Mothers of Invention Vocalist Ray Collins, 1936-2012
by Dave Segal
on Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 10:17 AM
This bit of bad news got lost over the holidays, but it should be noted that Ray Collins, the flamboyantly emotive lead singer for the Soul Giants—a SoCal R&B group featuring guitarist Frank Zappa, who evolved into the Mothers of Invention—died December 24 of a heart attack. He was 76.
Collins got his start in the 1950s as a falsetto doo-wop singer in groups like Julian Herrera and the Tigers. After the Soul Giants fired guitarist Ray Hunt and hired Zappa to replace him, they morphed into the Mothers of Invention and got a lot stranger. Collins went on to sing on the Mothers' classics like Freak Out!, Absolutely Free, and Cruising With Ruben & the Jets, as well as sporadically contributing vocals to Zappa projects in the '70s.