Synth pioneer and maker of ‘Popcorn’, Gershon Kingsley, dies age 97 | DJMag.com Skip to main content

Synth pioneer and maker of ‘Popcorn’, Gershon Kingsley, dies age 97

His track was one of the first electronic-based pieces of music to be played on radio 

Synth pioneer Gershon Kingsley dies
Synth pioneer Gershon Kingsley dies

Synth pioneer Gershon Kingsley, who was best known for his 1969 electronic track ‘Popcorn’, has died aged 97. 

The German-American artist’s composition was one of the first electronic-based pieces of music to be played on radio and became a hit for Hot Butter in 1972.

Other artists who have covered ‘Popcorn’ include Jean Michel Jarre, Aphex Twin, Muse, Crazy Frog and The Muppets. The composition was also used in Soviet animated series Nu, pogodi!

Kingsley was born Goetz Gustaf Ksinski in Bochum, Germany, in 1922. He headed to New York in 1946 and studied at the LA Conservatory of Music before going working on Broadway productions. 

In 1969 Kingsley released the album ‘Music to Moog By’ before forming the First Moog Quartet with Howard Salat, Ken Bichel, Stan Free and Eric W. Knight in 1970. 

They were the first electronic group to perform live at Carnegie Hall and released a self-titled debut album in the same year.

Kingsley’s 1971 track ‘Rebirth’ has been sampled by hip-hop artists including Freddie Gibbs, De La Soul, Jay-Z, J Dilla and Madlib. 

Earlier this year experimental producer Blanck Mass picked Kingsley's 'Popcorn' among 10 tracks that have inspired him throughout his career.

Listen to ‘Popcorn’ and ‘Rebirth’ below. 

 


 

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