The inventor Robert Moog was born on this day in 1934.
At fourteen, Moog built his first theremin. By the time he was thirty, his company released the first commercial synthesizer, which bears his name. Moog and his synthesizer gave a new tool to a whole generation of musical innovators across genres. Early album appearances include a spot on Abbey Road and a starring role on Wendy Carlos’ Switched-on Bach.
Among Moog’s most famous artistic collaborators was Keith Emerson, who famously was one of the first people to use the Moog on the road with Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Emerson’s solo on “Lucky Man”, said to be recorded the first day he had the Moog in the studio, was the result of his playing around with his new instrument while Greg Lake and Eddie Offord happened to be recording him. The rest, as they say, is history, and the solo which finished off ELP’s debut album is still one of the most famous recorded on the instrument.
While Emerson mostly used the synthesizer proper, other notable keyboardists of the genre, including Rick Wakeman and Don Airey, also use the Minimoog routinely. If you yourself want to try out the minimoog, the Moog Foundation has an app version available here.
In 2012, Moog’s birthday was honored by Google, who produced this Google Doodle. Although Moog died in 2005, his legacy still goes on. Much of the music celebrated on this site would not exist without the help of Moog Synthesizers; for that I tip my hat to this innovator and his remarkable instrument.
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