Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Popcorn (instrumental)

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Released  1969
Genre  Synthpop
Writer(s)  Gershon Kingsley
Format  LP
Length  2:24
Label  Audio Fidelity New York City

"Popcorn" is an early synthpop instrumental, composed by Gershon Kingsley in 1969 and first appearing on his album Music to Moog By.


The same year it was released and recorded at 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. 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, Hot Butter's rerecording was a huge hit in many countries. "Popcorn" has since been covered by a great number of artists.


Composer Gershon Kingsley (of Perrey and Kingsley) first recorded it for his 1969 album Music to Moog By. In 1971 the song was re-recorded by Kingsley's band First Moog Quartet. Stan Free, member of the First Moog Quartet, rerecorded the instrumental with his band Hot Butter in 1972. The record was one of a rash of Moog synthesizer-based releases that followed the 1968 Billboard pop Top 40 chart success Wendy Carlos had with Switched-On Bach and that characterized electronic music of the mid-1960s, 1970s and early 1980s.

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

Hot Butter version

Hot Butter's version 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. The Hot Butter recording peaked at no. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and no. 4 on the Easy Listening chart. The single had great success in Australia where it reached no. 1 for 8 weeks. It was also no. 1 in Switzerland, where it topped the chart for 10 weeks and stayed for 17 weeks in the top 10. In Norway, it was no. 1 for 6 weeks and featured for 21 weeks in the top 10. It was also no. 1 in Germany and reached no. 5 on 22 July 1972 in UK and no. 15 in Canada - October 1972. In France, this version of "Popcorn" is the 131st best-selling single of all time, with about 900,000 sales.

Track listings

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


Popcorn (instrumental) Wikipedia