Bob alas died in 2005, but had he lived today would have been his 78th birthday. Bob was not a musician, but his contribution to  music changed the landscape in the late 60’s and early 70’s and continues to do so today. I view him as a major contributor to the genre of music we call Prog Rock.

Bob revolutionized the world of keyboards, the Synthesizer was born.

I was delighted to discover this morning that Google has decided to celebrate Bob Moog’s birthday with a front page tribute. It is no mere picture of the ubiquitous Mini Moog, but a full fledged working model. PC Mag has this write up.

The Mini Moog was not the first of Bob’s excursions into the world of Synthesizers, a couple of years previously he had created the Modular Moog. This was a monster of a device, and certainly not for the feint of heart. Keith Emerson was an early buyer of what he lovingly calls ‘The Beast’. The Beast by the way is one of the few musical instruments that Keith has not destroyed on stage yet. In 2007 I interviewed him, and he had much to say about The Beast. You can read the article here.

Although not mentioned in the interview write up, Keith Emerson explained an aspect of the Modular Moog that intrigued me. It had a Theremin component. “I loved it, it was so phallic on stage”.

The Theremin likely was at the root of Bob Moog’s drive to create the Synthesizer in the first place.

As I said the Modular Moog was a little unapproachable, but that all changed with the Mini Moog. Gone were the patch cords and in came a much smaller and easier to tame beast. It was also a good deal more affordable and better yet, portable. It did not require large trucks and cranes to move it!

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Mini Moogs maybe over 40 years old, but they are very much alive and well. This picture comes from 2009, Rick Wakeman obviously still classes the Mini Moog as a Must Have!

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Moog’s were not just for the Prog Rock folks, they also turn up in the unlikeliest of spots. Michael Jackson’s Thriller for example uses two Mini Moogs to create a bass line.  

Happy Birthday Bob Moog, you changed the world of music, you created tools that allowed musicians to soar. You paved the way for the modern keyboard. I am sure that I speak for many musicians across the world, your contribution to music cannot be overstated.

Simon Barrett

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