Alan R. Pearlman spent a chunk of the 60s designing amplifiers used in the Gemini and Apollo space programs. But what he really wanted to do was get into music.
Pearlman’s grandfather was in the music hardware business decades earlier, constructing parts for the newfangled phonographs. His father designed movie theatre projects. As a kid, Pearlman built his own radio sets.
In 1969, the space program contracts finished, Pearlman took $100,000–a sizeable amount of money back in the day–and started building synthesizers.
Pearlman’s gear–ARP synths, a name created from his initials–was never quite as popular as Bob Moog’s keyboards, but they had their fans. The ARP 2600 was genuinely groundbreaking. Elton John was a user. So was David Bowie and Stevie Wonder.
Pearlman died at age 93 back on January 6. (With files from FYI Music News)