BOB MOOG AND THE SYNTHESIZER REVOLUTION
A book to savour and return to.
Switched On makes a significant contribution to the history of American music in the 20th century.
Jamie Bernstein, author of
Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of
Growing Up Bernstein
Switched on is a
Suzanne Ciani, composer,
electronic music pioneer
Paints an amazing saga of a musical inventor who changed the music world.
Kyle Gann, music critic, author
The Moog synthesizer “bent the course of music forever,” Rolling Stone declared.
Bob Moog, the man who did that bending, was a lovable geek with Einstein hair and pocket protectors. He walked into history in 1964 when his homemade contraption unexpectedly became a sensation—suddenly everyone wanted a Moog. The Beatles, the Doors, the Byrds, and Stevie Wonder discovered his synthesizer, and it came to be featured in seminal film scores including Apocalypse Now and A Clockwork Orange. The Moog’s game-changing sounds saturated 60s counterculture and burst into the disco party in the 70s to set off the electronic dance music movement. Bob had singlehandedly founded the synth industry and become a star in the process.
But he was also going broke. Imitators copied his technology, the musicians’ union accused him of replacing live players, and Japanese competitors started overtaking his work. He struggled to hang on to his inventions, his business, and his very name. Bob’s story upends our notions of success and wealth, showing that the two don’t always go together.
In Switched On, author Albert Glinsky draws on exclusive access to Bob Moog’s personal archives and his probing interviews with Bob’s family and a multitude of associates for this first complete biography of the man and his work. Switched On takes the reader on a roller coaster ride at turns triumphant, heart-breaking, and frequently laugh-out- loud absurd—a nuanced trip through the public and private worlds of this legendary inventor who altered the course of music.
Bob Moog. Iconic name, iconic man. His revolutionary instrument made it possible for me to find my true voice. I am forever thankful to him. And that’s why I’m very excited about Switched On for shining a light on this giant of musical history.
composer, keyboardist, and former member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra
“In Switched On, Albert Glinsky shows the character and brilliance of Bob Moog. Tracing Moog’s technical advances in close but accessible detail, Glinsky gives an enlightening view of one of the twentieth century’s most important musical innovators.
Ian Port, author of
The Birth of Loud:
Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the
That Shaped Rock ‘n’ Roll
"A sonic literary triumph!"