Simeon Coxe, an innovator in electronic music and synthesizer performance, died at 82 on September 8, according to AL.com. The Guardian reported he had pulmonary fibrosis. Coxe formed the group Silver Apples in the 1960s, becoming one of the first musicians to perform with a synthesizer. He introduced a 1940s oscillator when he performed with the Overland Stage Electronic Band, prompting all other members to quit except for Danny Taylor. Coxe and Taylor formed Silver Apples and released two albums of psychedelic electronic music, Silver Apples in 1968 and Contact in 1969, often cited among the best of the ’60s. Silver Apples logged fans across the rock landscape, including John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix, the latter of whom jammed with Coxe ahead of his iconic “Star Spangled Banner” performance at Woodstock in 1969. A lawsuit from Pan Am forced the group to disband after Contact — the airline had allowed Coxe and Taylor to shoot the album cover in one of its cockpits, but they put a plane crash on the back cover.
Born in Tennessee, Coxe moved to Alabama after Silver Apples disbanded, working as an ice-cream-truck driver and a newscaster. He reformed the band with Taylor and new member Xian Hawkins in 1996, and in 1998 released The Garden, the album they shelved after the Pan Am lawsuit. Taylor died from a heart attack in 2005, and Coxe continued to sample his drumming for live performances and the group’s final album, 2016’s Beacon. Bands from Stereolab to Portishead have cited Coxe and Silver Apples’ influence in electronic music.