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11 greatest technologies in music industry history

The highlights of fusing gadgets and music

Technology has influenced hundreds of different industries throughout history, including music.

Rock simply wouldn't have rocked without electric guitars, Marshall amp stacks, the Vox Box, amplifiers capable of projecting the music to the crowd, or stage effects that helped create a spectacle. Join us on a magical mystery tour through some of the greatest tech-milestone concerts, instruments, and music gadgets in the history of rock music.

The Beatles at Shea Stadium (1965)

The Beatles' concert at Shea Stadium in New York City in 1965 marked the first time that a rock band used a sports stadium as a concert venue.

This event had 55,000 attendees, 2000 security personnel, and a record-breaking $304,600 gross; but the most important number was 100 - that is, the custom 100-watt amplifiers that Vox made for the Moptops' tour.

Overwhelmed by the huge stadium and the frantic screaming fans, the amps couldn't cut it: even with the support of the in-house PA system, concertgoers simply couldn't hear the band.

What's more, the Fab Four couldn't hear themselves, either, which led to shenanigans like John Lennon playing the keyboard with his elbows. From here on, live rock shows got even bigger - and so did the speakers.

Woodstock Music & Art Festival (1969)

The Baby Boomers' defining moment occurred 40 years ago, when 500,000 people congregated on a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, to rock out for three whole days.

Only four years had elapsed since the Beatles' woefully underpowered show at Shea Stadium, but technology responded with ever-larger amplifiers for performers like Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane.

The success of Woodstock's sound system is due to audio engineer Bill Hanley, whose specially designed setup consisted of custom-built microphones, Shure mixers, and a unique two-tiered speaker system that ensured that people at the far edge of the vast crowd could still hear the music - which probably did more than anything else to prevent the crowded concertgoers from running amok.

Photo: Courtesy of Sobrefotos.com

NEXT PAGE: Liquid and laser light shows

  1. The highlights of fusing gadgets and music
  2. Liquid and laser light shows
  3. The music video
  4. U2's Popmart tour
  5. A Bigger Bang
  6. The tech that helped music really rock
  7. The Moog Modular synthesiser
  8. The Roland TR-808 drum machine

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