Video – Rolling Stones Guitarist attempts to play a synthesizer!
Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones once attempted to play an early analog synth in 1969 and we have the video to prove it. Apparently at the time the idea was that Mick was going to use the Moog synthesizer ‘as his instrument in the band,’ As is well known, Mick Jagger did not take up the synthesizer, but, according to Pinch and Trocco, the Moog synthesizer originally purchased by the Stones lived on: ‘It was sold on to the Hansa by the Wall recording studio in Berlin, where in 1973 Christoph Franke of Tangerine Dream purchased it for $15,000. The Moog sequencer became the defining element of Tangerine Dream’s sound, and the Moog became an enduring influence on the many waves of German electronic music in the 1970s.'”
The film clip of Keith Richards attempting to play an analog synthesizer comes from the art film “Umano Non Umano” (1969), produced by the great Italian pop artist Mario Schifano. “Keith is attempting to play what appears to be a custom-built modular synth,” says rare instrument collector and musician Robbie Lee, who writes songs as Creature Automatic. “1969 was right on the cusp of commercial synths being available to rock musicians. Previously they were all at universities and government-sponsored experimental tape centers.”
Keith looks a little confused by the setup, but his improvisational efforts are neither embarrassing nor overly compelling, much like those of George Harrison in his 1969 “Electronic Sound” album. Harrison used the freedom of the Beatles’ own Apple records to release his synth noodlings through the short-lived, experimental Zapple imprint.
Keith Richards and George Harrison as prog musicians? Could have happened … in the “Twilight Zone” of the end of the 1960s.