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Jean-Jacques Perrey (1929 - 2016)

bthrewww / Wikimedia Commons

Jean-Jacques Perrey (1929 - 2016)

Jean-Jacques Perrey, a French pioneer of electronic music, died Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, of lung cancer in Lausanne, Switzerland, according to multiple news sources. He was 87.

Perrey’s “Baroque Hoedown” was used by Disneyland as the soundtrack for their Main Street Electrical Parade. The original recording was featured on the Perrey and Kingsley album, “Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Electronic Pop Music From Way Out,” released in 1967. The parade became a regular feature at Disney theme parks beginning in 1971. Perrey didn’t know his music had been licensed for the attraction until he visited the park in 1980.

Born in France Jan. 20, 1929, Perrey began experimenting with electronic music as a medical student. He eventually relocated to New York City and befriended Robert Moog, creator of the Moog synthesizer. He became an early master of the instrument, using its unusual sounds to create playful tunes.

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Perrey teamed up with fellow electronic music composer Gershon Kingsley, and the duo recorded two albums during the late 1960s, infusing pop sensibilities into their electronic instrumentals. Up until that time, most electronic music was regarded as avant-garde. They also worked together creating sound designs for commercials.

He released nearly two dozen albums as a solo artist and with collaborators. In recent years, Perrey’s often-festive music has been heard on “South Park,” “The Simpsons,” and in several TV commercials and online videos. His electronic riffs have been sampled by Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Gang Starr.

“JJ loved his fans, and he would light up the stage with his bigger-than-life smile, and good-time Moog music,” wrote collaborator Dana Countryman in a tribute on his website, “If he were here today, there is nothing that Jean-Jacques would like more than to think that his fans were playing his crazy, funny, catchy Moog music right now – and smiling, instead of being sad.”

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