R.I.P. Jean-Jacques Perrey, Moog Composer Extraordinaire
French electronic music producer Jean-Jacques Perrey died Friday at age 87 following a bout with lung cancer, Rolling Stone has confirmed. Perrey was hailed for his work with early electronic keyboards, particularly Moog synthesizers, pioneering a lighthearted, space-age sound that continues to resonate in contemporary electronic pop. He also acquired notable admirers in hip-hop, particularly for his song “E.V.A.,” which has been sampled by artists including A Tribe Called Quest, Gang Starr, and, later, Pusha T.
Perrey released his first albums with collaborator Gershon Kingsley in the 1960s. (The Beastie Boys would later borrow the title of the duo’s 1966 debut, The In Sound From Way Out!, for a 1996 instrumental compilation.) Perrey and Kingsley’s best-known song, “Baroque Hoedown,” long served as soundtrack to the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disney theme parks.
Perrey went on to release two dozen more albums, many of which—Moog Indigo, Moog Generation, Moog Mig Mag Moog, Moog Is Moog—incorporated the name of his favorite instrument in their titles. His final album, ELA, was a collaboration with French musician David Chazam released in May 2015.
Musical collaborator Dana Countryman, who also wrote a 2010 biography of Perrey titled Passport to the Future, posted a remembrance of his late friend on his website. “JJ loved his fans, and he would light up the stage with his bigger-than-life smile, and good-time Moog music,” Countryman wrote. “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.”
Below, listen to to “Baroque Hoedown,” “E.V.A.,” and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Same Ol’ Thing,” which samples “E.V.A.”