Moog's Influence on The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Dr. Dre

August 21 will mark the 18th anniversary of the death of Robert Moog, the pioneering engineer and inventor who created the first commercial synthesizer, the Moog.

Utilized by artists from the Beatles to Nine Inch Nails, Dr. Moog said there was a lot of push back in the early days of the instrument from purists, but as soon as he was able to shrink the device from its original incarnation

The Moog Modular

into the far more practical Minimoog, it quickly earned an audience.

Even reggae star Bob Marley embraced the trippy sounds he could get from the instrument.

Rick Wakeman of Yes, was said to have toured with five Minimoogs, all locked in with different settings so he wouldn't have to adjust on stage.

The keyboardist boasted, "for the first time you could go on stage and give the guitarist a run for his money."

Dr. Dre's smooth synth sounds and deep bass can often be traced back to the Minimoog.

Colin Wolfe who played bass and Moog on The Chronic said he had introduced Dre to the instrument before he went solo since N.W.A was clearly into the P-Funk samples.

"We actually started using the Moog on the N.W.A. stuff - that's when we first bought it," Wolfe told WFFD. "We discussed what we wanted the sound to be for this album, and we wanted it to be some crazy, Parliament-Funkadelic sounding like stuff. Of course they used a Moog all the time, Bernie Worrell was a master at that thing."

The Beatles used the Moog on "Here Comes The Sun."

Because George Harrison was an early adopter, he had to use the first-gen modular.

“I first heard about the Moog synthesiser in America," Harrison said. "I had to have mine made specially, because Mr. Moog had only just invented it. It was enormous, with hundreds of jack plugs and two keyboards."

The band used it in the Abbey Road sessions for "Because." "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", and "Here Comes The Sun."

Here's "Here Comes The Sun" with just the strings and the Moog so you can hear it clearly.

Before Dr. Moog created the first synthesizer, he invented a device that could emulate the wiry wave sounds of the Theremin.

In 1966, as a favor for The Beach Boys, Moog invented the Melsinar that could be easier to play but deliver that freaky effect.

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails swears by the modern day wonder. He says he has backups of the instruments because Moog synths have been part of everything he's ever done, from the industrial music of NIN to the compositions he's created alongside Atticus Ross for film scores from Soul to The Social Network and the brand new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

Portugal the Man, seen here in 2011 adding some Moog to its sound to their album In The Mountain In The Cloud.

Speaking of Portugal the Man, they are going on a tour in November around Canada with special guests Good Kid tickets available here. They will also be playing in Ohio in August and Austin in October. Tickets available on their website.

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Last updated: 11 Dec 2023, 22:37 Etc/UTC