Freak Out! is the debut album by American band The Mothers of Invention, released June 27, 1966 on Verve Records. Often cited as one of rock music's first concept albums, the album is a satirical expression of frontman Frank Zappa's perception of American pop culture. It was also one of the earliest double albums in rock music (although Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde preceded it by a week), and the first 2-record debut. In the UK the album was originally released as a single disc.
The album was produced by Tom Wilson, who signed The Mothers, formerly a bar band called the Soul Giants. Zappa said many years later that Wilson signed the group to a record deal in the belief that they were a white blues band. The album features vocalist Ray Collins, along with bass player Roy Estrada, drummer Jimmy Carl Black and guitar player Elliot Ingber, who would later join Captain Beefheart's Magic Band under the name Winged Eel Fingerling
The band's original repertoire consisted of rhythm and blues covers; though after Zappa joined the band he encouraged them to play his own original material, and the name was changed to The Mothers. The musical content of Freak Out! ranges from rhythm and blues, doo-wop and standard blues-influenced rock to orchestral arrangements and avant-garde sound collages. Although the album was initially poorly received in the United States, it was a success in Europe. It gained a cult following in America, where it continued to sell in substantial quantities until it was discontinued in the early 1970s.
In 1999, it was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award, and in 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it among the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2006, The MOFO Project/Object, an audio documentary on the making of the album, was released in honor of its 40th anniversary.