Electronic music pioneer Perrey dies at 87

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Electronic music pioneer Perrey dies at 87

LAUSANNE, Switzerland - Jean-Jacques Perrey, the French composer and pioneer of electronic pop music who was best known for co-writing “Baroque Hoedown,” used as the music for the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disney theme parks, has died at age 87.

Perrey died in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Friday “from a very quick and violent lung cancer,” his daughter, Patricia Leroy, said.

Electronic music composer Dana Countryman, in a tribute to his frequent collaborator posted on Facebook, noted that Perrey began recording electronic music in 1952, long before the Moog synthesizer was first offered for sale in 1967, calling him “truly the pioneer of popular electronic music.”

“His crazy, happy music has been heard everywhere, from commercials to ‘Sesame Street’ - in hip-hop songs, in dance remixes and most famously, for decades in the delightful featured music in Disneyland’s ‘Main Street Electrical Parade.’ In recent years, his music has even made appearances on ‘The Simpsons,’ and on Comedy Central’s ‘South Park,”’ Countryman wrote.

In the mid-1960s, Perrey teamed with the American composer Gershon Kingsley to record two groundbreaking electronic pop music albums, “The In Sound From the Way Out” and “Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Electronic Pop Music From Way Out!” The latter included “Baroque Hoedown,” which became known to millions of people worldwide when it was used as the music for the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland and other Disney theme parks.

Perrey was born Jan. 20, 1929, in a small village in the north of France. He arrived in New York in 1960 and was sponsored by Carroll Bratman, whose company rented out musical instruments. Bratman set up an experimental recording studio equipped with tape recorders, electronic keyboards and various other instruments. Perrey also began appearing regularly with the Ondioline on TV programs, starting with “The Jack Paar Show.” He also composed radio and TV jingles. In his studio, Perrey began to create a “library” of sounds, creating a style of rhythmic sequences that he described as “humorous and unusual.”

Perrey became one of the first Moog synthesizer musicians, recording such albums as “Moog Indigo” and “Moog Sensations” in the early 1970s for Vanguard.

The hip-hop group Beastie Boys honored the Perrey and Kingsley duo on a 1996 instrumental album, which borrowed the title “The In Sound from Way Out!” AP
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