Mort Garson (July 24, 1924 - January 4, 2008) was a Canadian-American musician most well known for his work in early Electronic Music. He was one of the first musicians to compose songs with a Moog synthesizer, which he had bought from Robert Moog himself. He had also written Ruby & The Romantics' "Our Day Will Come"", which topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963. Throughout his career, his sound had evolved from the lush string arrangements of his early pop/lounge career in The '60s, to the darker, occult-influenced sound of his mid-career, to the warmer sound of his final studio album Mother Earth's Plantasia. After retiring from studio albums, he continued to compose scores for movies and plays into The '80s. His music has been featured in National Geographic specials, John Landis' The Kentucky Fried Movie and live broadcasts of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Garson passed away from kidney failure in his San Francisco home on January 4, 2008, aged 83. His albums Didn't You Hear?, Black Mass, The Unexplained and Plantasia were reissued by independent label Sacred Bones Records throughout 2020, alongside a compilation of previously unreleased music.
As a bandleader
- The Continentals The Continentals Present Bossa Nova for All Ages (1963)
- The Total Eclipse Symphony for Soul (1967)
- Dusk 'Til Dawn Orchestra Sea Drift (1967)
As a solo musician
- The Zodiac: Cosmic Soundsnote (1967)
- Love Soundsnote (1968)
- An Electronic Odysseynote (1968)
- Electronic Hair Piecesnote (1969)
- Ariesnote (1969)
- Taurusnote (1969)
- Gemininote (1969)
- Cancernote (1969)
- Leonote (1969)
- Virgonote (1969)
- Libranote (1969)
- Scorpionote (1969)
- Sagittariusnote (1969)
- Capricornnote (1969)
- Aquariusnote (1969)
- Piscesnote (1969)
- Didn't You Hear?note (1970)
- Black Massnote (1971)
- Music for Sensuous Loversnote (1971)
- Edgar Allan Poe's Tell-Tale Heartnote (1972)
- The Unexplainednote (1975)
- Mother Earth's Plantasia (1976)
- A Mixed Tape of Music By Mort Garsonnote (2019)
- Music From Patch Cord Production note (2020)
Mort Garson provides examples of the following tropes.
- Affectionate Parody: An Electronic Odyssey, recorded as the Wozard of Iz, is a parody of The Wizard of Oz.
- Concept Album: Several of albums deal with various concepts.
- The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds and the Signs of the Zodiac albums are about the twelve signs of the zodiac.
- Black Mass and The Unexplained both deal with occultism.
- Mother Earth's Plantasia is an album composed to encourage plant growth, inspired by Garson's wife Maggie Garson's garden.
- Cover Version: Electronic Hair Pieces features covers of songs from the 1967 musical Hair.
- Darker and Edgier: The occult-inspired Black Mass and The Unexplained are by far the darkest albums he has ever composed.
- Dream Team: Garson had collaborated with Doris Day to compose the string arrangements on her albums Doris Day's Sentimental Journey and Latin for Lovers. He later collaborated with Paul Frees to create a tribute soundtrack for Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Garson initially composed string-oriented pop and lounge music until he bought a Moog synthesizer and began to compose the electronic music he is known for today.
- Genre Shift: After spending much of The '60s composing pop and lounge songs, he shifted to electronic music after meeting Robert Moog at a music engineer's convention and buying a Moog synthesizer from him.
- I Have Many Names: Garson has recorded under the aliases of the Love Strings of Mort Garson, the Wozard of Iz, Signs of the Zodiac, Lucifer, the D-Bee's, the Lords of Percussion, Z, Ataraxia, Captain D.J. and D.J. Craver.
- Lighter and Softer: Mother Earth's Plantasia is by far the lightest, most upbeat album he has ever composed.