Flashback: Explaining The Moog Synthesizer At The Grammys And With Its Pioneers

During the 1985 Grammy Awards show, there was a synthesizer medley performed by Thomas Dolby, Herbie Hancock, Howard Jones, and Stevie Wonder. It was quite a jam, and, although it came at least a decade too late, it recognized the ascendance of the synthesizer in pop, rock, jazz, and R&B.

In a glaring reminder of how things were in the 80s, John Denver deadnamed Moog pioneer Wendy Carlos, whose phenomenal work had been a profound influence on each of these performers. This performance came nearly twenty years after Carlos' albums such as the platinum-selling Switched On Bach demonstrated how synthesizers could be grandly expressive instruments and almost that long since she announced her gender reassignment. She was also already well-known for her gloriously synthesized scores of films such as A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Tron

Here she is reviewing her work with inventor Robert Moog, putting the Grammy jam into much richer context — including explaining how synthesis will democratize music to come.