Long before technology enabled each of us to cram our entire record collections into digital slivers the size of cigarette cases, there were essentially two ways of storing high-fidelity recordings: big tape and vinyl. But in the 1950s, the transistor came along and changed everything. Yes, it enabled greasers to blast doo-wop hits or whatever on their pocket-size AM radios, but it also made it possible for Robert "Bob" Moog to perfect the analog synthesizer -- a development commemorated on today's Google Doodle in honor of what would have been the inventor's 78th birthday. (He died in 2005.)
If you're like most people, you're probably wondering how the heck that thing on Google.com's main page works -- and I'm not here to tell you, though I'm pretty sure you can tweak the sound that comes out of the keyboard by twiddling the various knobs. Instead, I'll just say that the Moog synthesizer was the Kubrickian obelisk that pointed the way to everything from "I Am the Walrus" to "Wanna Be Startin' Something," to "Mitt Likes Music, Including This."
Yes, there had been other synthesizers, but this was the first one that was versatile and druggy-sounding enough to break up pop music's guitar-bass-drum hegemony. The Beatles used the Moog on Abbey Road, Stevie Wonder used it on his classic 70s albums, the late Donna Summer used it on "I Feel Love," the Beastie Boys and Q-Tip sampled it on "Get It Together" and 90s indie-rock stalwarts Stereolab basically built an entire identity around it.
Robert "Bob" Moog was born in New York City on May 23, 1934, and developed his classic synthesizer models in the late 60s and early 70s. He was the subject of a 2004 documentary, simply titled "Moog," and his legacy inspired the creation of an entire festival, Moogfest, which presented its first-ever Moog Innovation Award to the 1980s art-punk band DEVO in 2010.
Moog never claimed to be a musician -- "I see myself as a toolmaker and the musicians are my customers," he once said -- but his vision helped change the sound of our lives.
Below, check out HuffPost Entertainment's Spotify playlist of songs that make use of various instruments in the Moog family.
Dr Bob Moog demonstrates the Minimoog
In extract from a 1980's BBC Micro Live special on electronic music in which Dr Bob Moog demonstrates the Minimoog.
Robert Moog Google Doodle
Google honors Robert Moog. He was an American pioneer of electronic music. Bob Moog best known as the inventor of the Moog synthesizer. The Moog synthesizer was one of the first widely used electronic musical instruments. Can you see the Google logo? Robert Moog was born on May 23, 1934. In 1953 at age 19, Moog founded his first company, RA Moog Co. In 1972 Moog changed the company's name to Moog Music. Bob Moog died on April 28, 2005. Happy Birthday, Robert Moog. Thumbs UP if you can use it :-) More about Robert Moog: - www.moogmusic.com - http - www.tagseoblog.de (german)
Robert Moog Google Doodle. A life in sound. The inventor of the Moog synthesizer 78th Birthday
The inventor of the Moog synthesizer. A life in sound: Created by JM.Vargas Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org
The Screen Savers: History of The Moog Synthesizer
Segments like this one are really what made TSS so great. Dr. Robert Moog explains his Moog synthesizer and the Etherwave Theremin, an instrument that you have to see to believe.
CELEBRATE BOB: Moog Factory Mural Time Lapse
To #CelebrateBob on what would have been his his 78th birthday, Moog Music commissioned a larger-than-life mural of Dr. Moog for their factory in Asheville, NC. The mural was created by local Asheville artist, Dustin Spagnola. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOB! Love, your family at Moog. Dustin Spagnola is a contemporary visual artist who has shown and created work in NYC, Miami, New Orleans, Richmond, Atlanta, Washington, DC and in his home, Asheville, NC. His work is often political in nature and eschews corporate advertising and graffiti culture alike. See more of his work at dustinspagnola.com
Synths Legends Bob Moog's last public appearance audioMIDI.com
Bob Moog Synthesizer Emerson, Wakeman
Happy Birthday Bob Moog!
In Honor of Dr. Robert Moog, inventor of the famous Minimoog Synthesizer and so much more.
Thank an Engineer - Bob Moog and the Moog Synthesizer
Tyler takes a look at the father of modern electronic music and showcases some super sweet theremin impersonation skills.
UNC Asheville - Noontime Concert and Talk with Dr. Robert Moog
September 3, 2003 Dr. Robert Moog demonstrates the Theremin and the Minimoog Voyager and talks about how a musician learns to become a skilled player. UNC Asheville: www.unca.edu Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) Resources: tlt.unca.edu