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Captain Beefheart

Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American singer, songwriter, musician 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 and his wide vocal range, Van Vliet also played the harmonica, saxophone, and numerous other wind instruments. His music integrated blues, rock, psychedelia, and jazz with contemporary experimental composition and the avant-garde; many of his works have been classified as "art rock". Beefheart was also known for often constructing myths about his life and for exercising an almost dictatorial control over his supporting musicians.

An artistic prodigy in his childhood, Van Vliet developed an eclectic musical taste during his teen years in Lancaster, California, and formed "a mutually useful but volatile" friendship with musician 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 was ranked 58th in Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Beefheart followed this up with the album Lick My Decals Off, Baby, released in 1970. 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 (1978), Doc at the Radar Station (1980) and Ice Cream for Crow (1982).

www.beefheart.com

Browse our unique collection of Captain Beefheart photos and prints below.

Captain Beefheart (BH001JF)

Captain Beefheart

Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band play the Rainbow Theatre, London, 1973.

Prices from £750.00
print

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Amy Winehouse sat on a bench in a North London laundrette in 2004 photograpghed by Jake Chessum

Amy Winehouse

Stunning image of Amy Winehouse taken in a North London launderette during a photo shoot in winter 2004.

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Led Zeppelin (LZ001MPUT)

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin performing at Madison Square Garden, New York, USA 1977.

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John Prine

John Prime backstage at The Station Inn, Nashville before performing with Jimmy Rooney's Irregulars in 2019.

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Rolling Stones, The (RS001DH)

The Rolling Stones

Keith Richards performing with The Rolling Stones onstage at the Feyenoordstadion Rotterdam, Holland in August 2003

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Blondie, Debbie Harry in London, 1977 Photo | Fine Art Print by Sheila Rock

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