Ray Collins (musician)

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Ray Collins (November 19, 1936 – December 24, 2012) was an American musician.

Ray Collins
Born(1936-11-19)November 19, 1936
Pomona, California, United States
DiedDecember 24, 2012(2012-12-24) (aged 76)
Claremont, California, United States
GenresRock, rock and roll, doo-wop, experimental rock
InstrumentsVocals, harmonica, tambourine
Years active1957-2012
Associated actsFrank Zappa, Mothers of Invention

Collins grew up in Pomona, California singing in his school choir, the son of a local police officer. He quit high school to get married.[1]

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,[1] including Little Julian Herrera and the Tigers.[citation needed] In 1964, Collins, drummer Jimmy Carl Black, bassist Roy Estrada, saxophonist Dave Coronado, and guitarist Ray Hunt formed The Soul Giants.[citation needed]

Hunt was eventually replaced by Frank Zappa, and the group evolved into the Mothers of Invention.[1] Ray was the lead vocalist on most songs for their early albums, including Freak Out!, Absolutely Free, Cruising with Ruben & the Jets and Uncle Meat. He additionally provided harmonica on Freak Out!. In 1968 Ray quit The Mothers of Invention and was replaced by Lowell George, but continued to contribute to other Zappa projects through the mid-1970s.[1]

Currently Ray Collins niece/protege Shay Collins has been leading her own mission to carry on the name and memory of Ray Collins, with an American rock duo Mother Legacy. Labeling herself as Ray's legacy, determined to carry on all of his teachings and steadfast beliefs and desires in music.[citation needed]


Collins resided in Claremont, California until his death on December 24, 2012, aged 76.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Allen, David (May 30, 2009). "Please greet Ray Collins, Claremont's own Mother". Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2009.
  2. ^ Morris, Christopher, "Rocker Ray Collins dies at 73", Variety, December 25, 2012.

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