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Switched On Summary

Switched On: Bob Moog and the Synthesizer Revolution by Albert Glinsky (Professor Emeritus of Composition, Professor Emeritus of Composition, Mercyhurst University)

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 60's counterculture and burst into the disco party in the 70's 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.

Switched On Reviews

This is the first compete biography of Bob Moog, and it is entertaining and meticulously assembled, revealing an impressively detailed impression of the man and his life's work... Switched On provides insights into the electronic sound revolution by going deep into the technical, practical, and person details of one of the era's most innovative and influential figures. This is surely destined to become an essential point of reference for scholars and researchers interested in the history of music technology. * Leah Kardos, Technology and Culture *
The right biography at the right time...a noteworthy book * Bryan Van Campen, The Ithaca Times *
A thorough, absorbing dive...Glinsky's ability to keep this massive show on the road, including various and sundry side trips, is impressive...what will remain in the memory is an absorbing, inspiring, sometimes amusing portrait of one of the great innovators of the 20th century. * Rosemary Michaud, The Post and Courier *
My music book of the year is Albert Glinsky's wonderfully readable and informative biography, Switched On: Bob Moog and the Synthesizer Revolution. * Andy Hamilton, The Wire *
In his 480 page and detailed biography, the American author Albert Glinsky illustrates how Robert Arthur Moog, born in New York in 1934, had a soft spot for technology even as a child. * Christoph Wagner, Neue Zurcher Zeitung *
Switched On is a riveting account not just of the development of the synthesizer, but also a journey of the man. It intimately immerses readers into the life of the determined trailblazer and the subsequent struggles affiliated with creation and change. * Albuquerque Journal *
[an] absorbing new biography .... a towering tribute * James Hall, The Telegraph [a Telegraph Editorial Pick] *
an inspiring read * Electronic Sound *
Jazz to Read By: Top Seven recommended holiday books of 2022 * Frank Alkyer, DownBeat *
Glinsky's book tells the full story, covering every up and every down in a thoroughly entertaining, enjoyable read. * Jonathan Wilson, Engineering and Technology *
a book to savour and return to * Andy Hamilton, The Wire *
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 *
Like Moog's eponymous instrument, Glinsky takes the raw information and material of Bob Moog's life, and skillfully composes it into a beautiful textual symphony that evokes the man (and the music's) complicated humanity. Switched On is a sonic literary triumph! * David Sax, author of The Revenge of Analog *
Albert Glinsky paints an amazing saga of a musical inventor who changed the music world, but who could never manage to find himself a stable position within it. In lively and fast-paced prose, Glinsky draws myriad connections that sparked beneath the surface of the music world in the 1950s and '60s among a kaleidoscopic variety of names, some famous, some influential behind the scenes. In so doing, he does for Robert Moog what his earlier book did for Leon Theremin: make a rather shadowy figure look like the secret center of the universe for rock music, the avant-garde, the counterculture, and the commercial music business. * Kyle Gann, author of Charles Ives's Concord: Essays After a Sonata *
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. * Jan Hammer, composer, keyboardist, and former member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra *
I loved the book! Based on superb research into the history of the cloak and dagger era that defined the emergence of analog electronic music instruments and the challenges and misunderstandings of what this new technology meant, Glinsky gives us the very human portrait of a man who embodied the intersection of invention, musical culture, business and destiny. I lived through this era, but to see it etched in such defining detail untangles all the loose ends of a sometimes painful story. Switched On is a page-turner. * Suzanne Ciani, composer, electronic music pioneer *
In Switched On, Albert Glinsky shows the character and brilliance of Bob Moog DL a wry wizard of applying science to music, and the creator of tones and tools now foundational to our culture. 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 Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock 'n' Roll *

About Albert Glinsky (Professor Emeritus of Composition, Professor Emeritus of Composition, Mercyhurst University)

Albert Glinsky is an American composer and author. His music has been performed internationally and he holds honors and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. He was educated at The Juilliard School and New York University. His music ranges from acoustic to electronic works. His book, Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage, with a foreword by Bob Moog, is the standard work on Leon Theremin, and won the 2001 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. Glinsky is a frequent lecturer and appears regularly on television, radio, and podcasts.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Francis Ford Coppola Prelude PART ONE: THE FLUSHING GEEK Chapter 1: Depression's Child Chapter 2: Bronx Cheers Chapter 3: Our Guarantee Chapter 4: No Exit PART TWO: SLIPPING BACKWARDS ON A BANANA PEEL Chapter 5: Transistor Man and the Crusaders Chapter 6: Do It Yourself Chapter 7: The Abominatron Chapter 8: A Eunuch in a Harem Chapter 9: A Few Thousand Screws PART THREE: COSMIC SOUNDS Chapter 10: Hallucinations for Your Ear Chapter 11: The Star Collector Chapter 12: Long Live the Moog! Chapter 13: Hello, HAL Chapter 14: The Plastic Cow Goes Moooooog Chapter 15: Socket To Me, Baby! PART FOUR: SHORT CIRCUITS Chapter 16: Panicsville Chapter 17: Mini and the Beast Chapter 18: A Palace Revolution Chapter 19: The Island of Electronicus Chapter 20: I Bought Bob Moog PART FIVE: AN APOCALYPSE NOW Chapter 21: The Gelatin Pit Chapter 22: Vexations Chapter 23: Genericide Chapter 24: Yankee Go Home Chapter 25: The Briar Patch PART SIX: THE GRAND POOBAH Chapter 26: Genius for Hire Chapter 27: Comes Now the Defendant Chapter 28: The Desperate Voyager Chapter 29: Patron Saint of Electrogeeks Chapter 30: The Show That Never Ends Postlude Acknowledgements Notes Index

Additional information

Switched On: Bob Moog and the Synthesizer Revolution by Albert Glinsky (Professor Emeritus of Composition, Professor Emeritus of Composition, Mercyhurst University)
Oxford University Press Inc
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