Moog as Pop Icon

With his trademark frizzy hair, modest disposition, and quizzical smile, Bob soon became an icon for the synthesizers he sold. He gave numerous lectures and toward the end of his career people would line up in droves at events to meet him. This was also the case when he visited Japan, where he was increasingly acclaimed as the founder of the craze for electronic sounds in arcade and video games. The success of Moog Music and the remanufacturing of iconic vintage synthesizers in the 2000s reaffirmed the Moog name. The elegance and quality of his designs, the unique sounds they produced, and the musical creativity his synthesizers unleashed encourage the public to associate Bob personally with his instruments, lending the name Moog the same resonance that Stradivarius has for the violin.

In Bob’s archive are numerous fan letters, including charming thank-you letters and drawings from kids in the school classes he visited. Bands such as the Moog Cookbook even incorporated his name into theirs.  Pop artists, electronic dance musicians, and underground artists alike wanted Moog sounds and instruments on their records. The release of the documentary film Moog in 2004 and the launch of Moogfest in New York City the same year helped turn Bob into a pop icon and household name. At the first two Moogfests in New York City, small statues of Moog, known as “Bobs,” were awarded to electronic music luminaries.

Bob’s illness and passing in 2005 led to an incredible collective outpouring of love and affection. His career was remembered in obituaries in mainstream outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist. In addition to the archiving of his papers at Cornell University, the establishment of The Bob Moog Foundation (2006) and the launch of the Moogseum (2019) in Ashville, North Carolina by Michelle Moog, his daughter, will continue to keep his legacy alive.

Photographs. Bob Moog with The Moog Cookbook band members, 1999. (3 images)
Moog and his inventions continue to inspire new generations of artists. These photographs show Bob with members of The Moog Cookbook in 1999. The band’s name was inspired by Shirleigh Moog’s recipe book, Moog’s Musical Eatery: A Cookbook for Carefree Entertaining (1978), that was interlaced with stories of the many musicians who visited the Moog studio during the Trumansburg years.

Poster. “Bob Moog Goes Digital.” Bomb Factory. Designed by Justin Hampton, 1999. (1 image)

Letters of thanks sent to Bob Moog from 4th grade students at Parkdale elementary school. East Aurora, New York, 1977. (6 images)

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