Moog Monday




Moog is the only musical instrument that’s as much fun to say as it is to listen to. Thank god that Dr. Robert Moog invented it and not some dude with a name like Smith, Jones or Kragnowski.

The world’s first popular electronic instrument, the Moog synthesizer was invented in 1964, and was first used in mainstream pop music in 1967 by none other than The Monkees on their album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. The Beatles (who were always ripping off The Monkees success), followed suit and used the Moog on Abbey Road just two years later.)

The moog came into its own as a musical instrument a year earlier however, with Walter Carlos’ Switched-On Bach, an all-Moog reinterpretation of some of Bach’s most well-known works. In the wake of the incredibly unlikely success of Switched-On Bach (it sold over a million copies), a flood of moog imitators followed, all of whom took classical or modern compositions and re-imagined them in Moog form, while occasionally adding in their own (vastly inferior) compositions to the mix.

None of theme ever came close to the beauty of Carlos’ creations. And his Moog recordings remain some of the most recognizable to this day. He even went onto become a well-respected film composer, working with Stanley Kubrick on A Clockwork Orange And The Shining, and even worked with Disney, creating the score for Tron. Technically speaking, Walter Carlos only worked on A Clockwork Orange…beacuse a year later Walter went under the knife and became Wendy Carlos…I’m not joking.

While Moog interpretations of classical music can be enjoyable, I’ve always enjoyed Moog pop remakes much more. One of the most Moog-covered bands was The Beatles, and I’ve included three hard-to-find electronic remakes of Beatles classics for your enjoyment. The first is an amazing take on “Eleanor Rigby” by Ms. Carlos, and the other two are by 1950s-60s pop-pianist Marty Gold. I’ve included his version of “Eleanor Rigby” so it can be compared to Carlos’ as well as his awesome take on “Daytripper”. Carlos’ version of “Eleanor Rigby” is available on various CD collections, but Gold’s Moogalicious remakes (both off his incredibly imaginatively named album, Moog Beatles) sadly remain unreleased on CD.

Wendy Carlos – Eleanor Rigby
Marty Gold – Eleanor Rigby
Marty Gold – Daytripper

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