Mothers of Invention vocalist Ray Collins dies, age 75

Singer Ray Collins, one of Frank Zappa‘s original Mothers of Invention, passed away on December 24, after being in a medically induced coma for several days.

Ray Collins started his musical career singing falsetto backup vocals for various doo-wop groups in the Los Angeles area in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including Little Julian Herrera and the Tigers. In 1964, Collins, drummer Jimmy Carl Black and bassist Roy Estrada joined with Frank Zappa to form The Soul Giants, which, under Zappa’s leadership, turned into the Mothers of Invention.

Ray was the lead vocalist on the Mothers’ early albums, including Freak Out!, Absolutely Free and Cruising with Ruben & the Jets. He contributed to other Zappa projects through the mid-1970s.

Ray Collins was 75 years old.