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Mort Garson

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  • mrcooby
    Mort Garson, composer, arranger and accompaniest who co-wrote the hit Our Day Will Come, died Jan. 4 of renal failure in San Francisco. He was 83. Services
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 27, 2008
      Mort Garson, composer, arranger and accompaniest who co-wrote the hit
      "Our Day Will Come," died Jan. 4 of renal failure in San Francisco. He
      was 83.

      Services were held at Forest Lawn Cemetery, 6300 Forest Lawn Dr.,
      Los Angeles, on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 11 a.m.

      Born in New Brunswick, Canada, Garson attended Julliard and went on
      play on albums by artists including Mel Torme, Doris Day and Glen
      Campbell. During the 1960s, he made a series of albums playing the
      Moog synthesizer including exotica classic "The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds"
      and "Electronic Hair Pieces," based on the music from the musical
      "Hair." His other cult albums included an album to accompany the book
      "The Sensuous Woman," "Plantasia," an album to help plants grow, and a
      series of 12 albums based on signs of the zodiac. .

      In addition to "Our Day Will Come," co-written by Bob Hilliard, which
      was performed by Ruby & the Romantics, he wrote the score for the
      musical "Marilyn" performed at the Aldaphi Theater in London. He also
      worked on film scores and on the theme songs for game shows including
      "Gambit" and "Baffle."

      He is survived by his life partner, Florence; a daughter and a
    • mrcooby
      Mort Garson, 83; composer used Moog synthesizer By Dennis McLellan Los Angeles Times Staff Writer January 11, 2008 As an arranger and conductor in the 1960s,
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 27, 2008
        Mort Garson, 83; composer used Moog synthesizer

        By Dennis McLellan
        Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

        January 11, 2008

        As an arranger and conductor in the 1960s, Mort Garson worked on
        albums by artists such as Mel Torme, Joanie Sommers and Glenn

        As a composer, he wrote music for Mel Brooks' and Carl Reiner's 1975
        animated television special "The 2000 Year Old Man," "The Untamed
        World" documentary series, game shows, movies and "Marilyn! the
        Musical," which debuted in London in 1983.

        And teamed with lyricist Bob Hilliard, he co-wrote the 1963 Ruby and
        the Romantics hit "Our Day Will Come," which rose to No. 1 on national

        But it was his work as a composer using the then-new Moog synthesizer
        on a series of albums in the late 1960s and '70s that developed a cult
        following that continues today.

        Garson died of renal failure Jan. 4 in a hospital in San Francisco,
        said his daughter, Day Darmet. He was 83.

        "He gained his greatest underground loyal fans for all of his
        electronic creativity," Darmet said. "If you go on EBay, people are
        still trying to buy those albums."

        Beginning with "The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds" in 1967, Garson created
        numerous albums using the Moog synthesizer, including "Electronic Hair
        Pieces," a 1969 version of songs from the hit Broadway musical "Hair,"
        and "Signs of the Zodiac," a 12-volume 1969 series featuring one album
        for each astrological sign.

        Garson was making "The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds" album for Elektra with
        writer Jacques Wilson when an orchestra member said he knew engineer
        Robert Moog, who had invented the first commercially available
        electronic music synthesizer a few years earlier.

        "I met him, got interested in his invention and immediately put it in
        'Zodiac' to add a sweetness to the sound," Garson told the Los Angeles
        Times in 1969.

        "That was the first album ever to use the Moog synthesizer and a live
        orchestra together," said Bernie Krause, who was at the "Zodiac"
        recording session.

        Krause said he and his music partner, Paul Beaver, had introduced the
        Moog synthesizer to pop music and film in Hollywood in 1967 and were
        selling the units and teaching classes on how to use them.

        " 'Zodiac' is a very influential cult album from the '60s," said
        Trevor Pinch, co-author of "Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of
        the Moog Synthesizer," a 2002 book that featured a 1969 photograph of
        Garson and his Moog synthesizer on the cover.

        " 'Zodiac' influenced all sorts of people, including the Moody Blues,"
        Pinch said. "They came up with 'Nights in White Satin' after listening
        to 'Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds.' "

        Garson said in the Times interview that he didn't use the Moog
        synthesizer in "a very sophisticated way" on the 1967 "Zodiac" album.

        But by the time he and Wilson did the 1968 A&M album "The Wozard of
        Iz: An Electronic Odyssey" -- a hippie-style parody of "The Wizard of
        Oz" in which Dorothy proclaims that "Kansas isn't where it's at" -- he
        said he had learned most of the techniques.

        "His albums were fabulous examples of New Age music and really kind of
        kicked off the New Age genre -- and they were enormously popular,"
        Krause said. "It was part of the texture of the whole San Francisco
        flower scene and all the rest of it in the late '60s."

        At the time of Garson's interview with The Times in July 1969, his
        Moog synthesizer music was about to be heard by millions of Americans
        who would be glued to their TV sets watching history in the making:
        the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon.

        At frequent intervals during coverage of the mission, CBS aired a 6
        1/2 -minute commentary-free film produced by Chuck Braverman with
        music by Garson.

        Garson completed the score for the film -- a doctored and edited
        version of NASA films from previous space flights -- in a week in the
        small studio in his home in the Hollywood Hills.

        "The only sounds that go along with space travel are electronic ones,"
        he told The Times. "The Apollo film shows different facets of the
        flight -- blastoff, separation of the stages of the rocket, scenes of
        the moon at close range, of the astronauts playing games in the ship
        and of earthrise."

        The music, he said, "has to carry the film along. It has to echo the
        sound of the blastoff and even the static you hear on the astronauts'
        report from space. People are used to hearing things from outer space,
        not just seeing them.

        "So I used a big, symphonic sound for the blastoff, some jazzy things
        for the zero-G game of catch, psychedelic music for a section that
        uses negatives and diffuse colors on shots taken inside the ship, and
        a pretty melody for the moon. After all, it's still a lovely moon."

        Born July 20, 1924, in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, Garson
        attended the Juilliard School of Music and was a pianist and arranger
        with dance orchestras before serving in Special Services during World
        War II.

        He most recently composed a suite of music about San Francisco, his
        home since 1993.

        "He was just putting the finishing touches on it," Darmet said. "We
        were going to digitally record it; we still will."

        In addition to his daughter, he is survived by a grandson.

        A graveside service was held at Forest Lawn
        Memorial-Park, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles.
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