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The five best and worst Moog songs of all time -- Why some synthesized songs hit it big, but others just struck out

The five best and worst Moog tunes of all time

THUMBS UP

1. ABBEY ROAD The Beatles: Their last recorded album was their first to use the Moog, which enhanced tunes like ''Because'' and ''Here Comes the Sun.'' Unfortunately, it also encouraged the recording of the cartoony ''Maxwell's Silver Hammer.''

2.''I FEEL LOVE'' Donna Summer: Due to the Moog's pulsing bass line, we still feel love for Summer's 1978 disco hit.

3. ''BLOW YOUR HEAD'' Fred Wesley and the JB's: The squelchy, gritty, soaring sounds of the Moog (played by James Brown himself) on the all-instrumental track on the 1974 Damn Right I Am Somebody will, as the title suggests, blow your mind. Public Enemy later sampled it for ''Public Enemy No. 1.''

4. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE SOUNDTRACK Wendy Carlos: Her futuristic twist on Beethoven added an unsettling beauty to Stanley Kubrick's ultraviolent classic.

5. ''FLASH LIGHT'' Parliament: Thanks to keyboardist Bernie Worrell's squealing and dealing, the 1978 tune is still a dance-party anthem.

THUMBS DOWN

1. ''POPCORN'' Hot Butter: It's just never a good idea to base a melody on the sound of a concessions snack. Still, this tune was a hit -- the ''Axel F'' of '72.

2. COSMIC SOUNDS The Zodiac: The tracks on this 1967 psychedelic relic are listed astrologically. 'Nuff said.

3. ''ONE NOTE SAMBA/SPANISH FLEA'' Jean Jacques Perrey: In 1967, he hijacked Antonio Carlos Jobim's bossa nova melody and turned it into an alien life-form.

4. ''THE LOOK OF LOVE'' Richard Hayman: The combination of Burt Bacharach and the Moog in this 1969 tune created a near-combustible level of cheese.

5. NASHVILLE GOLD Switched on Moog: An entire album of country hits like ''Tennessee Waltz,'' Moog-style. So bad, it's -- no, it's just bad.

Originally posted Sep 17, 2004 Published in issue #784 Sep 17, 2004 Order article reprints