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Gershon Kingsley

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Gershon Kingsley (born October 28, 1922, Bochum, Germany) is a Jewish American contemporary composer who is famous for composing the first ever electronic pop instrumental song, "Popcorn". He formed a partnership with Frenchman Jean-Jacques Perrey, becoming widely recognized in the music industry. A pioneer of electronic music, he restarted recording music and cover versions in 2004.

Early life

Kingsley was born Götz Gustav Ksinski in 1922 in Bochum, Germany into a Jewish family which fled to Palestine in 1938, while the Nazi Party was in power in Germany. After his family settled in Palestine he became a self-taught pianist and performed with local jazz bands around Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. He led the First Moog Quartet and was the first person to use the Moog synthesizer in live performance. His compositions are eclectic and vary between avant-Garde and pop styles.

Musical career

His career as a pop musician took off with the release of The In Sound from Way Out!, which he recorded with Jean-Jacques Perrey. The Perrey-Kingsley duo went on to record Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Spotlight on the Moog and subsequently went their separate ways. Kingsley then recorded Music To Moog By, a classic Moog album consisting mainly of cover songs, originally by The Beatles, Beethoven, and Simon and Garfunkel. His next effort, titled First Moog Quartet, is a compilation of live recordings from his nationwide tour featuring no fewer than four Moog synthesizers. Some of these compositions are more experimental, featuring spoken word and beat poetry backed by extraterrestrial synthetic noises and tones. Kingsley moved beyond the Moog, and later pioneered the use of the earliest Fairlight and Synclavier digital synthesizers.


Kingsley was quoted in 2005 as saying that in 1969 he was listening to a popcorn machine and thought he could make a tune out of it. He spent the next day playing his Moog synth looking for a catchy riff. He then constructed the song in the studio entirely on the Moog, resulting in Popcorn. Released eighty-seven days later along with the album Music To Moog By it sparked unprecedented success with it being heard all around the world. It is still popular today.

List of Cover versions of Popcorn

  • Hot Butter
  • Marsheaux
  • Anarchic System
  • Jean Michel Jarre
  • Crazy Frog
  • Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops
  • Aphex Twin
  • Gigi D' Agostino
  • The Time Frequency
  • Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
  • The Treble Spankers
  • The Boomtang Boys
  • La Strana Societa
  • Los Pekenikes
  • Muse

The song has not been covered by Kraftwerk though mislabeled copies of the song are in circulation. A version by hardcore artist Rezidents is mislabeled as by avant-garde group The Residents.


  • 1969 Music To Moog By
  • 1970 First Moog Quartet
  • 2005 Voices from the Shadow
  • 2006 God Is a Moog

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Gershon Kingsley. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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