One of my favorite LIFE photographs — Happy Birthday Frank Zappa.
Assigned to take portraits of the artists at home with their sweetly square folks, photographer John Olson traveled everywhere from the suburbs of London to Brooklyn to the San Francisco Bay Area, capturing in his work the love that bridged any cultural divide that may have existed between his subjects.
“Everyone had told me that Frank Zappa was going to be really difficult, and he couldn’t have been more professional,” Olson says.
As for Zappa’s parents: “My father has ambitions to be an actor,” Frank told LIFE. “He secretly wants to be on TV.” His mom, meanwhile, thought Frank’s career was fine and dandy, but envied something else about him. “The thing that makes me mad about Frank,” she said, “is that his hair is curlier than mine — and blacker.”
(see more — Rock Stars and Their Parents)
I’ve always had the feeling that the 70’s smelled funny.