Decades after he helped to pioneer and popularise the use of the synthesiser, the great Gershon Kingsley has sadly passed away at the age of 97.
Born in Germany in 1922, Gershon Kingsley left the country in the late ’30s, eventually settling in the US after spending a few years in Palestine, where he taught himself how to play the piano.
Rising to fame throughout the ’60s thanks to The In Sound From Way Out, a groundbreaking collaboration with Jean-Jacques Perrey, 1969 saw Kingsley release Music to Moog By, an electronic album featuring a number of covers of contemporary music, including artists such as The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel, played on a Moog synthesiser.
While the record also featured the song ‘Popcorn’, the track didn’t become widely known until Hot Butter covered it in 1972, leading to a number of covers over the years, including artists such as Aphex Twin and the divisive Crazy Frog.
We are saddened to share that pioneering synthesist and legendary composer Gershon Kingsley has passed away. He was 97 years old.
— Bob Moog Foundation (@MoogFoundation) December 13, 2019
Speaking to Reuters back in 2010, Kingsley noted that his iconic composition was such a simple piece of music that has managed to stand the test of time.
“’Popcorn’ is a classical melody, it could easily be incorporated into a Bach piece,” he explained. “It’s so transparent — it’s like why you can’t change a Mozart melody. It took me five minutes. But I could never do it again.
“On my gravestone it will say ‘The composer of Popcorn’,” he joked. “Unfortunately. I’ve had enough popcorn.”
As the Moog Foundation has revealed though, the music pioneer has now passed away at the age of 97.
“We are saddened to share that pioneering synthesist and legendary composer Gershon Kingsley has passed away,” they shared on Twitter. “Our love, respect and condolences go out to his family and loved ones. He will be deeply missed.”
At the current time, no cause of death has been offered up, though our thoughts go out to the friends, family, and colleagues of Gershon Kingsley at the current time.