Popcorn (instrumental)

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Gershon Kingsley - Popcorn (cover).jpg
Single by Gershon Kingsley
from the album Music to Moog By
Songwriter(s)Gershon Kingsley
Producer(s)Herman D. Gimbel
Gershon Kingsley singles chronology
"Twinkle, Twinkle"

"Popcorn" (originally spelled "Pop Corn") is an early synth-pop instrumental, composed by Gershon Kingsley in 1969 and first appearing on his album Music to Moog By. It was recorded at the Audio Fidelity Records label in New York City.

The title may refer to the short staccato or sharp "popping" sound used, or to pop music and its being "corny", i.e., kitschy.[3] The title is generally written as one word, although some single sleeves (such as the one illustrated) present it as two words, "Pop Corn".

In 1972, a re-recording of "Popcorn" by the band Hot Butter was a huge hit in many countries. The track has since been covered by a great number of artists.

Original version[edit]

Composer Gershon Kingsley (of Perrey and Kingsley) first recorded "Popcorn" for his 1969 album Music to Moog By. In 1971 the track was rerecorded by Kingsley's band First Moog Quartet, later he released a version under the name of The Popcorn Makers, this was the version that was the most successful in the charts. The record was one of a rash of Moog synthesizer-based releases, following the Billboard albums chart success Wendy Carlos had in 1968 with Switched-On Bach, and which characterized electronic music of the future.

There were two 7" covers, both released in 1972 under Musicor Records and Stateside labels.

Hot Butter version[edit]

Popcorn (Hot Butter).jpg
Single by Hot Butter
from the album Hot Butter
B-side"At the Movies"
Format7" single
  • Interfusion (AUS)
  • Musicor (US and Canada)
Songwriter(s)Gershon Kingsley[5]
  • Bill Jerome
  • Steve Jerome
Hot Butter singles chronology
Audio sample

In 1972, Stan Free, a fellow member of the First Moog Quartet, rerecorded "Popcorn" with his band Hot Butter.

This version of "Popcorn" became the second primarily electronic-based piece of music to reach the American popular music charts, three years after "The Minotaur" by Dick Hyman & His Electric Eclectics. It peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 4 on the Easy Listening chart, and had even greater success in Australia, topping the charts for 8 weeks. It proved equally as popular in mainland Europe, spending several weeks at No. 1 in numerous European countries, including France (4 weeks at the top) and Switzerland (10 weeks), ultimately becoming the biggest-selling single of 1972 in both countries. (In the former, this version of "Popcorn" is the 131st best-selling single of all time, with sales of approximately 900,000 copies).[6] "Popcorn" was also a No. 1 hit in Germany (3 weeks), the Netherlands (7 weeks) and Norway (9 weeks).

Track listings[edit]

7" single
  1. "Popcorn" – 2:30
  2. "At the Movies" – 2:31

Chart performance[edit]