Gershon Kingsley’s Popcorn Turns 40

Taking a bit of a break from SDCC News while I have a bit of breakfast. Thought I’d might share a historical tidbit connected to the world of Geek Music (Moogs and Buchla’s are still geek right?).

The year was 1969. A year before, Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind showed the world the commercial viability of the Moog Sythesizer by putting out Switched On Bach, a greatest hits album of Johann Sebastian Bach played entirely on Moog. Composer Gershon Kingsley, who was part of the avante guard duo of Perrey and Kingsley, was looking to out do the duo’s last album, Kaleidoscope Vibrations when he came upon a popcorn machine. Thinking he could replicate the sound into a composition, Kingsley got to work. Three months later and several songs created, “Popcorn” was released on Kingsley’s album Songs To Moog By. HeĀ  improves on it a couple year later when he forms The First Moog Quartet and then friend and fellow band member Stan Free improves on it again with his own band, Hot Butter, garnering him commercial success.

The composition has about 79+ covers to date and is considered one of the building blocks of synth-pop and Electronic music. Some covers come from famed composers like Arthur Friedler and the Boston Pops and Herb Alpert and the Tiajuana Brass. It also helped others rise to fame. Notably the Popcorn Orchestra which was Electronic pioneer Jean Michel Jarre. I’m more partial to the Marsheaux version myself.

Just thought I’d share that tidbit.

One comment

  1. Michael Cole /

    I think the original 1969 version tops them all. The last half precedes the techno/trance wave by 25-30 years.

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