Jean-Jacques Perrey | Electronic Pop Pioneer Dies At Age 87

Jean-Jacques Perrey

Jean-Jacques Perrey

Jean-Jacques Perrey, electronic music pioneer, and composer passed away this past Friday from  complications with lung cancer. He was 87 years of age. 

He is known as one of the earliest creators of electronic pop, alongside his contemporaries Gershon Kingsley and Dick Hyman. Perrey was one of the first to utilize the Moog synthesizer upon its release, Perrey created surreal robotic orchestrations that give an eerie, sometimes funky, yet serene atmosphere.  

Born in France on January 20th, 1929, Perrey developed his musical talents at a very young age. Playing music through out his adolescence Perrey took a break from his foreseen talent and went to medical school in Paris. 

He quit medical school shortly after meeting Georges Jenny, inventor of the precursor to the synthesizer, the ondioline. Perrey worked for Jenny for several years, traveling through Europe selling the ondioline. 

He moved to the United States in the early 1960’s where he sold the ondioline by playing the instrument and demonstrating its qualities. This began Perrey’s musical recording career as he demonstrated the ondioline on TV programs, such as The Arthur Godfrey Show, and Steve Allen's I've Got A Secret.

Perrey created music with other talented musicians and composers, such as Harry Breuer and Gershon Kingsley, with whom he recorded The In Sound From Way Out a classic in the electronic pop genre. 

Many artists and establishments have used Perrey’s music to a large degree. Disney theme parks used Perrey’s “Baroque Hoedown” for its main street electrical parade. As well, his music has been heard in The Simpsons beginning couch gag of episode “Orange Is The New Yellow.” More so, Perrey has been sampled and appropriated by the hip-hop community for several years. 

One of his most sampled works is the song, “E.V.A” off of his album Mood Indigo. The sample is best known for the song “Just To Get A Rep” by Gang Starr.

Perrey was and remains a vital figure in the history of the electronic music, hip hop, sampling history, and the creation of futuristic sounds. 

jean-Jacques Perrey electronic pioneer dies at age 87