Early 60's Mellotron demo video: "It's a musical computer."

This demonstration video of the original Mellotron sample-playback keyboard of the early 60's reminds us E-popping, glitter huffing rave kiddies that electronic music was once the exclusive domain of elderly British codgers, chomping on pipes and cramming pocket squares into their plaid blazers as they contemplated the future of electronic polka.
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11 Responses to Early 60's Mellotron demo video: "It's a musical computer."

  1. Not a Doktor says:

    I swear my church had something like this all gutted in the basement.

  2. w000t says:

    I want every video I see on the web from now on to end with the final frame from this.

    A leggy blonde in a sexy tuxedo tipping her top hat whilst sitting on a giant golden cock: Class-tastic!

  3. tw15 says:

    David Nixon, the first person playing the Mellotron was, I’m pretty sure, a professional magician on TV during the 1950s-1970s.

  4. Dungeonbrownies says:


    some of us rave kiddies are also neovictorians and are pefectly fine with old codgers chomping down on corn cob pipes.

  5. philipb says:

    The side-by-side, double manual was new to me. The only ones I had seen were a single keyboard.

  6. robulus says:

    Awesome video. I’ve never seen one of these before, but it is famous (and infamous) as a signature sound on dozens of classic albums. Bowie royally pissed off his road crew by taking one on tour, it had to dismantled after every gig and reassembled at the next, and took six guys to carry. The sounds are perenial, radiohead and flaming lips both use them today, although whether they are actual mellotron sounds or samples (how ironic) is hard to tell.

    Incedible that its intended use was quite so twee. I love it when the REAL musician sits down and uses a chillingly lifelike sample of… an electric organ!

  7. arkizzle says:

    GarageBand v1.0

  8. bjacques says:


    You said it, brother! Is that Honor Blackman?

    In the ’80s band The Fibonaccis, John Dentino the keyboardist had a Mellotron. I never had the privilege of seeing them live, but I have Re-Pressed, their best of album, on heavy iPod rotation.

  9. mbourgon says:

    The Mellotron has got to be one of the neatest instruments around. You can only hold a note for a max of 8 seconds – the length of the tape. So if you listen to old Genesis/Moodie Blues/Yes albums, any chord that’s held is either held for under 8 seconds or (more likely) each key is periodically released and replayed (it takes a 1/2 second or so to rewind).

    The violins & choir sounds are like electric crack – I cannot get enough of them. Modern prog bands like Anglagard, Wobbler use them, but you can find them on albums by U2, Tori Amos, Soundgarden, etc.

    If you get the opportunity, hunt for Kevin Gilbert’s cover of Kashmir, using an Orchestron (like a Mellotron but uses an optical disk). Goose bumps.

  10. t.a. adjuster says:

    On a related note: I just ran into these videos of Bob Moog demonstrating a Fairlight CMI synth last night.


    I remember seeing a later model Fairlight demonstrated on a television program and was totally blown away. I was probably eleven or twelve at the time, and I’d had some experience digitizing sound with the cassette port on an Apple II. The Fairlight looked like absolutely the coolest thing in the world.

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