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Don Van Vliet (/væn ˈvliːt/, born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician, singer-songwriter and artist best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians called the Magic Band (1965–1982), with whom he recorded 13 studio albums. Noted for his powerful singing voice with its wide range, Van Vliet also played the harmonica, saxophone and numerous other wind instruments. His music blended rock, blues and psychedelia with avant-garde and contemporary experimental composition. Beefheart was also known for exercising an almost dictatorial control over his supporting musicians, and for often constructing myths about his life.During his teen years in Lancaster, California, Van Vliet developed an eclectic musical taste and formed "a mutually useful but volatile" friendship with Frank Zappa, with whom he sporadically competed and collaborated. He began performing with his Captain Beefheart persona in 1964 and joined the original Magic Band line-up, initiated by Alexis Snouffer, in 1965. The group drew attention with their cover of Bo Diddley's "Diddy Wah Diddy", which became a regional hit. It was followed by their acclaimed debut album Safe as Milk, released in 1967 on Buddah Records. After being dropped by two consecutive record labels, they signed to Zappa's Straight Records. As producer, Zappa granted Beefheart unrestrained artistic freedom in making 1969's Trout Mask Replica, which ranked 58th in Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 1974, frustrated by lack of commercial success, he released two albums of more conventional rock music that were critically panned; this move, combined with not having been paid for a European tour, and years of enduring Beefheart's abusive behavior, led the entire band to quit. Beefheart eventually formed a new Magic Band with a group of younger musicians and regained contemporary approval through three final albums: Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (1978), Doc at the Radar Station (1980) and Ice Cream for Crow (1982).Van Vliet has been described as "...one of modern music's true innovators" with "...a singular body of work virtually unrivalled in its daring and fluid creativity." Although he achieved little commercial or mainstream critical success, he sustained a cult following as a "highly significant" and "incalculable" influence on an array of new wave, punk, post-punk, experimental and alternative rock musicians. Known for his enigmatic personality and relationship with the public, Van Vliet made few public appearances after his retirement from music in 1982. He pursued a career in art, an interest that originated in his childhood talent for sculpture, and a venture which proved to be his most financially secure. His expressionist paintings and drawings command high prices, and have been exhibited in art galleries and museums across the world. Van Vliet died in 2010, having suffered from multiple sclerosis for many years.
Fleetwood Mac are a British-American rock band formed in 1967 in London. Due to numerous line-up changes, the only original member present in the band is its namesake, drummer Mick Fleetwood. Although band founder Peter Green named the group by combining the surnames of two of his former bandmates (Fleetwood, McVie) from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, bassist John McVie played neither on their first single nor at their first concerts, as he initially decided to stay with Mayall. The keyboardist, Christine McVie, who joined the band in 1970 while married to John McVie, appeared on all but the debut album, either as a member or as a session musician. She also supplied the artwork for the album Kiln House.The two most successful periods for the band were during the late 1960s British blues boom, when they were led by guitarist Peter Green and achieved a UK number one with "Albatross"; and from 1975 to 1987, as a more pop oriented act, featuring Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Fleetwood Mac's second album after the incorporation of Buckingham and Nicks, 1977's Rumours, produced four U.S. Top 10 singles (including Nicks' song "Dreams"), and remained at No.1 on the American albums chart for 31 weeks, as well as reaching the top spot in various countries around the world. To date the album has sold over 45 million copies worldwide, making it the fourth-highest-selling album of all time.The band achieved more modest success in the intervening period between 1971 and 1974, with the line-up including Bob Welch, during the 1990s in between the departure and return of Nicks and Buckingham, and also during the 2000s in between the departure and return of Christine McVie. In 1998, selected members of Fleetwood Mac were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and received the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. The band has sold 100 million albums worldwide. In 2014, Christine McVie rejoined the band.
T. Rex were a British rock band, formed in 1967 by singer-songwriter and guitarist Marc Bolan. The band formed as Tyrannosaurus Rex, releasing four underground folk albums under the name. Tony Visconti (their producer for several albums) claimed in a documentary on the band that he had taken to using the abbreviated term "T. Rex" as a shorthand, something that initially irritated Bolan, who gradually came around to the idea and officially shortened the band's name to "T. Rex" at roughly the same time they started having big hits (shortly after going electric).In the early to mid 1970s, the band reached huge success with fourteen top-20 UK glam rock hits: "Jeepster", "Get It On", "Ride a White Swan", "Solid Gold Easy Action", "Children of the Revolution", "Hot Love", "Telegram Sam", "20th Century Boy", "Debora", "Teenage Dream", "The Groover", "New York City", "I Love To Boogie" and "Metal Guru". During this period the band also released six UK top-30 albums, including Electric Warrior, which hit the top of the album charts. In 1977, Bolan was killed in a car accident, and the band broke up.