Jean-Jacques Perrey (French: [pɛʁɛ]; born January 20, 1929) is a French electronic music producer and was an early pioneer in the genre. He is best known within the sphere of popular music as a member of the influential electronic music duo Perrey and Kingsley, and for his unusually light-hearted style of music.
Perrey was born in France in 1929. He was studying medicine in Paris when he met Georges Jenny, the inventor of the Ondioline. Quitting medical school, Perrey travelled through Europe demonstrating this keyboard ancestor of the modern synthesizer. At the age of 30, Perrey relocated to New York, sponsored by Caroll Bratman, who built him an experimental laboratory and recording studio. Here he invented "a new process for generating rhythms with sequences and loops", utilising the environmental sounds of "musique concrète." With scissors, splicing tape, and tape recorders, he spent weeks piecing together a uniquely comique take on the future. Befriending Robert Moog, he became one of the first Moog synthesiser musicians, creating "far out electronic entertainment". In 1965 Perrey met Gershon Kingsley, a former colleague of John Cage. Together, using Ondioline and Perrey's loops, they created two albums for Vanguard — The In Sound From Way Out (1966) and Kaleidoscopic Vibrations (1967). Perrey and Kingsley collaborated on sound design for radio and television advertising. Perrey returned to France, composing for television, scoring for ballet, and continuing medical research into therapeutic sounds for insomniacs.
Two themes from Perrey, "The Elephant Never Forgets" and "Baroque Hoedown" were used in Mexico by the writer/ comedian Roberto Gomez Bolaños "Chespirito", as the main and ending themes for his comedy shows El Chavo del Ocho and El Chapulin Colorado respectively. A 2009 lawsuit by the composers against Mexican multimedia conglomerate Televisa was settled in 2010, as a compensation for the network's non-payment of the use of these melodies. A previous lawsuit by Vanguard Records was settled, with plaintiff Vanguard receiving a sum of One Million dollars in damages for unauthorized use of Perrey's recordings on the Mexican network, without permission or payment.
A cover version of Baroque Hoedown was the main theme for Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade. Ironically, Disney was not sued by the use of the tune (unlike Televisa), because it also used without the consent of Perrey:
In the 1970s, Walt Disney Productions chose this tune to be the theme for the Electrical Parade. It was extraordinary, I didn't know about it because the publishers said nothing to me. It was by chance, in 1980, that I went there and was so surprised to hear Baroque Hoedown arranged for a full orchestra.
—Jean-Jacques Perrey, text from English subtitle
One theme from Perrey, "Gossipo Perpetuo" has been used in Sweden by the comedians Anders och Måns in their self-titled comedy show on Swedish television. His 1970 song "E.V.A." was sampled by several rap artists, most notably Gang Starr on "Just to Get a Rep" (1991) and also House of Pain on "Fed Up (Remix)" (1996).
The 1970 release Moog Indigo generated several notable singles.
Perrey's 1968 song "Brazilian Flower" went viral and became popularly known as the "Rainbow Bunchie Song," along with a looping animated gif.
Perrey's return from obscurity began in 1997, when he started recording in Bordeaux, France with David Chazam. Their album Eclektronics was first released on vinyl in France only, in 1998. A CD version of the album was released in the Netherlands on the BASTA label, with several additional tracks added. The year 2000 also saw his collaborative CD with Gilbert Sigrist, released. "Circus of Life" was first released as a "library" recording, for TV and Radio (France only), then released on Perrey's own PHMP label.
The year 2006, saw the release of the album The Happy Electropop Music Machine on Oglio Records, of Los Angeles, CA. The album was a collaboration with musician/arranger Dana Countryman. The two toured the West Coast of America to promote the album.
Also, in 2006, Perrey began collaborating with producer Luke Vibert for a CD on England's Lo Records: Moog Acid. The result is a blend of retro and modern analogue house synth-pop, encapsulating many genres and the two respective styles of the artists. The CD was released in 2007.
Perrey's release Destination Space is also a collaboration with Dana Countryman. The duo performed concerts in New York City, and Montreal in Oct., 2008, to promote its release. This album is remarkable, in light of the fact that Perrey was almost 80 years old, when it was released.
Perrey's 1974 moog track, "Boys And Girls," on which he collaborated with Gilbert Sigrist, is used for the closing credits music in the Nickelodeon cartoon series, The Mighty B!
Perrey's song "Chicken on the Rocks" was used in the TV Series South Park. It played as Randy Marsh and friends bounced on their oversized testicles while consuming medicinal marijuana. The tune of the song, which derives from the folk song Chicken Reel, has also appeared as the theme song for Astro Chicken and Ms. Astro Chicken in the Space Quest games by Sierra.
Additionally, his 1968 track "The Little Ships" was featured in the viral YouTube video "going to the store" and "The Mexican Cactus" in the sequel "late for meeting".