“What is a Stylophone?” you ask. The original Stylophone pocket synthesizer was invented in 1967 by Brian Jarvis and manufactured by Dubreq from 1968 to 1975 as Stylophone, the original pocket electronic organ. Over three million original Stylophone synthesizers were produced and sold before the company ceased production. Today’s Stylophone reissue was introduced by the inventor’s son, Ben Jarvis and is manufactured by Dubreq, Ltd. The reissue retains all of the original features but with up-to-date technology. The current Stylophone retro pocket synth is a modern, portable synthesizer with a hit-filled past and present.
The Stylophone’s unique sound has featured on numerous hit records. How many single instruments, manufactured by one company, can claim a list of artists who have played it that includes David Bowie, Queen, Rick Wakeman, Vangelis, Kraftwerk, Orbital, Marilyn Manson, Gotye, The Beatles, The White Stripes, Vince Clarke, and hundreds more? Check out this StylophoneYouTube gallery showcasing Stylophone music by a number of famous artists.
Probably the most high profile user of the Stylophone. The David Bowie-Stylophone connection started with the song “Space Oddity” in 1969, but he has gone on to use the instrument on numerous tracks since then. That “Major Tom” sound found at two pivotal song transitions is a Stylophoneglissando. It was David Bowie’s use of the Stylophone on the Jonathan Ross show in 2002, while promoting his Heathenalbum and his comment that “It’s the only instrument I take on holiday with me to compose on” that kick-started the Stylophone re-launch.
A massively influential German electro-rock group of the ’70s and ’80s used the Stylophone pocket synth extensively in their iconic synth-driven music. Kraftwerk is often emulated and still making music to this day. You can see the Stylophone being used in this video from 1981 capturing a live performance of the song “Pocket Calculator.”
Detroit’s famous duo features Stylophone sounds throughout the song “Icky Thump,” the title track of their 2007 album. The track showcases the Stylophone with a wild and dissonant solo. Always a fan of retro musical instruments, Jack White is also credited for playing the Stylophone on the album Consolers of The Lonely by the Raconteurs.
This Award-winning British Pop band released “Styloroc” in 1992 featuring the Stylophone whizzing lead lines under a blanket of reverb.
These Stylophone YouTube videos show the Stylophone pocket synth in action playing Stylophonesongs across a wide-range of styles.
80s Hits Medley
- Survivor: “Eye of the Tiger” (cover) (00:08)
- Europe: “The Final Countdown” (cover) (00:56)
- Van Halen: “Jump” (cover) (01:22)
- Mariah Carey: “Without You” (cover) (02:01)
Rock Guitar Classics
- Gary Moore: “Parisienne Walkways” (cover) (00:16)
- Santana: “Black Magic Woman” (cover) (00:45)
- Focus: “Sylvia” (cover) (01:17)
- Cream: “Sunshine of Your Love” (cover) (01:42)
- The Shadows: “F.B.I.” (cover) (01:55)
- Free: “Wishing Well” (02:30)
16 Classic Hits On Stylophone
- Deep Purple: “Smoke On the Water” (cover) (00:11)
- Cream: “Sunshine of Your Love” (cover) (00:20)
- White Stripes: “Seven Nation Army” (cover) (00:25)
- Gorillaz: “Feel Good Inc” (cover) (00:28)
- Crazy Town: “Butterfly” (cover) (00:35)
- Pixies: “Where Is My Mind” (cover) (00:44)
- Michael Jackson: “Beat It” (cover) (00:57)
- Black Sabbath: “Iron Man” (cover) (01:03)
- Rolling Stones: “Satisfaction” (cover) (01:10)
- Linkin Park: “Numb” (cover) (01:15)
- Survivor: “Eye of the Tiger” (cover) (01:25)
- System of a Down: “Toxicity” (cover) (01:33)
- Blur: “Song 2” (cover) (01:57)
- Dick Dale: “Misirlou” (cover) (02:01)
- Ozzy Osbourne: “Crazy Train” (cover) (02:23)
- Europe: “The Final Countdown” (cover) (02:31)