Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and visual artist best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. He conducted a rotating ensemble called the Magic Band, with whom he recorded 13 studio albums between 1964 and 1982. His music blended elements of blues, free jazz, rock, and avant-garde composition with idiosyncratic rhythms, absurdist wordplay, and his wide vocal range. Although he achieved little commercial success, he sustained a cult following as a “highly significant” and “incalculable” influence on an array of new wave, punk, and experimental rock artists.
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