Electronic Pop Pioneer Jean-Jacques Perrey Has Died


French composer & synthesist Jean-Jacques Perrey, a pioneer of electronic pop music, has died at the age of 87.

Perrey (January 20, 1929 – November 4, 2016) is best known for bringing the technology and sounds of experimental electronic music to pop and infusing his music with a sense of humor. He worked with early electronic keyboards, musique concrète and released a long string of Moog albums.

Perrey was an early advocate of Georges Jenny’s Ondioline keyboard. With Gershon Kingsley, Perrey released The In Sound From Way Out & Kaleidoscopic Vibrations. And, as a solo artist, Perrey released albums like The Amazing New Electronic Pop Sound of Jean Jacques Perrey & Moog Indigo.

One of his most iconic songs is E.V.A., from Moog Indigo:

His collaboration with Kingsley, Baroque Hoedown, is known to millions as the theme of Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade.

Perrey stayed active as a musician throughout his life, releasing a pair of happy synthpop style albums with synthesist Dana Countryman, other collaborations and composing for television and the stage.

Here is Perrey, in a 1960 TV appearance on I’ve Got A Secret:

7 thoughts on “Electronic Pop Pioneer Jean-Jacques Perrey Has Died

  1. The man was a legend. I visited Disneyland, California as a young child and was completely mesmerised by the vocoder intro and synthesizer music I heard in the electrical parade (Baroque Hoedown). Soon after that, my parents bought me my first synth and I eventually became a full-time musician and synth player (I’m in my fifties now). Thank you Jean-Jaques. Thank you so, so much! RIP.

  2. I saw him share a stage with Dr Bob, no less, in Edinburgh. He played a recording of his tape splice rendition of Flight of the Bumblebee. I was gobsmacked! He told a good story of playing the tape to Salvador Dali.

    This was less than a year before Dr Bob died. He seemed very fit, and it was a shock to hear of his death.

  3. Jean-Jacques Perrey has been my musical hero since I was 5 years old, when I first heard “The Happy Moog!”, on Pickwick Records. I’m glad I got to meet him in 2006, on his second to last tour with Dana Countryman, in support of “The Happy Electropop Music Machine!”

    I booked a flight to San Francisco, and the man was as great I thought he would be. He even had his stuffed elephant with him! I was pinching myself the whole time he performed, to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

    He said to me, “Don’t forget to be happy!” A thing I was happy to do, as I had recently written a song about that very thing, with a moog bass directly inspired by Jean-Jacques! Dana Countryman took my picture with him, and Jean-Jacques signed my Happy Moog record and my Dotcom blank panel, which Roger kindly sent last minute so I could build my JJP tribute modular.

    The last thing Jean-Jacques said to me was, “Keep on smiling!” His message of Peace and Morality is just what the world needs right now. I will do my best to spread that message with Chelsea, my little whitewashed Moog Prodigy.

    Rest in Happiness, Jean-Jacques.

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