Perrey and Kingsley
The musical duo Perrey and Kingsley (Jean-Jacques Perrey
Jean-Jacques Perrey
Jean-Jacques Perrey is a French electronic music producer and was an early pioneer in the genre. He is best known within the sphere of popular music as a member of the influential electronic music duo Perrey and Kingsley, and for his unusually light-hearted style of music.-Biography:Perrey was...

, b. 1929 and Gershon Kingsley
Gershon Kingsley
Gershon Kingsley a contemporary German American composer, is well known as a pioneer of electronic music and the Moog synthesizer and founder of the First Moog Quartet, as a partner in the famous electronic music duo Perrey and Kingsley, and for his rock-inspired compositions for Jewish religious...

, b. 1922) are pioneers in the field of electronic music
Electronic music
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology. Examples of electromechanical sound...

. Before their collaboration, starting in 1965, electronic music was considered to be purely avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

. They were among the first to create electronic music for the general public.


German-born Kingsley fled Deutsches Reich
Deutsches Reich
Deutsches Reich was the official name for Germany from 1871 to 1945 in the German language.As the literal English translation "German Empire" denotes a monarchy, the term is used only in reference to Germany prior to the fall of the monarchies at the end of World War I in 1918...

 to Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and began his career in music as a pit conductor for Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 musical shows after graduating from the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music
California Institute of the Arts
The California Institute of the Arts, commonly referred to as CalArts, is located in Valencia, in Los Angeles County, California. It was incorporated in 1961 as the first degree-granting institution of higher learning in the United States created specifically for students of both the visual and the...

. Perrey was a French accordion player and medical student who abandoned his studies after meeting Georges Jenny in Paris in 1952. Jenny was the inventor of the Ondioline
The Ondioline is an electronic keyboard instrument, invented in 1941 by the Frenchman Georges Jenny, and is a forerunner of today's synthesizers.The Ondioline was capable of creating a wide variety of sounds...

, a vacuum tube
Vacuum tube
In electronics, a vacuum tube, electron tube , or thermionic valve , reduced to simply "tube" or "valve" in everyday parlance, is a device that relies on the flow of electric current through a vacuum...

-powered keyboard instrument that was a forerunner of today's synthesizer
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument capable of producing sounds by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. These electrical signals are played through a loudspeaker or set of headphones...

s and was capable of creating an amazing variety of sounds. Its keyboard had a unique feature — the keyboard was suspended on special springs that were capable of introducing a natural vibrato, if the player moved the keyboard from side to side with the playing hand. The result was a beautiful, almost human-like vibrato that lent the Ondioline a wide range of expression. The keyboard was also pressure-sensitive, and the instrument had a knee volume lever as well. Jenny hired Perrey as a salesman and demonstrator of the new instrument. As a result he came to the attention of French singer Édith Piaf
Édith Piaf
Édith Piaf , born Édith Giovanna Gassion, was a French singer and cultural icon who became widely regarded as France's greatest popular singer. Her singing reflected her life, with her specialty being ballads...

, who sponsored him to record a demo tape that later facilitated him access to work and live in the United States between 1960 and 1970.

Their first meeting

Perrey and Kingsley came together during Kingsley's stint as a staff arranger at Vanguard Records
Vanguard Records
Vanguard Records is a record label set up in 1950 by brothers Maynard and Seymour Solomon in New York. It started as a classical label, but is perhaps best known for its catalogue of recordings by a number of pivotal folk and blues artists from the 1960s; the Bach Guild was a subsidiary...

, an independent label in New York City that specialized not in avant-garde music, but in folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

. At that time, Perrey was experimenting with tape loop
Tape loop
In music, tape loops are loops of prerecorded magnetic tape used to create repetitive, rhythmic musical patterns or dense layers of sound. Contemporary composers such as Steve Reich and Karlheinz Stockhausen used tape loops to create phase patterns and rhythms...

s, which he had been introduced to by the French avant-garde musician Pierre Schaeffer
Pierre Schaeffer
Pierre Henri Marie Schaeffer was a French composer, writer, broadcaster, engineer, musicologist and acoustician of the 20th century. His innovative work in both the sciences —particularly communications and acoustics— and the various arts of music, literature and radio presentation after the end...

. Each loop was a laboriously hand-spliced assemblage of filtered sounds, pitch-manipulated sounds and sometimes even animal calls. The end result of their first collaborative effort in 1966 combined Perrey's tape loops, and his inventive melodies with Kingsley's complementary arrangements and instrumentation. The resulting album was filled with tunes that sounded like music from an animated cartoon gone berserk. Their first LP was titled The In Sound From Way Out!
The In Sound From Way Out! (Perrey and Kingsley album)
The In Sound from Way Out! was the first collaboration between electronic musicians Perrey and Kingsley and considered to be the first-ever mainstream electronic music album. It was released in 1966 on Vanguard Records, an independent label in Santa Monica, California.Perrey and Kingsley came...

and was released on Vanguard Records that same year. Since this was decades before the advent of widespread digital technology, each tune took weeks of painstaking editing and splicing to produce.

The twelve rather whimsical tracks bore names like "Unidentified Flying Object" and "The Little Man From Mars" in an attempt to make electronic music more accessible to the general public. In fact, "Unidentified Flying Object" and another of the album's cuts, "Electronic Can-Can" eventually became theme music for "Wonderama
Wonderama was a long-running children's television program that appeared on the Metromedia-owned stations from 1955 to 1986, with WNEW-TV in New York City being its originating station....

," a Metromedia
Metromedia was a media company that owned radio and television stations in the United States from 1956 to 1986 and owned Orion Pictures from 1986-1997.- Overview :...

 Television children's program of the early 1970s. Though most of the melodies were original, two borrowed from the classics. "Swan's Splashdown" was based on Pyotr Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Little Swans
Danse des petits cygnes
Danse des petits cygnes is a famous dance from the ballet Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky, from the ballet’s second act, the fourth movement of the No. 13 piece, but has become synonymous with the choreography by Lev Ivanov...

" while "Countdown At 6" borrowed from Amilcare Ponchielli
Amilcare Ponchielli
Amilcare Ponchielli was an Italian composer, largely of operas.-Biography:Born in Paderno Fasolaro, now Paderno Ponchielli, near Cremona, Ponchielli won a scholarship at the age of nine to study music at the Milan Conservatory, writing his first symphony by the time he was ten years old.Two years...

's "Dance of the Hours
Dance of the Hours
Dance of the Hours is a short ballet from Act 3, Scene 2 of the opera La Gioconda composed by Amilcare Ponchielli. It depicts the hours of the day through solo and ensemble dances. The opera was first performed in 1876 and was revised in 1880...

," much as Allan Sherman
Allan Sherman
Allan Sherman was an American comedy writer and television producer who became famous as a song parodist in the early 1960s. His first album, My Son, the Folk Singer , became the fastest-selling record album up to that time...

 did in 1963 with his hit recording, "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh
Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh
"Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh " is a Grammy Award-winning novelty song by Allan Sherman, based on letters of complaint he received from his son Robert while Robert attended Camp Champlain in Westport, New York. The song is a parody that complains about the fictional "Camp Granada" and is set to the...

." The final cut on the album, "Visa To The Stars" is co-credited to "Andy Badale," who would go on to fame as Angelo Badalamenti
Angelo Badalamenti
Angelo Badalamenti is an American composer, known for his movie soundtrack work for director David Lynch, notably Blue Velvet, the Twin Peaks saga and Mulholland Drive...

, arranger of the music in many of David Lynch
David Lynch
David Keith Lynch is an American filmmaker, television director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor. Known for his surrealist films, he has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed "Lynchian", and which is characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound...

's movies. In contrast to the rest of the album, "Visa To The Stars" is a more serious gesture and lacks the unusual sound effects of the other eleven cuts. It is highly reminiscent of the style of Joe Meek
Joe Meek
Robert George "Joe" Meek was a pioneering English record producer and songwriter....

 and his hit, "Telstar
Telstar (song)
"Telstar" is a 1962 instrumental record performed by The Tornados. It was the first single by a British band to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and was also a number one hit in the UK. The record was named after the AT&T communications satellite Telstar, which went into orbit in...

" by The Tornados
The Tornados
The Tornados were an English instrumental group of the 1960s that acted as backing group for many of record producer Joe Meek's productions and also for singer Billy Fury. They enjoyed several chart hits in their own right, including the UK and U.S. Number One "Telstar" , the first U.S...

. Perrey's Ondioline carries the melody throughout. This is also comparable to Kai Winding's 1963 recording of "More", which also carries the melody on the Ondioline.

Hollywood takes notice

Their second and final collaborative effort came in 1967 with the release of Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Spotlight on the Moog
Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Spotlight on the Moog
Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Spotlight on the Moog was the second collaboration between electronic musicians Perrey and Kingsley. It was released in 1967 on Vanguard Records, an independent label in Santa Monica, California.-Track listing:...

. This was a similar sounding effort, but instead of all original compositions, the album was mostly versions of popular songs of the day. In this album, Perrey's tape loops and effects were added in post-production after Kingsley's orchestrations were recorded, a technique now commonly used by electronic artists to this day. The album was one of the first to use the new Moog modular synthesizer
Moog modular synthesizer
Moog modular synthesizer refers to any of a number of monophonic analog modular synthesizers designed by the late electronic instrument pioneer Dr. Robert Moog and manufactured by R.A Moog Co...

, a massive, complicated electronic instrument resembling an old-style telephone switchboard. The album also bore two notable singles. In fact, the Moog album was released a year and a half before the release of Wendy Carlos
Wendy Carlos
Wendy Carlos is an American composer and electronic musician. Carlos first came to notice in the late 1960s with recordings made on the Moog synthesizer, then a relatively new and unknown instrument; most notable were LPs of synthesized Bach and the soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's film A...

' ground-breaking Switched-On Bach
Switched-On Bach
-Details:The album consists of pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed on a Moog synthesizer, a modular synthesizer system, one of which can be seen at the back of the room on the album cover. "Switched-On Bach," or "S-OB" as Carlos referred to it, was recorded on a custom-built 8 track recorder...

. "The Savers" would go on to fame in 1968 as the Clio Award-winning music for a television ad for No-Cal diet drinks, and in 1972 as the theme to the American television game show "The Joker's Wild
The Joker's Wild
The Joker's Wild is an American television game show that aired at different times during the 1970s through the 1990s. Contestants answered questions based on categories that were determined randomly by a mechanism resembling a slot machine....

". About the time "The Savers" was being used on television, engineers with the Walt Disney Company were at work on a new parade at Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park (Anaheim)
Disneyland Park is a theme park located in Anaheim, California, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of the Walt Disney Company. Known as Disneyland when it opened on July 18, 1955, and still almost universally referred to by that name, it is the only theme park to be...

, the "Main Street Electrical Parade
Main Street Electrical Parade
The Main Street Electrical Parade is a regularly scheduled parade, created by Bob Jani and project director Ron Miziker, famous for its long run at Disneyland at the Disneyland Resort most summers between 1972–1974, 1977–1982, and 1985-1996...

." The idea was to cover floats with thousands of electronically controlled colored lights and to set the show to music. Paul Beaver
Paul Beaver
Paul Beaver was a jazz musician and a pioneer in popular electronic music, using the Moog synthesizer.Beaver was the electronic half of a 1965 experimental free-form album for Dunhill Records with studio drummer Hal Blaine called "Psychedelic Percussion"...

 and then later Disney musician Don Dorsey
Don Dorsey
Don Dorsey is an American audio production consultant, and a designer and director of fireworks and nighttime spectacular shows From 1975 to 1992 he served as the main audio recording and post-production engineer for the Entertainment Division of Disneyland Park, manning console knobs and faders...

 helped rework a Perrey-Kingsley composition called "Baroque Hoedown
Baroque Hoedown
"Baroque Hoedown" was created by early synthesizer pioneers Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley in 1966. The composition was once described as being a "harpsichord gone country". It later became the theme song for Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade and for a time, the Electrical Water...

," an upbeat, almost sparkling number best described as "harpsichord gone country." It would become the underlying theme song of the parade for the next three decades at Disneyland
Disneyland Park (Anaheim)
Disneyland Park is a theme park located in Anaheim, California, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of the Walt Disney Company. Known as Disneyland when it opened on July 18, 1955, and still almost universally referred to by that name, it is the only theme park to be...

, Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom Park is one of four theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort located near Orlando, Florida. The first park built at the resort, Magic Kingdom opened Oct. 1, 1971. Designed and built by WED Enterprises, the park's layout and attractions are similar to Disneyland in Anaheim, California...

, Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland
is a 115 acre theme park at the Tokyo Disney Resort located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, near Tokyo. Its main gate is directly adjacent to both Maihama Station and Tokyo Disneyland Station. It was the first Disney park to be built outside of the United States and opened on April 15, 1983...

, Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Park (Paris)
Disneyland Park is a theme park at Disneyland Paris, a resort complex just outside of Paris, in the new town of Marne-la-Vallée, France. The first of two parks built at the resort, it opened as Euro Disneyland on 12 April, 1992...

, Disney's California Adventure Park and is still in use today at Magic Kingdom.

Several segments of Sesame Street
Sesame Street
Sesame Street has undergone significant changes in its history. According to writer Michael Davis, by the mid-1970s the show had become "an American institution". The cast and crew expanded during this time, including the hiring of women in the crew and additional minorities in the cast. The...

produced in the 1970s also made use of music from The In Sound from Way Out, as did other television programs, such as "The Red Skelton Show." A skit from the October 23, 1976 airing of Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

 titled "Jeopardy! 1999"
Griffin's first conception of the game used a board comprising ten categories with ten clues each, but after finding that this board could not be shown on camera easily, he reduced it to two rounds of thirty clues each, with five clues in each of six categories...

 used "Unidentified Flying Object" as the opening and closing themes.

Their impact today

Though Perrey and Kingsley never enjoyed tremendous commercial success, their music inspired a generation of musicians and was used (and still is used) extensively in advertising. Moog Indigo, a Jean-Jacques Perrey solo album from 1970 featured a cut called "E.V.A." (also co-written by "Andy Badale," aka: Angelo Badalamenti
Angelo Badalamenti
Angelo Badalamenti is an American composer, known for his movie soundtrack work for director David Lynch, notably Blue Velvet, the Twin Peaks saga and Mulholland Drive...

). This slow, funky track is one of the most sampled in hip hop
Hip hop music
Hip hop music, also called hip-hop, rap music or hip-hop music, is a musical genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted...

 and rap
Rapping refers to "spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics". The art form can be broken down into different components, as in the book How to Rap where it is separated into “content”, “flow” , and “delivery”...

 music history. A track on Siriusmo
Siriusmo is a Berlin-based music producer. His tracks can be broadly defined as Techno or Electronic and are formulated with a variety of samples.- Biography :...

's 2010 release "The Plasterer Of Love", entitled "Blaue Sonne" features a sample of "Lovers Concerto", which features on "The in Sound from Way Out." In the U.K., pioneered by Kenny Everett, DJs extensively used their tracks as continuity music or took clips for use as jingle backing from the late '60s and early '70s. In the U.S., it is currently being used in a TV ad for Zelnorm
Tegaserod is a 5-HT4 agonist manufactured by Novartis and sold under the name Zelnorm for the management of irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. Approved by the FDA in 2002, it was subsequently removed from the market in 2007 due to FDA concerns about possible adverse cardiovascular effects...

, a prescription medication for female irritable bowel syndrome. The same album produced "The Elephant Never Forgets" which is still being used as the theme of the Televisa
Televisa is a Mexican multimedia conglomerate, the largest mass media company in Latin America and in the Spanish-speaking world. It is a major international entertainment business, with much of its programming airing in the United States on Univision, with which it has an exclusive contract...

 sitcom, "El Chavo del Ocho."  Even the Beastie Boys
Beastie Boys
Beastie Boys are an American hip hop trio from New York City. The group consists of Mike D who plays the drums, MCA who plays the bass, and Ad-Rock who plays the guitar....

 (who asked permission from Perrey and Kingsley) used both the title and cover art of P & K's first album for their own The In Sound From Way Out!
The In Sound from Way Out! (Beastie Boys album)
The In Sound from Way Out! is an instrumental compilation by the Beastie Boys, released in 1996. The title and cover art concept were borrowed from the Perrey and Kingsley album of the same name.-CD version:#"Groove Holmes" – 2:33#"Sabrosa" – 3:30...

album in 1996, while Smash Mouth
Smash Mouth
Smash Mouth is an American rock band from San Jose, California. The band was formed in 1994, and was originally composed of Steve Harwell, Greg Camp, Paul De Lisle and Kevin Coleman as lead vocals, guitar, bass and drums respectively...

 (who didn't ask for permission) borrowed the opening riff from "Swan's Splashdown" for their 1997 hit, "Walkin' On the Sun
Walkin' On the Sun
"Walkin' on the Sun" is the debut single by American rock band Smash Mouth from the album Fush Yu Mang. Released in 1997, it was Smash Mouth's first major single, reaching #1 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay singles chart...

". Gershon Kingsley's biggest contribution to mainstream pop music came in the early 1970s as the composer of "Popcorn
Popcorn (instrumental)
"Popcorn" is an early electronic pop instrumental, originally composed by Gershon Kingsley in 1969 on his album Music to Moog By. The same year this tune was released and recorded at Audio Fidelity Records label in New York City....

," the single biggest hit of the German phantom-band "Hot Butter
Hot Butter
Hot Butter was an instrumental cover band fronted by the keyboard player Stan Free. The other band members were Dave Mullaney, John Abbott, Bill Jerome, Steve Jerome, and Danny Jordan. They are best known for their 1972 cover of the Moog synthpop instrumental, "Popcorn", originally recorded by its...

", led by American Stan Free
Stan Free
Stanley Free was a New York City-based jazz musician, composer, conductor and arranger.Free was born in Brooklyn in 1922, and received a classical musical education, studying with Alexander Siloti and also at the Juilliard School. While still in his teens, he organized a combo that played the...


Their work for Vanguard is available on a three-CD set called The Out Sound From Way In! The Complete Vanguard Recordings. The bonus CD features two remixes of "E.V.A." by Fatboy Slim
Fatboy Slim
Norman Quentin Cook better known by his former stage name Fatboy Slim, is a British DJ, electronic dance music musician, and record producer. He is a pioneer of the big beat genre that achieved mainstream popularity in the 1990s...

, remixes of "Winchester Cathedral" and "Lover's Concerto" from Kaleidoscopic Vibrations as well as "Electronic Can-Can" and "Unidentified Flying Object," each by techno
Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the United States during the mid to late 1980s. The first recorded use of the word techno, in reference to a genre of music, was in 1988...

 artists Eurotrash.

Perrey has released four new CDs since the year 2000: Eclektronics - recorded in 1997 with musician David Chazam (Basta, 2000), and Circus of Life - recorded in 1999, with musician Gilbert Sigrist (PHMP, 2000). Perrey released The Happy Electropop Music Machine (2006), and Destination Space (2008), with musician and arranger Dana Countryman.

Perrey lives in France, and is in high demand for lectures and concerts all over the world. In August 2006, Perrey gave a concert tour with Dana Countryman
Dana Countryman
Dana Countryman is an American electronic music composer and performer notable for his collaboration with French electropop artist Jean-Jacques Perrey. In addition, he was a songwriter and performer in the cabaret-act quartet The Amazing Pink Things...

, of Seattle, San Francisco and Hollywood, to support the release of "The Happy Electropop Music Machine" CD. Perrey performed in Russia, in April of 2007 with David Chazam, and Perrey and Countryman did a concert in Norway in September of 2007. In 2008, Perrey and Chazam performed in Bucharest, Romania, and in 2008, Perrey and Countryman gave concerts in Newcastle, England, New York City and Montreal, Canada to support the release of their "Destination Space" CD, also on Oglio Records.

Gershon Kingsley lives in New York City, and in 2007 was a featured performer, and received the "Lifetime Achievement Award" at Moogfest
Moogfest is a three-day electronic music festival that takes place in Asheville, North Carolina, United States, every year since 2010 towards the end of October. The festival is held in Asheville because it is the city where Robert Arthur "Bob" Moog, the inventor of the Moog synthesizer and...

, an annual celebration of Dr. Robert Moog and his synthesizers.


  • 1966: The in Sound from Way Out!
    The In Sound From Way Out! (Perrey and Kingsley album)
    The In Sound from Way Out! was the first collaboration between electronic musicians Perrey and Kingsley and considered to be the first-ever mainstream electronic music album. It was released in 1966 on Vanguard Records, an independent label in Santa Monica, California.Perrey and Kingsley came...

  • 1967: Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Spotlight on the Moog
    Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Spotlight on the Moog
    Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Spotlight on the Moog was the second collaboration between electronic musicians Perrey and Kingsley. It was released in 1967 on Vanguard Records, an independent label in Santa Monica, California.-Track listing:...

  • 1991: The Essential Perrey & Kingsley
  • 2001: The Out Sound from Way In! The Complete Vanguard Recordings
  • 2007: Vanguard Visionaries: Perrey & Kingsley

External links

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