Synth Pioneer Gershon Kingsley Dies Aged 97

Aphex Twin and Jay-Z are amongst those who've sampled his influential work

Synthesiser pioneer Gershon Kingsley has died aged 97.

Kingley was best known for his 1969 track, ‘Popcorn’, which became one of the first primarily electronic-based pieces of music to pick up radio play, while he was also a key figure in popularising the use of Moog synthesisers.

‘Popcorn’ was re-recorded by Hot Butter in 1972 and became a hit for them. Two years ahead of that, Kingsley joined up with Stan Free, Howard Salat, Ken Bichel and Eric W. Knight to form the First Moog Quartet. They became the first electronic music group to perform live at Carnegie Hall and also released a self-titled debut album that same year.

A year earlier, Kingsley released an album entitled Music to Moog By, which was pivotal to him popularising the Moog synthesiser. He received the Moog Music Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 for his role in pushing its use.

J Dilla, Jay-Z and De La Soul are amongst the hip-hop artists who’ve sampled his 1971 track ‘Rebirth’, while the likes of Aphex Twin, Kraftwerk and Muse have all produced their own takes on ‘Popcorn’.

Kingsley died at his Manhattan home on December 10.

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