "It was all one; all part of his 'conceptual continuity'."
Guitar Player devoted a special issue to Zappa in 1992, and asked on the cover "Is FZ America's Best Kept Musical Secret?" Editor Don Menn remarked that the issue was about "The most important composer to come out of modern popular music".
Among those contributing to the issue was composer and musicologist Nicolas Slonimsky, who conducted premiere performances of works of Ives and Varse in the 1930s. He became friends with Zappa in the 1980s, and said, "I admire everything Frank does, because he practically created the new musical millennium. He does beautiful, beautiful work ... It has been my luck to have lived to see the emergence of this totally new type of music."
Conductor Kent Nagano remarked in the same issue that "Frank is a genius. That's a word I don't use often ... In Frank's case it is not too strong ... He is extremely literate musically. I'm not sure if the general public knows that." Pierre Boulez told Musician magazine's posthumous Zappa tribute article that Zappa "was an exceptional figure because he was part of the worlds of rock and classical music and that both types of his work would survive."
In 1994, jazz magazine Down Beat's critics poll placed Zappa in its Hall of Fame. Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. There, it was written that "Frank Zappa was rock and roll's sharpest musical mind and most astute social critic. He was the most prolific composer of his age, and he bridged genresrock, jazz, classical, avant-garde and even novelty musicwith masterful ease". He received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. He was ranked number 36 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock in 2000.
In 2005, the U.S. National Recording Preservation Board included We're Only in It for the Money in the National Recording Registry as "Frank Zappa's inventive and iconoclastic album presents a unique political stance, both anti-conservative and anti-counterculture, and features a scathing satire on hippiedom and America's reactions to it". The same year, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 71 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
In 2011, he was ranked at No. 22 on the list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by the same magazine.