Ray Collins, a singer whose dispute with one guitarist led him to hire another, Frank Zappa, with whom he would go on to form the avant-garde rock group the Mothers of Invention, died Monday in Pomona, Calif.
The death of Mr. Collins, who was in his mid-70s, followed his admission to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center a week earlier for cardiac arrest, according to local news accounts.
Mr. Collins entered the national spotlight with the Mothers of Invention, an outlet for Zappa's unique sense of humor and challenging, unorthodox compositions. But his musical beginnings were more mainstream. In the mid-1960s he was singing falsetto in a rhythm-and-blues cover band called the Soul Giants when things soured between him and the band's guitarist, Ray Hunt. He fired Hunt and replaced him with Zappa.