December 17, 2019

Gershon Kingsley, Master of Electronic Sounds, Dies at 97

Gershon Kingsley, a German-American composer who brought electronic sounds into popular music and wrote the enduring instrumental hit “Pop Corn,” died on Dec. 10 at his home in Manhattan. He was 97, The New York Times reported on Dec. 15th.

“Kingsley was an early convert to the Moog synthesizer in the 1960s,” wrote Jon Pareles in the NYT obituary page. “He used it to create music for commercials and to orchestrate perky melodies — most notably ‘Pop Corn,’ an instrumental originally released on Mr. Kingsley’s 1969 album Music to Moog By. It became a best seller and was remade (usually renamed “Popcorn”) in hundreds of versions: by Kraftwerk, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Aphex Twin and the Muppets, among others, and was licensed for use in nearly 20 motion pictures.”

Kingsley also scored a handful of shorts and feature films; particularly notable is his music for 1972’s horror movie SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT (originally titled NIGHT OF THE DARK FULL MOON and also known as DEATH HOUSE), a psychological slasher film directed by Theodore Gershuny and co-produced by Troma Studios’ Lloyd Kaufman. Patrick O’Neal, Mary Woronov, and John Carradine star in a story about a series of murders that occur in a small New England town on Christmas Eve after a man inherits a family estate which was once an insane asylum. Kingsley composed a Gothic styled score for strings and piano, which was recorded by a chamber orchestra in Munich, Germany; the soundtrack was released on CD in 2009 by Howlin’ Wolf Records.

Kingsley also wrote the theme for the German television series MERLIN (1980).

Read the full obit at The New York Times

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