Monday, August 22, 2005

Robert Moog dead at 71

Robert Moog, the inventor of the synthesizer, has died. He was 71. LINK

I think we all need to take a second to honor this man's contributions to modern music. Next to Leo Fender and Les Paul, I think it's fair to say that no man has broadened the landscape of popular music more than Bob Moog. Over the course of the 1970's, Moog synthesizers became the instrument for progressive music. Bands like Yes used his synthesizers so much and so well that many professional symphonic musicians feared that Moog's invention might soon mean the end of any need for their services.

Sure, some bands abused the Moog so much that it became something of a symbol for over-indulgent rock (download "Tom Sawyer" by Rush on iTunes for an example). But the true, beautiful application of a synthesizer is as beautiful a sound as any man has made on Earth -- dig up Abbey Road and give Lennon's genius "Because" a spin for the right way to use a Moog.

And the influence of the Moog went on well into the 80's, with bands like Talk Talk and David Bowie and New Order giving the gift of synth to a new generation. Moogs became a kitschy throwback vogue item in the 90s, with bands like Weezer and The Rentals ("Return of" by The Rentals, especially, is an incredible album completely devoted to the sugary-pop sounds of the Moog) using a Moog synth to hearken 70s childhood memories to Gen Xers everywhere.

And maybe the best usage of the Moog can be found in rap and R&B music. "The Chronic" by Dr. Dre -- considered by many to be one of the greatest rap albums of all time -- features the Moog as the backbone of nearly every beat on the album. Pharell's incredible beats, maybe the most sought-after in all of music, rely largely on the Moog's almost infinite sounds. Drop It Like It's Hot, indeed.

Unfortunately it's doubtful that many will realize the impact that Bob Moog had on music, and his obituary will probably be limited to a few inches, if that, and buried into most newspapers.

That's a shame.

And just to keep this entry political: What's the deal with gas prices? Sheesh!


Blogger Rex Publius said...

Hear hear!

2:48 PM  
Blogger A Connecticut Yankee in King Beltran's Court said...

Agreed, dude!

4:43 PM  

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