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February 13, 2013

Paul Tanner, inventor of the electro-theremin he played on "Good Vibrations," is dead at 95

I'm pickin' up sad vibrations....

The October 1966 release is number six on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

Bruce Weber's obituary appeared in yesterday's New York Times.

When I was at UCLA in the late 60s, Tanner's "Introduction to Jazz" was known to be an easy A: if you took the final, you got an A.

Yet I never took the course.


I was told by some whose judgment I trusted that in the then feverish blood-on-the-lips competition to get into med school and avoid being drafted and sent to Vietnam, admissions committee members frowned on applications which had obvious mickeys like this one.

Trying to do everything I could to improve my chances of getting in, I elected not to take the easy A.

Life was different then.

But I did get in, so maybe all's well that ends well.

February 13, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink


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It's winter. Check around for the source of that draft!

Speaking of great musicians recently departed, let's take time out to remember Dave Brubeck who shuffled off this mortal coil last December at the tender age of 91.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Feb 13, 2013 8:58:13 AM

As is Rick Huxley, co-founder and bassist for The Dave Clark Five.
I feel a chill at my back.

Posted by: tamra | Feb 13, 2013 4:11:47 AM

Actually, the thing played in the tune (and what Mike Love is playing in the video) is an electro-theremin (or Tannerin, according to the article below), which is a little bit different breed of cat than a theremin, being controlled differently and having a slightly different sound:

This here is a theremin, in which volume and pitch are without its being touched:

And this is mostly totally unrelated but the ondes martenot is my favorite funky old electronic instrument and this is an interesting video about it (be sure to catch the last minute):

Posted by: Flautist | Feb 13, 2013 3:52:00 AM

Cut down in the prime of life! He was a throbbing, pulsating force of life (inductively).

So, Joe - you skipped the UCLA undergrad Easy-A - which Med School Easy-A elective did you choose - or, are you one of those who never "deferred" a digital exam?

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Feb 13, 2013 12:21:14 AM

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