It was the Summer of 1969. Or perhaps it was a different season. Brilliant German-American composer Gershon Kingsley would revolutionize popular music as we know it with a bold move.
Earlier that year, Kingsley met with Robert Arthur Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer. The electronic device was the logical next step in the evolution of musical instruments. Kingsley went to his wife and said it cost $3,500 (around US$25,000 or CN$32,000 in 2019). “Go ahead and get it,” she replied.
Kingsley spent every last penny he had saved to acquire the “fantastic instrument with endless possibilities.” Inspired by his new acquisition, classically-trained Kingsley was determined to put it to good use. He recalls sitting at his piano and improvising a melody reminiscent of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Inventions. “I added a little rhythm, and people liked it!”
Kingsley headed to California for a recording, inviting the crew to suggest a name for the soon-to-be-released first electronic popular song. “Popcorn,” said one voice, “but, it’s not what you think. Pop is for pop music; and “corn” is for kitsch.” Kingsley enthusiastically embraced the playful title.
Born on October 28, 1922, the musical pioneer will turn 97 in a few months while his 50-year-old Popcorn masterpiece will have been covered around the world an estimated 4,000 times. Hats off to you, Sir Gershon Kingsley! Here’s the original Popcorn masterpiece:
To celebrate Kingsley’s legacy and the 50th anniversary of his worldwide hit, Least Popular International Artist PIEREE is adding a grass-fed butter rendition of the song, retaining five hot electronic instruments, including a Spanish Flamenco Guitar along with a popcorn-bursting African Talking Drum. Popcorn by PIEREE is now available on major music streaming services.