Nelson George’s All Hail The Beat offers a short history of the Roland TR-808:
The sounds of the Roland TR-808 drum machine inspire musicians around the world, even though the device hasn’t been made since 1984 and most of its avid users have never actually seen one.
The Roland TR-808 was introduced in 1980 and was produced for four years.
Stuff you might not know about the Roland TR-808:
- It was originally designed for musicians to create demos.
- The TR stands for ‘Transistor Rhythm’.
- The first band to use the Roland TR-808 was Yellow Magic Orchestra.
- In a review, Keyboard Magazine suggested that the TR-808 sounded ‘like marching anteaters’.
- The 808 sound went on to be used on more hit records than any other drum machine.