Frank Zappa bandmate Ray Collins dies

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Ray Collins, a musician who invited guitarist Frank Zappa to join the band that eventually became the Mothers of Invention, has died aged 76.

Collins was instrumental to Zappa's early career, asking him to join the Soul Giants in 1964.

By 1966, the covers band were Mothers of Invention, with Collins contributing vocals on three albums before he left, disenchanted with their comedic style.

Collins passed away five days after a heart attack on 24 December.

Mothers of Invention released their first album Freak Out in 1966 with Collins singing on some lead tracks.

He also recorded vocals on Absolutely Free, released in 1967, Cruising With Ruben and the Jets from 1968, and his last, 1968's We're Only In It For The Money.

Apart from a few appearances with Zappa in the mid-1970s, life after the band involved little music.

Collins was well-known on the streets of Claremont, a college town east of Los Angeles which he moved to in 1991, and where he spent the last few years living in a van.

Zappa disbanded the Mothers of Invention in 1969 to form a new line-up from 1970 until 1971, when he was injured by an audience member during a concert.

The prolific musician, who died in 1993, formed the Mothers' final line up in 1973, releasing his final album Bongo Fury with them as a backing band in 1975, before going solo.

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