Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Rick Wakeman Tells the Story of the Mellotron, the Oddball Proto-Synthesizer Pioneered by the Beatles


Did you know that the Spanish guitar intro to the Beatles’ “Bungalow Bill” was not played by George Harrison, but rather by an odd electronic instrument called a Mellotron, the same strange proto-synthesizer responsible for the flute intro to “Strawberry Fields Forever”? You’ll learn quite a bit more about the “rash breaking out all over pop music” that was the Mellotron in the audio story above, narrated by Rick Wakeman.
From the aforementioned Beatles’ songs to The Band’s “This Wheel’s on Fire” to pretty much every song in 60s pop and 70s progressive rock, as well as in 60s revivalists like Oasis, the Mellotron makes an appearance. It even shows up on Skynard’s “Freebird” of all things. Wakeman sketches the history of the oddball instrument, from its humble beginnings in the garage of California inventor Harry Chamberlin, to its popularization by salesman Bill Fransen, who took Chamberlin’s design and made it his own.
Read on...

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