Paul Beaver

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Paul Beaver (1926 – January 16, 1975) was a jazz musician and a pioneer in popular electronic music, using the Moog synthesizer.

Beaver was the electronic half of a 1965 experimental free-form album for Dunhill Records with studio drummer Hal Blaine called "Psychedelic Percussion". In 1966, Beaver joined with fellow synthesist Bernie Krause in a project to master the new Moog synthesizer and present it as a viable instrument for film and recording work. As Robert Moog's sales representatives on the U.S. West Coast, they attracted little industry interest until the Monterey Pop Festival, in June 1967, when musicians and artists' representatives visited their stall and began placing orders for Moogs.[1] Over the next two years, Beaver played a key role in popularizing the instrument in rock music and in film and television.[2][3] During that time, he undertook a steady stream of session work for their Moog customers and led workshops attended by film composers and session keyboardists.[4][5]

Among his many appearances on recordings by pop and rock acts, Beaver played the Moog on "Star Collector", the final song on The Monkees' Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. album, released in November 1967, and on The Byrds' "Goin' Back", from their 1968 album The Notorious Byrd Brothers.[6] He also contributed to the Elektra Records 1966 release The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds, an album that is widely recognised as the first recording in the genre to feature the Moog synthesizer.[7]

From 1967, Beaver collaborated with Krause as the recording duo Beaver & Krause. They were one of the first groups to record pop-commercial electronic music, which later became known as electronica. Their double album The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music, issued on Jac Holzman's Nonesuch record label, was a landmark work, introducing the public to the full range of individual sounds that the Moog could make, and in great detail.

Beaver was a friend and associate of George Martin, and he aided in the production of The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour album, supplying the first-generation Hammond B3 organ which provided the strange sound effect at the end of "Blue Jay Way" (accomplished by switching the motorized 'tone wheel' off and on). During this time he and musician-engineer Phil Davis built a custom polyphonic Moog modular synthesizer, based on the Moog Apollo prototype, for Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer that was one of the very first electronic instruments to have programmable preset sounds, controlled by an auxiliary 8-bit computer which used a TV monitor. In addition, Beaver, together with associates Phil Davis and Dan Wyman, worked alongside composer Alexander Courage, composing and performing incidental ambient music ("The Cage" and others) and creating several sound effects for the original Star Trek television series.

Beaver & Krause continued releasing electronic albums, first for Mercury Records' spin-off label, Limelight, with their album Ragnarok (1968), then three albums for Warner Bros. Records: In a Wild Sanctuary (1970), Gandharva (1971), and All Good Men (1972). Combining the Moog with acoustic instruments, these albums were effectively the beginning of the "New Age" musical movement.

The ending of the track "Spaced", from the Wild Sanctuary album, which features two synthesizers simultaneously gliding up and down to merge into a final single chord, was later re-performed to become the musical soundtrack for the original THX logo used in movie theatres.

With Ruth White, Beaver established the Electronic Music Association in the 1970s. Beaver's health began to deteriorate in 1973. He died of a cerebral aneurysm in January 1975, at the age of 49, while working on a revised version of The Nonesuch Guide.[8] Writing on his website Head Heritage (under his pseudonym "the Seth Man"), musician and musicologist Julian Cope describes Beaver as "one of the first and most unique American synthesizer players".[8]


With Lalo Schifrin


  1. ^ Brend, Mark (2012). The Sound of Tomorrow: How Electronic Music Was Smuggled into the Mainstream. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 151, 161–62. ISBN 978-0-8264-2452-5.
  2. ^ Brend 2012, pp. 151, 166–68.
  3. ^ Pinch, Trevor; Trocco, Frank (2002). Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 315. ISBN 0-674-01617-3.
  4. ^ Brend 2012, pp. 166–67.
  5. ^ Pinch & Trocco 2002, pp. 117, 123.
  6. ^ Holmes, Thom (2012). Electronic and Experimental Music: Technology, Music, and Culture (4th edn). New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 167, 248. ISBN 978-0-415-89636-8.
  7. ^ Brend 2012, p. 159.
  8. ^ a b Cope, Julian ("the Seth Man") (June 2010). "Unsung: Beaver & Krauserocksampler". Head Heritage. Retrieved August 5, 2018.