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 (1964–1982), with whom he recorded 13 studio albums. Noted for his powerful singing voice and his wide vocal range,Commonly reported as five octaves (Captain Beefheart. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica]. Retrieved January 28, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition), though reports have varied from three octaves to seven and a half: Van Vliet also played the harmonica, saxophone, and numerous other wind instruments. His music integrated blues, rock, psychedelia, and free jazz with contemporary experimental composition and the [[avant-garde]. 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,Rolling Stone] 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.Loder, Kurt. June 24, 1999. A Crossover of a Different Color. Los Angeles Times.
Van Vliet died in 2010, having suffered from multiple sclerosis for many years.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “Captain Beefheart”, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.