Popcorn (instrumental)  

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"[...] In 1975, an edited version of "Autobahn" was a top 10 hit. It wasn't the first synth hit --that honor belongs to Gershon Kingsley's hissing "Popcorn," performed by studio group Hot Butter-- but it wasn't a pure novelty either." --"Machine Soul: A History Of Techno", Jon Savage


"Popcorn" (1969) was the first international electronic dance hit when it was covered in 1972." --Sholem Stein

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"Popcorn" is a famous early synthpop instrumental. Composer Gershon Kingsley (of Perrey and Kingsley) first recorded it for his 1969 album Music to Moog By. In 1971 the song was re-recorded by Kingsley's band First Moog Quartet. Stan Free, member of the First Moog Quartet, rerecorded the instrumental with his band Hot Butter in 1972, which became the first primarily electronic-based piece of music to reach the American popular music charts. The record was one of a rash of Moog synthesizer-based releases that characterized "synth-pop" of the 1960s and 1970s.

The title refers to the short staccato or sharp popping sound used. Part of the song's fame comes from the rumor that the characteristic main melody was in fact written by a computer program created to compose music.

Original version

Composer Gershon Kingsley (of Perrey and Kingsley) first recorded "Popcorn" for his 1969 album Music to Moog By. In 1971 the track was rerecorded by Kingsley's band First Moog Quartet; later he released a version under the name of The Popcorn Makers and was this the version that hit most successfully the charts. The record was one of a rash of Moog synthesizer-based releases, following the Billboard albums chart success Wendy Carlos had in 1968 with Switched-On Bach, and which characterized electronic music of the future.

Hot Butter version

In 1972, Stan Free, a fellow member of the First Moog Quartet, rerecorded "Popcorn" with his band Hot Butter, from the album Hot Butter.

This version of "Popcorn" became the second primarily electronic-based piece of music to reach the American popular music charts, three years after "The Minotaur" by Dick Hyman & His Electric Eclectics. It peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 4 on the Easy Listening chart, and had even greater success in Australia, topping the charts for 8 weeks. It proved equally as popular in mainland Europe, spending several weeks at No. 1 in numerous European countries, including France (4 weeks at the top) and Switzerland (10 weeks), ultimately becoming the biggest-selling single of 1972 in both countries. (In the former, this version of "Popcorn" is the 131st best-selling single of all time, with sales of approximately 900,000 copies). "Popcorn" was also a No. 1 hit in Germany (3 weeks), the Netherlands (7 weeks) and Norway (9 weeks).



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Popcorn (instrumental)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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