Keyboard: 40 Years Ago Today

Keyboard looks back at its first magazine issue from fall 1975
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This month we say good-bye to our “30 Years Ago Today” series, and begin to revisit the earliest issues of Contemporary Keyboard (the original title, later shortened to Keyboard). The premiere issue, which came out in fall 1975, signified the great range of music and technology that the magazine would feature for 40 more years, and beyond. The cover artist was Chick Corea, then as now, a virtuoso and icon in the piano and electronic music realms; he talked about his earliest days as a musician, as well as his then-latest equipment and techniques.

We also featured new gear from the 1975 NAMM show, including the Vako Polyphonic Orchestron, ARP Polyphonic Synthesizer System, and Oberheim’s new Four Voice Synthesizer. Speaking of synthesizers, pioneering developer Bob Moog was interviewed in the issue, and debuted as Keyboard’s “On Synthesizers” columnist.

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Also in the September/October 1975 debut were interviews with roots musicians Max Morath (“Ragtime Piano Master”) and Clifton Chenier (“King of Zydeco Accordion”). We offered lessons on playing like classical composer and pianist Bela Bartok, and mastering two-fisted boogie-woogie, as well as reviews of then-new album releases by artists Oscar Peterson, Glenn Gould, Kansas, Keith Jarrett, Billy Preston, Tangerine Dream, and The Captain & Tenille (!). Supporting the first issue of Keyboard were a small but mighty collection of advertisers, such as Yamaha, Hohner, Bose, DMI, Elka, and Musitronics, which featured an endorsement by the great George Duke.